The hotel photography guide | By Thomas McDermott

Today we are talking about…

The many, many types of hotel photography.

Photography is the most important asset in your digital marketing arsenal.

A good photo of the outside of the building can set you apart from the competition.

A great wedding photo

can sell a $25,000 wedding.

But getting great hotel photography is complicated.

Because hotels need so many of them.

Room shots, exteriors, food photography, weddings, social media?

And it goes on.

To finish

Not all photographers are created equal.

An architecture photographer is not a food photographer.

And vice versa.

Different types of photography

often require very different disciplines.

Let’s break it down. Shall we?

The many, many types of hotel photography.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Architectural photography.

Architectural photography is making or breaking hotel photography. The way you showcase your hotel’s areas, rooms, and lobby can have a major impact on whether or not a guest will book with you. In a way, architectural photography is informative, it answers some fundamental questions about the property and what the rooms and spaces look like. But the trick is to make architectural photography aesthetically pleasing, which means it takes proper lighting and careful selection of angles.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to take the right photo.

  • Hire a professional who specializes in architectural photography. This person has a very different approach to a lifestyle photographer, who needs to be able to work well with people.
  • Hire a stylist who will go the extra mile to get every wrinkle out of the comforter.
  • Style the rooms for the photographer. Nothing delays a shoot more than a lack of preparation.
  • If you have meeting rooms, make sure the rooms are dressed and ready for the photo. (And be sure to capture every space that can be used for meetings, from patios to ballrooms.)

Bonus tip.

Check out your competitor’s architectural photography. If all goes well, hire that photographer. (Or you can always check out the work of our photography team).

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Lifestyle photography.

Lifestyle photography focuses on capturing a moment and creating a story. It offers potential guests the chance to visualize their stay and build an emotional connection with your property. Lifestyle shoots tend to be larger, much more complex productions that require models, locations, set design/stylists, hair and makeup, wardrobe and more.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire the right team needed for a successful photo shoot. That means hiring a professional photographer, stylist, models, but also make-up, hair and wardrobe teams.
  • Make it timeless. Avoid getting trendy. Don’t show many phones and laptops that photography will become obsolete within a year.
  • Shoot video and photography at the same time to get the most out of your investment.
  • Getting great lifestyle photography is not an easy task, make sure to check your photographer’s past work. Ask about similar things they’ve done in the past.

Bonus tip.

Believe us when we say, don’t cut corners. While it may be tempting to bring friends and family to model to save marketing dollars, we recommend going a more professional way. Why? Having inexperienced models costs both you and the photographer more time, effort and ultimately the need for a new shoot, sooner than you would like.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

F&B photography.

F&B photography is all about bringing your menu to life. This form of photography is very detail oriented.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine
    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire a professional photographer who specializes in food and drink. Someone who has a lot of experience in lighting your drinks and dishes in the most appetizing way.
  • Pre-select the dishes you want in the photo so that the chef and kitchen staff can prepare in advance.
  • Once served, most foods and drinks have a short amount of time for the photographer to take the shot before the dish starts to look bland and “unphotogenic”. So plan accordingly.
  • Get the chef involved so they can put the finishing touches on the dish if necessary.

Bonus tip.

Bring the dish to life by implying action: cutting into a cake, placing a fork nearby, etc.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

weddings.

There is no doubt that having great wedding photography will help increase RFPs. Couples often have trouble imagining their special day when all they see is empty ballrooms and empty lawns. Photos help them visualize what is possible in your accommodation.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Organize a fake wedding. Invite all your suppliers and share the photos.
  • Hire a professional wedding photographer and/or invite a few local wedding photographers.
  • Build relationships and make arrangements with wedding photographers to use assets from real weddings on your property. This gets complicated because you need a release form signed by everyone who appears in a photo, so we recommend requesting lots of detail shots, just images of the bride and groom, and room setups with no people on them.

Bonus tip.

By collecting photos from several weddings at your property, you can arm your sales force with a variety of options and examples for engaged couples who have questions about their big day.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

Seasonal Photography

Seasonal photography is not for everyone. But we’re championing the properties that dress up to perfection for the holidays or the properties that offer seasonal activities.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • You guessed it, hire a professional. Depending on what you need in terms of seasonal photography, you should hire a professional photographer that suits you. For example, a foliage lifestyle shoot at your Vermont lodging with fun fall activities requires a different kind of photo shoot and photographer than capturing your hotel’s beautiful vacation decor.
  • Plan ahead. Make sure to coordinate the photo shoot accordingly. If you are planning a fall foliage shoot, schedule it for peak season. If you are planning a Christmas decorations photo shoot, make sure all the decorations are installed.

Bonus tip.

Capturing seasonal footage may sound like an exaggeration, but listen to us, once you have these resources, you’ll have promotional resources for years to come.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

social media photography

All the resources you have gathered can, if used correctly, make for great photos on social media. But don’t forget the importance of creating content specifically for social media. Social media photography is all about showing the intimate details of the guest experience. That means putting yourself or your models in a guest’s real, everyday moments.

    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine    The guide to hotel photography.  — Photo by Tambourine
The guide to hotel photography. — Photo by Tambourine

How to do it right.

  • Hire a team that has experience collecting content on social media. (Hi!)
  • It’s okay to be more trendy with these shoots (as opposed to the timeless lifestyle photography).
  • Create a story. You want potential guests to see an image and make them feel like they are on your property.
  • Bring a model, but don’t always show their face. Only the slightest presence of a person brings the shot to life. Plus, you don’t necessarily want the same person smiling in all your photos.

Bonus tip.

Create relationships with local influencers who are willing to hand over content in exchange for a discount, this way you can supplement your feeds with influencer photography (just make sure you share brand guidelines and what you are looking for).

Flash back!

Does your property need updated photography? In what areas are your sales and marketing teams missing photo assets? Do you currently have specific content shoots for social media posts?

About Tambourine

Tambourine is an award-winning digital marketing company that has been driving demand, revenue and brand awareness for the hospitality industry since 1984. The company continues to shake up the industry with tailor-made integrated marketing solutions for hotels, resorts and destinations around the world. Tambourine’s emergence as an industry leader for both branded and independent hotels is a testament to its core values ​​of putting customer service first, setting the standards for hotel website design, and making performance digital marketing easier and more profitable for its valued partners. Visit tambourine.com for more information.

Thomas McDermott
Vice President Corporate Marketing
+1 954 975 2220
Tambourine

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