Photography tips for accommodation owners #1


4 min. read
Published 09 Apr. 2019

*Insert cliché about pictures saying a thousand words.*

We've all had our heart set on a hotel, without the foggiest idea of its price or location.

Why?

The photographs.

Outstanding images make your accommodation stand out. And they're the key to securing easy bookings. Yet despite this, many hoteliers and B&B owners continue to get them wrong – so we've compiled a photographic masterclass to help you avoid the common pitfalls of interior photography.

Nine Things to Avoid

1. Airing your dirty laundry
Washing up by the sink? Grandma taking a nap? Not professional. Excess clutter and superfluous people shouldn't be in view (sorry Grandma.) The TV remote and the alarm clock probably don't need to be there either. Your photograph should capture the feel of the room, not summarise its contents. If you want to let guests know what's included, provide an inventory list. Think minimalist. Simplicity is key.

2. All the gear, no idea
Thankfully, decent image quality no longer requires the most high-end kit. Even the big brands such as Canon, Nikon and Fujifilm offer gadgets that can do the job without breaking the bank. That said, a 5MP phone camera simply isn't going to deliver the goods. Grainy, pixelated images will undersell your hotel. So, take some time to shop around for good equipment, or hire someone to take the photos for you.

3. Losing focus
Choose one thing to focus on in each image. Luxurious roll-top bath? Breathtaking beach views? Original stained glass windows? Find the feature that will sell your accommodation and create the image around it.

4. Overly experimental angles
Keep things in perspective, no matter how creative you feel. A jaunty angle won't make you or your hotel look hip. Keep the composition functional, and stay grounded.

5. Accidentally making an appearance
Large windows and mirrors are an easy way to keep rooms looking light and airy. But beware: they're the photographer's worst friend. Reflections can quickly ruin perfect panoramas, and there's nothing more embarrassing than discovering your mirror-image in the corner of a picture. Keep these things in mind whilst arranging the room, ensuring that any reflective surfaces won't interrupt the aesthetic. 

6. Seeming overly staged
Don't be too corny. A splash of colour and a well-placed painting are generally more effective than sprinkling the bed with rose petals. But ultimately, we'll let you be the judge of that.

7. Misuse of filters
Photoshop won't turn mediocre into Mozart, and Instagram isn't going to salvage shoddy photography. You need to begin with quality in order for editing to have its desired effects. If you do decide to use pre-set filters, keep in mind the mood you're trying to achieve. Dark and grimy will only end up depressing, whilst a bright white filter may appear more cheap-and-cheerful than hip-and-happening.

8. Something fishy ...
Avoid taking photos with a fisheye lens. They can end up warped, and are thus best left to the professionals. If you're desperate to give wide-angle a go, most photographers recommend sticking to 16mm-24mm. Otherwise, the fish-eye catastrophe is definitely one to avoid...

9. Letting anything go unchecked
Here are three quick checks to make sure you get the best results.
  1. Upload images with an sRGB colour profile included. Image editing software like Photoshop Elements will let you do this. This means that the image colours will look awesome on the majority of screens.
  2. Go big, but not that big. Make sure you upload images of a good size, but don't over-do it – you want your pages to load quickly and smoothly. The biggest you want to go is 1000px wide on the longest edge.*
  3. Give your images one last check. Make sure your edits look natural, and there's nothing unwanted in the shot.

* Please note that Expedia requires a minimum of 2880 pixels on the longest edge – so keep a copy of the original sized images if you sell on a third party site! Online travel agents such as Expedia and Booking.com favour landscape photographs.

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