Capturing the Essence of A Luxury Hotel

Compelling hotel photography is an art.

Experienced photographers can make excellent photos look natural and almost effortless. But photographing luxury hotels and resorts requires an ability to capture the message of a place, along with its beauty — you have to communicate a story within the image, something that draws viewers into a luxurious experience.

The best way to market your hotel's brand compellingly is through hiring an experienced hotel photographer. A luxury hotel photographer can help you get the full potential out of your images, making your campaign successful and appealing.


Why Hotel Photography Works

Do stunning hospitality photographs make that much of a difference?

As it turns out, exceptional images are more than worth the investment. The first way photographs attract attention is through basic human psychology — intuitively, images appeal to us all. Research continues to confirm this bent in human nature. According to a recent study, articles with images receive 94 percent more views than those without any visuals. In the luxury hospitality industry, a stunning and compelling image grabs and holds a viewer's attention.

Besides drawing viewers into your advertisement or website, quality photographs allow you to convey the message of your brand quickly. Nothing communicates the story and concepts of your hotel faster or more effectively than a good photograph. In a 2018 study, researchers determined the human eye processes an image in as little as 13 milliseconds. That is much faster than scientists had previously predicted, and confirms what we already knew — we can judge a photograph in fractions of a second, determining whether or not we're interested in a product or story.

Our high-speed processing makes good photography even more essential — if a viewer judges your content and images in a fraction of a second, a subpar photograph likely won't hold their attention for more than a fleeting moment.

Hotel photography can also capitalize on the latest trends in luxury hospitality. For example, as technology becomes an increasingly essential factor in travel and accommodations, you could use a photo shoot to feature your hotel's innovation. Some of the trends a compelling visual campaign can capitalize on include:

  • Technology — As technology continues to improve, the hospitality industry is increasingly emphasizing connectedness and high-tech services. From hotel apps that let guests contact staff members to "smart rooms," the modern luxury hotel appeals to tech-savvy guests. In a photography campaign, you could highlight your hotel's advanced technology and show it in action.

  • Local attractions — Today's travelers want to experience a location like a local. To draw new guests to your luxury hotel, highlight the attractions near you. In marketing a hotel brand, you can draw attention to the experiences surrounding your property, and high-quality photographs will increase the appeal of your location.

  • Nature-inspired design — As far as style is concerned, the hospitality industry is leaning toward natural and minimalist styles. Pared-down rooms and nature-inspired decor are all the rage, and the simple colors and designs of modern luxury accommodations emphasize the person, rather than the space. A professional hotel photographer can highlight the details and style of a room, bringing attention to the way your hotel fits the latest design trends.

  • Eco-friendly elements — More and more businesses are going green, and the luxury hotel industry is no exception. Guests are starting to pay attention to a hotel's environmental policies, such as how much water and energy they use or how much they recycle. Showcase your brand's attention to the environment through images — highlight your energy-saving efforts or recyclable products during a photoshoot.

  • Health and wellness — Another trend sweeping through luxury hotels is health and wellness. Guests have begun taking charge of their health, and the hospitality industry is responding. Well-equipped spas, yoga studios and fitness centers are more and more common, and different technologies such as air purification, vitamin-infused shower water and in-room exercise equipment are becoming standard. To attract the health-conscious crowd, use hotel photography to emphasize your brand's focus on fitness and well-being.

Once you understand the current trends and what guests are looking for, you can showcase your solution through excellent photography. In capturing the image of a hotel, a skilled hotel photographer will effortlessly draw attention to your brand — by highlighting the best elements of a hotel or resort, an experienced photographer can generate new interest in your business.


Photographing Luxury Hotels

Shooting a luxury hotel is not the same as shooting architecture, location or other promotional projects — a hotel photographer must capture the story and emotion behind a brand, along with the exterior and interior design.

First and foremost, a hotel photographer works closely with a client to realize their vision. Just as in portrait shoots, client care is critical with hotel or resort projects — once a photographer understands the client's brand and vision, they can begin capturing the essence and character of a location.

To fully represent the beauty and intricacy of a luxury resort or hotel, a professional photographer highlights four distinct aspects — the property, details, staff and story of the hotel.


1. The Property

When photographing a hotel, one of the first steps is capturing the exterior architecture and grounds. The property is often a guest's first impression as they approach the resort — to make your brand stand out from the competition, you need a photographer who understands how to depict both the beauty and character of a location.

When working on your property, a skilled photographer will capture the following aspects:

  • The architecture — The exteriors of your building are one of the first things a prospective customer will notice. What makes your buildings distinct from other resorts and hotels? What lighting and angles create the most dramatic composition? An expert hotel photographer will make the architecture and exterior of your property stand out from the competition.

  • The grounds — The grounds of a resort contribute to its charm and character. Do old, grand oak trees surround your hotel? Can a guest see the line of the sea on the horizon? Maybe your property includes lush gardens with manicured walkways, or it could feature a sparkling fountain carved from stone. A professional hotel photographer emphasizes the best parts of your landscaping and grounds, directing a viewer's attention to some of the most beautiful elements of your property.

  • The sign — An enticing photograph of the hotel or resort signage is essential for your marketing campaign. Every sign is different — some have intricate details and style, and others go with a more minimalistic approach. Whatever the design of your signage, a good photographer will use lighting and angles to create a unique image.

  • The surroundings — When shooting the property of your resort, a good photographer will also take note of any nearby attractions. Lush parks, unique shops, striking landmarks — anything within easy walking distance of your property could be an additional attraction to your location.

Whatever you want to emphasize, a skilled hotel photographer will capture the intricacy and personality of your property.

2. The Details

When guests are searching for hotels or resorts, they are most interested in the interior spaces and amenities. An experienced resort photographer will understand how to emphasize the beautiful details of your buildings.

Compelling interior shots highlight the nuances of your space. For example, if you want an image that conveys the comfort and peace of your rooms, a hotel photographer might emphasize the crisp, spotless linens and streamlined decor. If the hotel stands in the heart of a city, soft, warm lighting could give the room an elegant, nightlife atmosphere. Alternatively, if a resort perches on a cliff overlooking the beach, a photographer could emphasize the glistening and clean ocean aesthetic with bright lighting and a minimalist color palette.

When shooting the interior details of your hotel or resort, a hotel photographer should highlight the following elements of your space.

  • The rooms: For many visitors, the interior rooms of a hotel are the main attraction. What is the atmosphere of the room? Is it clean, comfortable and chic? A skilled hotel photographer will bring out the lovely, unique elements in your rooms.

  • The lobby: A glimpse into the lobby or your resort or hotel can showcase your attention to detail and style. Is the design vintage and glamorous, or does it embrace a modern, streamlined aesthetic? By experimenting with angles and composition, a professional photographer can make the lobby a stunning and alluring welcome to your hotel.

  • The common areas: The common areas of your hotel are other essential details to capture. What are the lounge areas like? Does the facility have a professional conference room, elegant ballroom or a fully equipped fitness center? A hotel photographer can capture the emotion around any common space, whether you want to convey the motivation of an in-house gym or the romance of a rooftop balcony.

  • The pool: An experienced luxury hotel photographer will pay special attention to any water features of your property. Do you have a romantic rooftop infinity pool, or maybe a relaxing hot tub? Perhaps your hotel provides a spa adjacent to the pool, welcoming guests to let go of any stress during their stay. During a hotel photoshoot, a good photographer will capture the refreshing and inviting water features of your property.

  • The dining: Does your space include a full-service restaurant? A hotel photographer will know how to bring out the beauty in the space itself, not just the food.

Use a hotel photographer to bring out all of the small details that set your luxury hotel apart from the competition.


3. The Staff

When creating a visual walkthrough of a hotel or resort, one of the most crucial aspects is the staff.

As potential guests search for a luxury hotel, they are looking for a staff that will be on-hand, professional and accommodating. A good hotel photographer will capture the following elements when taking compelling images of the staff:

  • Service — An experienced hotel photographer will look for scenes of the employees in action. They will frame a photo with a valet expertly handling a guest's vehicle, or a concierge helping a couple decide where to go for dinner. Regardless of whether the staff member works at the front desk or in housekeeping, a skilled photographer will emphasize the high quality of their service.

  • Emotion — When photographing hospitality staff, an experienced hotel photographer will capture the positive emotion behind scenes and interactions. Make sure the staff appear smiling, happy and at ease in the photos — inexperienced photographers can unintentionally convey stressful feelings through unnatural posing or movement.

  • Professionalism — A luxury resort staff provides the highest service with the ultimate professionalism. A good hotel photographer will emphasize the professionalism of the staff through composition — neat uniforms, efficient work and friendly expressions will show potential guests they will be in the best of hands during their stay.

The best hotel photographers will capture images of the staff that are positive and professional, and they will draw attention to the many services your luxury hotel provides.


4. The Story

Every exceptional photograph has a story.

Good hotel photography is visually appealing, and it draws guests into a narrative. Photographs of your hotel should communicate the core elements of your brand message, such as elegance, sophistication, luxury or glamour.

When a guest views an image of a resort, they will try to imagine themselves within the scene. To encourage them to enter into the story of your photos, a hotel photographer will convey some of the following aspects in every shot:

  • Mood — Every luxury hotel has a unique mood. Much of this goes back to the branding — what message do you want to convey? Do you want to emphasize the urban elegance of a downtown hotel, or maybe the vintage glamour of a historic resort? Is your location exciting, or relaxing? To create images with a story, a hotel photographer will design shots that embody the mood of your brand, drawing viewers into the experience of your hotel.

  • Allure — The goal of a hotel photographer is to emphasize the beautiful details and unique atmosphere that set your property apart. A compelling and alluring hotel photograph will create a yearning in the viewer. In emotion-generating photographs, viewers will try to picture themselves within the scene. The goal of excellent hospitality photography is to generate an emotional response, to involve the viewer in the photo and the story surrounding it.

When shooting the nuances of a hotel or resort, a skilled photographer will take shots with and without models. While models are useful in generating emotion and creating a story, viewers also want to see the space without distraction. When prospective guests view your photographs, they want a clear view of the various amenities you provide.


Work With a Professional Hospitality Photographer

Luxury hotel photography gives your brand the opportunity to highlight the unique qualities of your property. However, outstanding hospitality photography must be impactful and captivating — post-production and editing can't make a bland photo exceptional. To truly capture the appeal and story of a luxury hotel, you have to work with a professional.

Mark DeLong is among the world's premier visual artists, and his experience working with a wide range of industries has made him uniquely qualified for photographing luxury hospitality.

Mark's specialty is conveying the authenticity of a hotel and its luxury image. To accurately capture the story of a hotel, a good photographer will work closely with the client to understand their vision. The Mark DeLong team is willing to travel and shoot on location, and they do whatever necessary to capture the essence of luxury behind your hotel brand.

Take the first step toward capturing the story of your hotel — contact Mark DeLong and inquire about your project today.