What’s the first thing you do before you decide to go to a new restaurant? If you’re like 86% of Americans, you look up the menu. It’s no different when it comes to picking a hotel or bed and breakfast. Almost every guest will want to see pictures of the rooms and the property before they book. The way you visually present yourself online is the first and last impression that any potential guest will have of your business. That’s why professional photography is important! To learn more about the benefits of having professional photographs of your property and what kind of photos you need, continue reading. For additional digital marketing advice and solutions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of expert marketers. We’re always just one click away!
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
Why hire a professional photographer? It makes sense if you want to save money. It also makes sense if you want to be in charge of the way your property is portrayed online. However, not everyone has the equipment or the know-how to produce photos that are going to wow the people who visit your website. If you don’t have the right camera, the right lighting, or the right eye for taking pictures, you’re going to be losing money and putting yourself and your business at risk.
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 in a way that highlights the room’s key features or presents the room from the best angle. Mark Smith, of Jumping Rocks Photography says, “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, making the room look darker and less inviting. 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. The benefits of having professional photography far outway the cost and time that it will take to get a photography business to send someone out to your property.
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!
How to Prepare for Your Photoshoot
It’s the big day of the photoshoot! You’ve already (correctly) decided that hiring a professional photographer is a smart step for your business. But wait. Are your hedges trimmed? Has the garden been tended to? Is that tacky flag still in the entryway? There are a number of things that need to be done before your hotel is photo-worthy. Like sending your son off to school on picture day, you want to make sure your property is looking its best.
First and foremost, your rooms need to be spotless. Make sure the housekeepers clean the rooms and make the beds as neatly as possible. All of your furniture should be arranged the way you would want it if you could never move it again. It’s also important to make sure the furniture is arranged in a way that can easily be captured on camera. Use your judgment but get the photographer’s opinion beforehand if you’re not sure. If you have a restaurant or want any photographs of your food, make sure you have your dishes prepared and the dining room set when the photographer arrives! Now cross your fingers that it won’t be raining on photo day!
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. Reach out today!