When looking at hotel photography on a website, social media or an advertisement, have you ever thought about what it takes for a hotel room to look as dreamy as it does?
Probably not, and that’s my goal as a hotel photographer! I want the viewer to be enticed by the photography and mood that my team and I create. We want to tap into the inner desire for wanderlust and travel while looking at the imagery. My job is to capture the most flattering angles that accentuate a beautifully styled hotel room. Along with creative lighting and thoughtful propping, we produce images that aim to make the viewer want to visit and be in that very room.
There is so much happening behind the scenes to create the perfect hotel room image. A good hotel photographer will often have a professional and detail-oriented team to help bring the hotel rooms to life. Getting the room prepped can take a bit of time, but the payoff is huge when the final photos look inviting and serene. Before we even start shooting, my team and I usually scout the hotel property and shoot locations that are on our shot list to figure out what time of day has the best lighting. Quite often, hotels offer rooms that have incredible views so this is an important factor when scouting and looking at the natural lighting that occurs in the room. Once we know when we will shoot, then comes the room prep portion. On most shoots, we have a Stylist that is one step ahead of us working on the room(s). The Stylist helps make sure all the linens are perfectly steamed and fluffed. The pillows are stuffed and pulled taught. White gaffers tape is often used on the back edges of the pillows to make sure they are nice and crisp looking (not limp). The Stylist will also make sure all the pleats in the curtains are even and straight, the floor has no vacuum marks, lamp shades straightened, and furniture may be “cheated” or moved a bit to achieve the most appealing space arrangement. Flowers/vases and coffee table books that fit the hotel brand are ordered and arranged to add an extra layer of luxury in the photography.
When shooting hotel photography, I work with a Digital Technician (DigiTech for short) who operates a computer and monitor that is tethered via a cable to my camera. This way we can see, in real time and on the large monitor, the images as I am taking them. This is helpful so that the Client and I can see every little detail to assure we are capturing the room in the best way and not missing any details.
Often, my assistant and I will enhance the room by using a little extra lighting to fill in shadows so the space doesn't get too dark or moody. Sometimes there are several different light sources in a hotel room that vary in color temperatures (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, natural daylight, candlelight, etc.). In the post production (retouching) phase, we work our magic to make those lights all match and/or compliment the overall room lighting. We also remove a lot of things in post to make the hotel photography of the room cleaner and less cluttered…like electrical outlets, door locks, cables, exit signs, sprinklers, smoke detectors, etc. A good hotel photographer will be able to do this in a way that you would never realize they were gone.
After many preproduction hours, photo shoot hours, post production hours, and the final retouched images have been approved by the client, they are released to the world!