Without looking up the answer, can you define the rule of thirds? Do you know the difference between aperture and ISO, as well as how to adjust them manually on a camera? Do you know how to style and light a room in order to make it look welcoming, interesting, and true-to-life? If the answer is no, you’re in good company. Photographers study and practice for years to perfect these skills, in the same way that you have years of experience in running a business. Just as you wouldn’t want a professional photographer to run your inn for a day, taking dynamic, bed and breakfast photography should be left to the professionals.
Professional Photography Is a Must for Your Property
“It’s obvious that photos are the most important means of communication today, particularly in selling a product or service,” said Matthew Lovette, an experienced bed and breakfast photographer from Jumping Rocks Photography.
This should come as no surprise to any of us. Photographs are engaging and interesting. They put the viewer in the shoes of the person taking the photo. This is especially true when a new visitor to your website is searching for accommodations. They want to envision themselves staying in your room, enjoying the linens, furnishings, and those special touches you add. You spend so much time making sure everything is perfect, don’t you want your website to reflect that?
DIY Is Not for Everything
We understand the drive to want to take on big projects yourself, especially when that means that you get to save money. Photography, however, is not one of those projects. The first step is creating the proper ambiance for a room. Mark Smith, also of Jumping Rocks Photography, states that bad lighting is one of the common mistakes he sees. “Shooting a room with no windows makes for a depressing image, but shooting towards the windows requires lighting expertise.”
Framing is another tricky step. If you’re looking at the same rooms, day in and day out, you stop really seeing them. A professional photographer has been trained to see rooms differently and thus, frame them more dynamically. Smith says framing is another common mistake. “The beds are “the face” of a room; it’s where you focus. Not enough effort is spent making the beds look great for the photos.”
Before and After
Take a look at the two photos. They are of the same room and taken from similar angles. However, they are drastically different. The before photo, taken on a camera phone with no professional lighting, is darker, giving the room tones of blue. The perspective of this photo is eye-level, looking down on the room rather than parallel with it. The bathroom’s light draws the attention of the viewer. Rather than focusing on the beautiful bed and linens, the viewer is checking out the (admittedly gorgeous) tub.
Now compare the previous image with the professional one. The lighting has changed drastically, showing that the room is more of a cream color rather than a light blue. This is far more true-to-life, allowing the future guest to get an accurate preview of the accommodations. The photo is shot at waist-level, so the camera is not tilted. Therefore, the image is more parallel with the ground. Rather than looking down on the bed, you get to notice the little details, like how the comforter flares out so perfectly. Most importantly, the second photo looks roomier. Aside from the photo including more floor space, the photographer has captured a bit of the mirror in the image, expanding what we see.
Time Is of the Essence
Understandably, it can be difficult to put aside enough time for a project of this scale. Smith states that a typical five-room bed and breakfast takes around one day to shoot. A 10-room inn would likely take two days. If you’re re-doing your website or starting from scratch, then you should allow a couple of days for photography.
What to Capture
There are some obvious picks for must-have photographs. You’ll want a good photo of each guestroom, the exterior of the inn, as well as any dining rooms or common areas that guests might frequent. Be sure to ask your chef to prepare some example dishes to photograph. Remember, the best way to a guest’s heart is through their stomach! Finally, take a walk around your property, making a note of your favorite spots. This is the time to show off, so take advantage it!
One of These Things Is Not Like the Other
Now that you’ve revitalized your inn’s portfolio make sure that your website matches your images. Take it from Christian Giannelli, a Philadelphia-based photographer. “If you have a 10-year-old website with 10-year-old photos, don’t update one without the other. The website will only be as good as the old photos, and the new photography will most likely not even be properly seen on an old website.”
If you’re unsure of whether you need a new website, Q4Launch can help! Request our 21-point website inspection and one of our expert staff members will get in contact with you. We’ll help break down the confusing, technical jargon of the industry and explain in clear terms how your website compares. Let Q4Launch help you from start to finish, from website design to marketing.
Taylor Anthony | Content Creator