Not all Photographers are alike. This seems like an obvious statement but it goes beyond the obvious fact that each Photographer has his or her unique style or approach to a project. Search ‘Photographer in your location’ on the internet and you will more than likely turn up a few thousand results from the ‘weekend warrior’ to the seasoned pro. All have their place depending on whether you want someone for half an hour to record your register office wedding or an experienced Hotel Photographer to shoot your five star resort’s re-brand and produce images to be used across your website, social media and print material.
When selecting the right Hotel Photographer for your project it is important to make sure that they can work to a brief. Again, this is an obvious statement but many Photographers are very rigid in the way they work and if their style doesn’t fit your brand it will end in tears! It is important for me to listen to my customers and take note of their likes and dislikes so that I can produce a set of images that will show their hotel as they want it. I always shoot ‘tethered’ so my client or their Art Director/Designer can view images on a big screen as we work which gives them the opportunity to spot anything they don’t like and make minor adjustments along the way. Small tweaks can often turn an OK picture in to a winner.
With Hotel and Resort Photography it’s not just about bedrooms. Potential clients will need to see restaurants, pools, spas and any other public spaces that they will be using during their stay. Not to mention, staff, food and drink and the Hotel’s location (if you want to shout about it!) You will need to decide whether you want all your spaces photographed empty or with people. I always suggest that Professional Models are used for the key pictures. I can’t stress strongly enough how Models will enhance the images and you won’t have problems with usage. With all this in mind, your chosen Photographer will need to possess the skills and equipment to shoot a room with straight walls, good lighting and a sense of space. I carry battery operated daylight balanced studio flash with a range of modifiers from snoots and grids to big soft boxes. I also use tilt/shift lenses which help me correct verticals and enable me to shoot a room to include all the important bits and not show acres of ceiling! Your Photographer will also need the skills to be able to capture the best from your staff and Models if you use them. The ability to connect with people and be able to communicate with the CEO as well as the bar staff is probably one of the attributes that is essential for a Photographer to get great images.
Everyone has a budget to work to so before going ahead with your shoot you will need to know how much you can spend and what it will get you. Think about what level of styling will be necessary and if you can spend on employing a Stylist or if a high level of styling is not an option. There’s no right or wrong. I work for clients who send their Designer to work with me and others who give me a brief then just let me loose on my own. This last approach however requires a lot of trust so it tends to be very long standing clients who know how I work!
Finally, although this should probably be at the top of this article, PLANNING!!! No shoot will be as good as a shoot that’s well planned. Think about exactly what you want to achieve in the time allocated and draw up a list of priorities. A recce of all the areas to be photographed will highlight any faults that need to be fixed before your Photographer arrives. You don’t want to be paying someone to be changing light bulbs at £700+ per day! You may also want to move furniture or decide on props like throws for sofas and arm chairs, bottles of wine and glasses, books and magazines to add a touch of life and colour.
I hope this article has been useful. Please comment if it has or even if it hasn’t!
The Paul Mellon Centre for studies in British art is an educational charity committed to promoting original, world-class research in to the history of British art and architecture of all periods. The centre collaborates closely with The Yale Centre for British Art and is part of Yale University.