Hotel Photography is Different.
Take a look at a Google search for “Hotel Photographer” and you will see that there are many different types of hotel photographers and many different types of hotel photography. Choosing the right type of photography is actually more important than choosing the right photographer.
The most beautiful photos taken by the most talented photographer in the world are USELESS if your brand will not approve them. Do not waste your money by not asking the most important questions.
Questions to Ask a Hotel Photographer
- Do you have experience with my brand?
- How many hotels have you photographed?
- When is the last time you photographed my brand?
- How will you help us prepare for the photo shoot?
- What is included in your quote?
- Will you inconvenience my guests while you shoot?
- Where can I see work you have done for my brand?
- Do we own our photos or are there ongoing costs?
Know your brand
The most important question when choosing a hotel photographer is “Does the photographer know MY brand?”. A great photoshoot is only great if the photos are actually approved. First you must find out if your brand allows you to choose your own photographer or if they require you to use their approved vendor.
Who Owns the Images
When we take photos of your hotel, you own the images. We do not charge ongoing fees or royalties. Of course we send you the shots that the brand requires. But our packages includes many different angles and options for each area we shoot…and you own them all. You can use our shots for your social media, collateral marketing or any other use you choose.
On our typical standard photo shoot, we deliver between 50 – 75 edited still images. You may only choose to use 20 of them but shouldn’t you have a choice of which 20 you like. As you compare quotes, ask how many photos you will receive after the shoot. We understand that your favorite shots may be different from ours so we let you choose.
Choose a hotel photographer who specializes in hotel photography. That may sound obvious but there are great differences between people photography, lifestyle photography, real estate photography and architectural photography. You should choose someone to photograph your hotel that specializes in hospitality and understands the field
How to Choose the Right Hotel Photographer for YOUR Hotel Photo Shoot
Know what kind of photographer you need
We specialize in mid-scale limited service hotels but we have experience photographing hotels from the smallest mom and pop independents to large iconic landmark hotels. We do most what we do best and have created a business that focuses on the needs of the mid-scale, limited service market.
The greatest compliment we receive is that we are so easy to work with. It’s the reason that our clients call us back over and over again as they build new properties, renovate their old ones or are just ready for new photos to show off minor changes.
We will be totally honest when we say that we don’t like working with luxury resorts and high end hotels. We are down to earth people who love what we do. We know what we do well. And we have done it hundreds of times.
Types of Hotel Photography
A Google search for hotel photography will turn up more than 150,000,000 results. So how do you choose which hotel photographer is right for you, your hotel and your budget?
Just looking at the headline or the description from the Google search, you will see words like Luxury, Expert, Premier. When you see those words, you should probably think of words like Expensive, Expensive and Expensive. We recently photographed an iconic hotel on the Las Vegas strip and they told us their last photo shoot budget was over half a million dollars!! That price included models in bathing suits swimming in the pool in the middle of February. Our photo shoot was focused on showing off the hotel rooms, not selling the lifestyle of the resort.
If you don’t have a luxury hotel, then you probably don’t need to pay the price for someone who specializes in luxury hotels.
Approved or Preferred
Before you choose to call a hotel photographer for a quote, you should first find out if your brand allows you to choose your own photographer or if they require you to use their approved vendor. There is a big difference between an approved vendor and a preferred vendor. Not understanding the difference can cost you thousands of dollars!
- If your brand requires you to use an approved vendor, that usually means that you cannot hire a hotel photography company that is not on their list. It does not matter how great the hotel photos turn out. If the photographer is not approved, the photos will not be approved and you will have wasted your money.
Understand the difference between preferred and approved. If your brand has a preferred vendor, that typically means that they have a negotiated contract with one or more hotel photography companies but does not necessarily mean that they require you to use those companies. The preferred vendors pay a steep price whether it’s a direct payment or by helping pay for the brand’s convention, etc.
We don’t want you to spend money unnecessarily and we will be totally up front and transparent with you about our experience with your brand. There are some brands that allow you to get an exemption for outside vendors and some that will not. We can help you ask the right questions to make sure your photos are approved.
The Most IMPORTANT question you should ask when getting a quote for hotel photography…
The first question to ask a hotel photography company when asking for a quote is “Do you have RECENT experience with my brand?”.
For example, we have photographed literally hundreds of Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels but they no longer allow outside vendors. Our main hotel photography is for IHG, Hilton and Marriott branded hotels as well as many independent and specialty hotels. While IHG, Hilton and Marriott all have preferred vendors, they do allow you to use a photographer of your choice as long as the photos are approved.
That does not mean that “good photos” are the only requirement. For example, one brand requires a pen and pad to be on the bedside table beside the phone or the photo will not be approved. Another brand requires the phone and any other items be removed from the bedside table or the photos will not be approved. These tiny differences in hotel photography requirements vary by brand and can mean the difference in approval or disapproval of your photos.
Find out who will actually take the photographs
Many hotel photography companies subcontract their hotel photography to local real estate photographers who may have little or no experience with hotel photography. While they “guarantee” the photos will be approved, they don’t tell you that means that if the photos are NOT approved, that you will have to completely redo the photo shoot at a later date. This means that all the revenue you lost from blocking out your rooms, the overtime you paid for the housekeepers to prepare the rooms, the expense of setting up breakfast, and all of the other investment you made for the shoot will have to be repeated. While they will pay another photographer to come try again, they don’t cover any of those additional expenses that you lost because someone showed up who didn’t get it right the first time.
We understand your business. We understand your brand. We understand your budget. Understanding these things means that we can tell you up front whether we are a good choice for your hotel photography. And because we have built our business relationship on referrals and repeat business, we have no problem telling you the truth!
Hear from our Happy Hotel Photography Clients!
Our happy customers have a lot to say about working with us! We love getting compliments on our photos but the compliment that we receive most often is how easy we are to work with, We understand that a hotel photo shoot can be disruptive and we strive to minimize the stress involved. Your guests don’t realize that we are outside vendors so it’s important that we represent your company as professionally as we represent our own.
There is a reason that most of our business comes from repeat customers and referrals from past customers. We have been photographing hotels for 11 years and have worked with many of the same properties through different remodels, rebrands and updates.
Our clients become our friends and we are as proud of our relationships as we are of our photos.
I had a fantastic experience working with the both of you. Your demeanor instantly put me at ease. I had been anticipating this photo shoot for months and I definitely felt anxious about the process and the outcome.
Between me reading and re-reading the DT guidelines and your incredible knowledge from your years of brand experience, along with your attention to detail, the photos came out great.
Richelle T. – Director of SalesDoubletree by Hilton St Louis Forest Park
I can’t say enough about how great it has been to work with you both and more than that, get to you know you. You are two of the most genuine people I’ve ever been around.
Joe P. – Senior Multimedia SpecialistDrury Hotels
I wanted to thank you for the recent photo shoots. They really WOW’d me. You continue to do an excellent job on our photoshoots.
It shows the passion you have in what you do.
Jeffrey B. – CEOSchahet Hotel Group
Thank you so much, these images are incredible, Barry approves! I am uploading them to M-DAM now! It was so wonderful to work with both of you as well, I learned so much and cannot wait to work with you both again!
I will be in contact soon for a few new projects that we need some photos for!
Thank you again!
Stephanie M. – Creative Director of Online ServicesCrown Hotel and Travel Management
The Pictures look Amazing!
You’ve made something Old and Tired look Great. Can’t wait to see what you do once we are renovated.
Jeanne S. – General ManagerHampton Inn By Hilton Philadelphia/Bridgeport
You guys are so easy to work with!
It is such a relief to have someone we trust so much and who can handle all the photography across our different brands and properties.
Thank you for making my job so much easier.