o you booked your hotel photographer. Now what?
Well, as it turns out, a lot, because when it comes to selling your hotel, seeing is believing, which is why in this blog post I discuss how you can set up your hotel photography shoot for success with some important tips and planning. Let’s get into it.
Preparing the brief
Ideally this should be done before you even book your photoshoot, but there is still utility to this step if your hotel photographer has already been booked in. Preparing a creative brief can be extremely useful in guiding your photographer and helping them understand what exactly it is you need from them, allowing them to be more efficient with their time and your money.
Firstly, summarise your project and define your deliverables. This includes a shot list with a complete description and breakdown of everything you want the photographer to cover. This will help the hotel photographer to plan ahead accordingly. Remember to include how many photos you need, and don’t limit your photos to just the rooms and facilities. Lifestyle photos and food photography shots can go a long way as well to promoting your hotel, particularly if you want to be known for your restaurants.
Secondly, remember to specify your budget and provide a desired timeline for your project or any hard deadlines you might have. Furthermore, if you have brand guidelines, don’t forget to share them, as they will often have illustrations of the types of photos that are acceptable (or not) for the associated brand.
Almost any hotel photographer in Cyprus worth their salt will pre-empt this conversation with you at the booking stage, but just in case this has not been discussed already, make sure to set a date and time for your photographer to come down to your hotel so they can scout the hotel and area. Location scouting is highly desirable, as it can help the hotel photographer better understand the lighting conditions of each area throughout the day as well as the most optimal way to sequence the shots. This way your photographer can also provide a call sheet, which will specify what shots they plan on taking and at what time. This can then be used by hotel management and staff to make their own preparations as well, which I discuss further down in this article. Finally, locating scouting can also help the photographer get a more accurate idea of how many days the shoot will take and therefore provide a more accurate quotation.
Contrary to popular belief, most contracts with commercial photographers include a licensing agreement, not an outright ownership agreement. These type of contracts typically allow the hotel to use the photos the photographer has taken in pre-specified online and offline media (such as the internet, social media and printing materials) for an indefinite amount of time, but the photographer maintains the ownership of the photos for their own use and portfolio as well. These type of agreements protect the interests of both parties and prevent any surprises, but it is always useful to clarify your commercial rights ahead of the shoot so you know whether you will be able to use the photo materials for their intended purpose.
Stage designers and models
Depending on your budget, you may want to consider getting some extra pairs of hands for your hotel photography shoot, such as set designers and models. You may wish to source them yourself, but the best photographers in Cyprus will always have their own that they recommend.
A stage/set designer can be invaluable in elevating the quality of your hotel photos. Their creative eye can help to prepare a space in its most inviting perspective while also source materials that can form the subject of the photo shoot. In short, they are not just set designers but prop stylists. Having a set designer also removes some of the creative workload and burden from your photographer, allowing them to focus on the technical challenge while the set designer focuses on preparing the space to be captured in its most inviting form.
Models on the other hand can be useful in making your hotel seem more lively. It can also help to clarify your target audience. For example, if you are an adults-only hotel, it may be useful to convey that by taking many lifestyle photos that feature adult models. The cost of models in Cyprus will vary, so be sure to talk to your hotel photographer about is possible under your budget. You can also consider the use of influencers, who may be a more budget-friendly option. Many are happy to model for you for free, in exchange of course for a free hotel stay!
Special considerations for your photoshoot
At the risk of stating the obvious, hotel photography can be disruptive to guests and the operation of your hotel. For example, a photographer taking a photo of your lobby during the day could make guests who have to check-out at that time feel uncomfortable, which would reflect badly on your hotel. Additionally, rooms that would otherwise be booked can sometimes instead be in use during the photography shoot, leading to a loss of revenue. For these reasons and others, it is a good idea to consider scheduling your hotel photography shoot in Cyprus during the off-season, say from October to April.
While remaining on the theme of special considerations, here’s a quick cheat-sheet with some other important things to consider:
- Ironing sheets: there is nothing worse than a hotel room photo that shows wrinkles in the bed sheets. While modern editing techniques can go a long way, it is always best to prepare all your linen for ironing and pressing the day before the photoshoot. While some photographers may work around the issue if you don’t, others will cancel and ask to reschedule the shoot altogether. This includes linen for all spaces, including bedrooms, restaurants and business rooms.
- Window Views: the management team should always look to give direction regarding whether or not the views outside the guest rooms should be visible in the photograph.
- Put the phone away: decisions should be made in advanced regarding which bedroom items should remain visible in the final photos. Technology is a moving target, so your photos might not age well if the devices in your photo go out of fashion quickly. On the other hand, make sure the room is not so bare, as it may look boring.
- Dining: all restaurant areas should be set for the photo shoot as they usually would be for dinner service. In other words, all linen, plates, cutlery and glasses should be neatly placed and presented on the tables. Once again, to avoid disruption, this will most likely have to be done later in the evening after all your guests have left, or alternatively, just before the restaurant opens.
- Business Rooms: include glasses and water pitchers on the tables, as well as any pens and notepads to help sell the idea of a business meeting. Make sure all the chairs are perfectly spaced and aligned. The photographer and his team will refine this anyway, but the more time you spend on preparing your space the more efficient and creative your photographer can be.
- Wedding Banquet Rooms: these rooms should be set with fewer tables than you normally would when hosting a wedding in order to give a sense of space. Ideally, it is best to schedule your photographer to come in on a separate day just for this photo, as the space will benefit from the additional floral arrangement.
- Food photography: although not strictly necessary, a food stylist can go a long way in making your food look as appetising as possible. As food shots can take up to 30 minutes per image, it is best to schedule an entire day with your photographer just for your menus.
Beyond the Hotel
The story of your hotel in Cyprus goes beyond the plot on which it sits on. In fact, the surrounding areas could play a role in your guests picking your hotel over others. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to consider incorporating some photos of local attractions or businesses, as you could use these photos as part of your marketing materials in conjunction with your main hotel photos to sell the overall experience to your guests.
Hotel photography is an indispensable tool when promoting your hotel in Cyprus. By following the tips I gave given in this blog post, you will help to maximise your hotel photographer’s time and creativity, leading to a more efficient and productive shoot and potentially a less costly shoot. If you have any questions about the cost of hotel photography in Cyprus or would like to book your hotel shoot, contact me.