When it comes to planning new photos of your property, whether it’s a small boutique hotel, a luxury villa, or a big hotel chain, interior photography is the key to showing your estate in its best light and making it stand out from the crowd.
The initial impression that photography makes on your website’s visitors, will likely determine whether they make a booking or keep searching elsewhere.
In fact, many of your potential customers will not even visit your website directly but will book via OTAs. There your hotel will be presented only via a set a basic set of photos, which makes photography even more important.
WHO’S YOUR AUDIENCE?
The most important thing you need to know before you begin preparing your property for a photo shoot, are your clients. Who are you aiming at? Romantic couples? Families with kids? Business travelers? Your target audience will determine the mood you’ll want to achieve with your property’s photographs.
Knowing your audience will help you decide whether you should style your interiors with props, such as wine bottles for a more romantic setup, or kids’ toys in the pool area for families. Or maybe you’ll want to keep it clean and modern? It all depends on who do you see as your preferred guest.
Tourists traveling to tropical islands and beachside locations tend to expect something extra, such as flowers on the bed or decorated breakfast – think Instagram perfection! On the other hand, most city hotels will have a hard time getting away with overdone bedrooms, vases of roses, bowls of fruits and other clichés as part of their interiors, but they might be exactly what visitors to remote destinations will be looking for.
STEP BY STEP PREPARATIONS
1 st cleaning
- Make sure that all surfaces are spotless.
- Ask your staﬀ to pay special attention to details, explain to them that even the smallest details become visible in photographs.
- Mirrors, sinks, windows and all other shiny surfaces are always a challenge. Ask the cleaning team to carefully check all these areas with a ﬂashlight (the one in a smartphone will suffice) so there are no smudges left behind.
- Cleaning should be done in advance, before the photographer’s arrival, so you have some spare time in case some details need fixing.
- It’s crucial that all sheets and bedspreads are perfectly ironed. Wrinkles are very hard to correct in photographic post-production and too much Photoshop can leave your bedding look unnatural. Nice and tidy beds always look very welcoming. For best results have the sheets ironed before the beds are made.
- If necessary, you can ﬁx bedsheets on already made beds using water spray and then ironing them when they are still a little wet.
Exterior and pool area:
- While the pool area should be cleaned just before the photo shoot, a deep clean of the pool should be performed at least a day earlier, so that the water is perfectly clear.
- All leaves should be cleared away right before the photo shoot.
- All sunbeds should be set to the same position and height and aligned perfectly with towels rolled on the side.
- Make sure that pool umbrellas look fresh and clean. Ask your staﬀ to tidy up all umbrellas’ cords – best if they are rolled up rather than hanging loose.
- If any of the outside furniture is damaged, its always better to replace it, or at least repaint it before the photo shoot. Many faults can be ﬁxed in postproduction, but it’s often a time-consuming process and the real thing ensures a better effect than Photoshop manipulation.
To give your interior a complete overhaul you’ll need to hire an interior stylist, but there are some simple things you can do yourself before the photographer shows up.
Usually, the first and easiest step in styling the interior is decluttering it. Removing all unnecessary things will give your interior a clean, fresh look.
- First and foremost, remove all promotional brochures, magazines, plastic brochure holders and anything else that does not add value to the interior.
- Remove all the messy cables. This will sometimes require disconnecting the TVs and other devices, but it can make all the difference and will be the ﬁrst thing the photographer will ask you to do anyway. You can save some precious by doing it yourself before the photographer arrives. Moreover, if you disconnect the cables yourself, or ask a member of your staff to do it, it will be easier to reassemble after the shoot.
- It’s a good habit to ask your staﬀ to take a few smartphone photos of the wiring before they are disconnected, to help put everything back in place after the photoshoot–audio-video setups can be very sophisticated these days, especially in luxury villas.
- All small notepads with pens, small water bottles along with any guest information booklets, etc. are best removed. City hotels and hotel chains are an exception, with their own guidelines to follow.
A well-placed prop can bring new life into a room. Decorations can have a great impact on your property’s photography, this is especially true for luxury villas or a destination resorts.
- Some examples of props that can do the trick include: a breakfast tray, books, fresh ﬂowers, fruits bowl, pillows, etc. It’s best to have a stylist present at the photo shoot, who, together with the photographer, will decide how to arrange the props for the best results.
- Hotel rooms can also be styled with props, depending on their location and mood. Think a breakfast tray, a bottle of champagne, ﬂowers, an open magazine, etc.
- Nevertheless, in most cases, hotel rooms are better clean and decluttered. A few hero shots with props are enough.
- Don’t forget to have the coﬀee making facilities set up properly and tidied up.
As mentioned before, the look you’ll aim for will depend on the clients you target. A more romantic hotel can benefit from some ﬂowers placed inside the bathtubs, but they won’t work in a city business hotel or a chain hotel with strict style rules to follow.