If you intend to create your own portfolio of images with which to market your hotel, there are a few pieces of equipment that many professional hotel photographers see as absolutely essential. They will obviously have more equipment with them than the three I’m about to suggest, but these are seen as the ones they really can’t do without. Make sure you have them ready when you’re about to start snapping away!
Tripods can be quite cheap and yet people still insist on standing in the corner of a room holding their camera and snapping away, completely forgetting that they’ll move. Yes, your hands will move, probably just as you press the button and blam – a barely noticeable and yet totally frustrating image blur is introduced which makes the final image look unprofessional.
The answer is simple and obvious – use a tripod! As I say, they are not expensive and they have universal fittings for all cameras. Although you can probably get away without one in a bright room or even outside due to there being plenty of light, in darkened areas your camera (when set to “auto”) will attempt to slow the shutter to let in more light and this means there’s more chance you’ll move and introduce the blur.
Really? A remote? Well, a remote might seem like an extravagance but again, they’re not expensive at all and they go hand in hand with a tripod. You see, if you have your camera atop a tripod and then you hit the shutter button, you’ll introduce camera shake again. Of course, you could use the timer function of your camera to do it, but with remotes being so cheap, it’s really worth getting one to have complete control over your picture.
When I first got into photography I was given a polarizing filter by a friend as a gift. He said to me that it was to protect my lens and I originally thought that the sun’s rays would in some way damage the glass on my camera (I was young, give me some credit!) What he meant, of course, is that if you drop your camera then your relatively cheap polarizing lens will take the brunt of the smash and you might save the expensive lens behind it. So, that’s why I used one but then I realised that it actually has practical photography uses too.
The main advantage you get from using one is that it helps to reduce glare in a photograph. For example, it will reduce the effect of glare from polished surfaces, glass and water which means it’s ideal for both inside shots when your furniture will obviously be very polished, or outside near the pool or in the full glare of the sun.
You want (or maybe need) to be showing off your hotel rooms in their best light. It’s where your customers are going to be spending a lot of time and if they’ve been traveling, they want to stay somewhere relaxing, tidy and clean. Or maybe not? Maybe your hotel is grunge themed, either way, you need to present it well and make sure the hotel room photos leap out of the screen or brochure.
Here’s how you can make that happen.
This is a simple one, but so effective.
I’ve seen many photographs taken from the doorway of a room with people thinking it’s ideal to get the most in the shot, however that ends up usually taking a picture of a big wall. If you get in the room and shoot into a corner if will give the room more depth and also focus the eye.
Use a wide lens to get an even better effect. This also minimises any distortion as sometimes your lens can give a room an odd shape.
Many rooms have a lot of furniture. That’s OK if you’ve got a lot of people staying or they need a desk for a computer, but when you’re taking a photo then it might be best to clear it out. You only really need to show one chair for example, so if you have lots of identical ones, take them out. Also, clear the tables of clutter and give them a good clean.
OK, let’s be honest, you may have some rooms that are hidden at the back of the hotel with very few windows and which look over the escape corridor. OK, don’t photograph that one! Instead, take a photo in one of the better rooms that has a lot of natural light when you open the curtains. Natural light is always preferable to artificial, although don’t be afraid to use a flash if you need to.
What you might find (and this depends largely on the type of furniture you have) that if you turn on all the lights it will highlight areas of interest and cast some great looking shadows. You can then selectively turn them off to get the best effect possible.
This is probably one for the professionals really, but if you have a camera that is capable (most cameras, even entry-level), shoot in RAW mode which captures far more information. Most cameras are set to JPEG which is a format that compresses and therefore loses some of the detail. It does this to save space on your memory card, but cards are cheap so get a large one and use RAW mode.
When you get to editing you will have some photo editing software with your camera hopefully, so use or even PhotoShop (the king of all photo editing software).
There are loads of tips we could give but we’ll save those for another post. In the meantime, why not let us have your tips in the comments below?