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7 Tips For Finding An Awesome Hotel Photographer

7 Tips for Finding An Awesome Hotel Photographer

Building your brand, portraying the right image, enticing guests. All three of these things include a must-have component.


Photos are perhaps the single most important part of your marketing strategy because without them, you have nothing to show potential customers.

In this article, we look at seven tips for finding an awesome hotel photographer who’ll help you market your property thought breath-taking photos.

First, let’s look at why you should hire a pro and not do it yourself.

Why Hire a Pro?

According to PPA (Professional Photographers of America), you should hire a professional photographer, “Because when things matter, you’ve only got one shot. And, there’s no substitute for experience.”

It’s easy in our digital age with easy access to smartphones that take great photos to find a way not to justify the expense of a professional photographer.

But, expertise does matter, and photographers do take better pictures than most amateurs.

Would you cut your own hair or go to a stylist? Would you clean your own teeth or go to the dentist? Would you teach yourself to ski or go to a pro?

A professional photographer ensures consistency in your photo gallery. (tweet this) With just one person taking your shots, you know they’ll have symmetry and work together to tell your story.

Plus, professional photographers have technical skills beyond most smartphone users. They know how to use lighting and design elements for the perfect shot. They are artists and superbly skilled to take your hotel photos.

Now, let’s look at seven tips for finding an awesome hotel photographer.

#1: Decide on a Style

When it comes to photographers, style matters. Photographers are artists, and as such, they each have their own style when it comes to composition, color and lighting.

When choosing a photographer, it’s a good idea for you to first decide what you like. Then you can visit the websites of photographers to see if their styles match yours.

To give you an idea of the various styles, we’ve put together this list:

  • Documentary style photos are not posed. They are often spontaneous photos of people and/or action. For example, this might include a photo of guests jumping into the pool as opposed to sitting neatly by the side. This photographer is a photojournalist, capturing people and moments.
  • If you like classic portrait-style photos, you’ll want to choose a traditional photographer. You’ll end up with mostly posed photos that are conventional in style – think a couple sitting at a dining table in your hotel restaurant smiling calmly at the camera.
  • Artistic photographers take some privileges with your shots. Their photos reflect an artsy bent and are usually dramatic as well as gorgeous. You might find muted shots with a dreamy appearance. The object may be in focus, while the background gently blurs away. When they shoot shots in motion, it will look natural and not staged.
  • Next, you’ll also find edgy photographers who make statements with their photos. Like artistic photographers, they’ll think outside the box and infuse your photos with creativity. Think avant-garde with highly stylized shots that portray a very definitive style and image for your hotel.

Keep these styles in mind as you peruse the galleries of potential photographers. You’ll also want a general list of the types of photos you are looking for. Some ideas include:

  • The architecture of your hotel
  • Your food
  • Lifestyle shots with models posing as guests
  • Photos of your flora and fauna – think terrace, balcony, pool
  • Aerial photos
  • Photos of your rooms – with or without models

#2: Interview the Photographer

Don’t hire someone without meeting them. Even if you’re hiring out of state, you can still set up a Facetime or Skype interview.

Don’t judge the photographer on the style of his photos alone. You want to meet him and learn a bit about his temperament. (tweet this)

Try and meet with several photographers to decide which one is a match for you and the image you want to portray for your hotel.

#3: Look at Personalities

When it comes to hiring a photographer, be sure your personalities complement one another. Ask about any assistants as well. You want to know who is coming to your shoot, and if you can work with them.

You want to like your photographer because taking photos is an intimate experience. You want to know how they’ll respond to your suggestions. You want to know if they understand and are excited by your vision for the shots.

Take care if you’re shooting your hotel guests and staff as well. An off-putting photographer can make things very difficult.

#4: Confirm the Budget

Yes, you do want to set a budget and sign a contract. It not only protects the photographer, but it protects you.

Here are some things to think about when finalizing your contract:

  • Set a firm budget for a specific number of photos and edits.
  • Ask if they’ll retouch or manipulate your photos to your specifications.
  • Set a date for your deliverables.
  • Make sure you know what you’re getting – the amount of time for the shoot, the number of images, albums and anything else included.
  • Make sure it notes how many photographers will be working with you.
  • Layout how you’ll receive the photos – will they be on a disc, thumb drive or sent by a program like DropBox?
  • Make sure it outlines who owns the photos. You or the photographer?
  • Will they deliver print-ready photos as well as photos for the web? Think social media and website. photography

#5: Find Out Who Owns the Photos

We mentioned above that finding an awesome hotel photographer involves learning who owns those fabulous photos.

Be sure that you negotiate with your photographer. You want to walk away with the rights to those photos. It’s imperative that you be able to use them as you see fit.

#6: Do Prep Work

Before the photographer arrives to scout out the scene and eventually take the photographs, have several meetings to decide on the schedule and shot selection.

Insist on seeing the schedule and details before the photographer’s arrival. This can help ensure you don’t have an empty dining room when you need a full one or a pool full of children when you’d like adults in the hot tub.

Be sure that your kitchen staff can accommodate the intrusion and that they are capable of making any food necessary for the shoot.

Bottom line – you want a detailed production schedule before they show up with their cameras.

#7: Scout the Scene Together

An experienced, professional photographer listens to your shot ideas and throws out some ideas of his own.

It’s also beneficial for you to hire a photographer who is willing to scout out your shot ideas before you bring in the models for the shoot.

Invite the photographer to your hotel. Offer up some of your delicious food and walk around to discuss your ideas as well as the photographer’s.

This is a good time to solidify your bond.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve looked at seven tips for finding an awesome hotel photographer, it’s time to get started.

When thinking of the types of shots you’d like, it helps to make a plan for how you’ll use them. Print and digital marketing are all options.

Finally, you’ll have the best shot at success if you are comfortable with your photographer. Your photos and your experience will be better. Be sure that you hire a skilled and creative photographer who communicates well.

Do you have a website with gorgeous photos of your property? If not, we can help!

At Hotel Propeller, we build functional, beautiful websites. You’ll find everything you need to attract guests to your website through your email marketing. Take a look at our showcase and contact us today.

Images:  Annie Spratt and Sweet Ice Cream Photography

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