ith over 800 hotels on the island, it goes without saying that competition is high within the Cyprus hospitality industry, thus making it very difficult to stand out from the crowd. A specialist hotel photographer, however, with the right technical skills and equipment can help to elevate the branding and image of a hotel and set it apart from those hotels photographed by more generalist photographers. In this blog post, I discuss why hotels should hire a specialist in hotel photography and how you can find the right hotel photographer for your hotel in Cyprus.
Technical Skills of a Hotel Photographer
Hotel and architectural photography requires specialist equipment that goes beyond the standard camera and lenses used by most photographers. The camera and lens used by a Cyprus hotel photographer must have zero distortion and it should be capable of capturing images with high resolution, dynamic range and detail. One of the most important type of lenses in a hotel photographer’s arsenal is a tilt-shift lens, which allows a photographer to shift the lens and control the plane of focus, perspective and distortion. This is important because it allows the photographer to capture straight lines and avoid scenarios where buildings seem to be toppling over or rooms seem to be tilting or distorting. However, it is important to note that due to the niche utility of tilt-shift lenses, not many photographers have them—particularly in a small island such as Cyprus—which is why you should always ask any potential photographer whether this is something they own and know how to use
Another important technical skill is compositing, which is part of the editing process. In order to capture the perfect image of a hotel room, multiple photographs of the same scene with different exposures are required. Some exposures are often supplemented with additional lights set up by the photographer which are later removed in the editing process. These images are then blended together to create a final image that captures the entire dynamic range of the scene, which is particularly important when trying to capture both the bright exterior and dark interior of a hotel room. For example, see below a before and after of a hotel I photographed in Paphos. The before image is a single shot, whereas the second image is a composite of over 50 images of the room, which were supplemented with additional professional photography lights.
Notice some of the attention to detail in the after shot. The creases in the bedding have been removed, the nasty reflections in the TV are gone, the sky is no longer blown out and the image is now much more balanced in terms of lighting between outside and inside. This is the result of just good photography, but also good use of strobe lights and photoshopping. One photo like this can take up to two hours to shoot (with staging) with another additional 3 to 4 hours of editing - almost a day's work a lone just for a single photo. This is one of the reasons why hotel photography can be very expensive.
Specialized Knowledge of Hotel Photography
A hotel photographer has specialised knowledge of the hotel industry and understands the specific needs and requirements of hotels and real estate companies. They have experience in capturing the essence of the hotel, highlighting its unique features and amenities, and creating a visually stunning representation of the property. Often, they work in collaboration with a set designer, as sometimes hotel rooms and amenities need to be staged differently from their day-to-day use in order to produce the best looking image.
Equipment Required for Hotel Photography
In the beginning of this article I touched upon the importance of photography equipment when I went into detail about tilt shift lenses. However, this isn’t the only important piece of gear that a hotel photographer needs to do his or her job. For example, a tripod that has a gear head (as opposed to a ball head) is necessary to keep the camera steady and level when taking long exposures, and it allows for precise adjustments of the camera's position and orientation. Additionally, lights, reflectors and diffusers are also sometimes needed in order to supplement any ambient or artificial light the hotel might have in order to produce the best image.
Notable Hotel Photographers
One of the most notable hotel photographers in the industry is LA-based Mike Kelley. Mike Kelley has revolutionised hotel photography with his unique approach to capturing composite images that highlight the best features of a hotel. His images are widely recognised for their beauty, detail, and dynamic range. He now teaches photography all over the world, and as one of his former students, I now offer architectural and hotel photography services here in Cyprus.
In conclusion, hiring a specialist in hotel photography is essential for any hotel or real estate company looking to showcase their property in the best light. A hotel photographer brings specialised knowledge of the industry, specialised equipment, and technical skills that are essential in capturing stunning images of a hotel or property. By hiring a specialist, companies can create a visual representation of their property that highlights its unique features and creates an emotional connection with potential customers.