8 hotel photography tips

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While I travel the world and soak up different cultures and personalities, I am often stopped and asked by travellers with a love for photography for my top hotel photography tips on how to shoot hotels. This post is probably somewhat overdue, as I have been meaning to post this for some time now. So here goes…


It’s all about the perspective – aka “A brief” (If you have one)

If you do not have a brief, then it is time to get creative like a photographer should be. Walk around and figure out how you can set the right impression. Look at the product you have at hand, in this case it’s the hotel room, lobby, restaurant or bar and think how you can create a great experience. Out of all the best hotel photography tips i can give, this is one of the most important. Shoot from corner to corner. It generally makes the space look bigger and more deep. And here is more information for those looking to provide there clients with a template on how to create a killer photography brief.

Hilton Hotels Photography Tips

(Image: http://www3.hilton.com)

Lighting, Lighting, Lighting.

As you may have heard, photography is all about light. How to use light, create light and manipulate light in order to create stunning images. The time of day will always affect your dependence on light and the end result of your images. A lot of hotels I have worked for in the past have asked me to go for mood feel. So I aim to shoot the best rooms in the evening, just around sunset, which is known as the “sweet spot” in exterior and interior photography.

Hotel Photography Tips Lighting Profoto B1

You can find a wide selection of lighting gear from places like Calumet or Wexphotographic. (I particularly love to use the Profoto B1’s, new on the market and great quality – but expensive)


Sharp Images with no blur.

Image quality matters and we all love crisp, clean and sharp photography. One of the best ways to achieve tack sharp images is to use a remote trigger & a very strong tripod. Not only can a strong tripod help you stabilize the camera, it can also reduce floor vibrations when moving around behind the camera. Using a wireless trigger is also important as this stops small vibrations created by your fingers when you press the shutter release button.

Interior Hotel Photography Tips Mike Kelley


Prime Lens vs Zoom Lens

So recently, I have become a big fan of my zoom lenses. They tend to be far more agile and flexible than prime lens. I generally tend to use a 17-40mm lens but change it up depending on the space and angle I am shooting from. Figure out what works best for you. Zoom lenses tend to get more space into a shot, but flexible depending on how much you zoom in or out. Prime lenses have fixed focal ranges, so the only way you will be able to get more in or out is by moving the camera around.

Hotel Photography Tips Interior Zoom Lens Canon



Have you ever walked into a place and thought, “who left it in this state?”

You will notice that things are out of place and odd items should not even be where they are. Generally speaking, the more tidy a room/space is, the better it will look on camera. The camera doesn’t see what our eyes see and this is why composition is key. Set up your space and show it off in all its elegance and luxury. More things around create open spaces and even get rid of certain items that do not fit in well. Overall, your final shot should be well rounded focusing on the overall experience rather than highlighting the red cutlery on the table or the horrendous purple carpet that does no justice to the room overall. Here is a great example of clean composition below:

Interior Hotel Photography Tips Architectural


Focus on the end goal

In general, it is the photographer’s job to create a great end product. After all, you are hired for being the expert. However, do not let that deter you from receiving feedback from your client on the job. It is always good to receive feedback and bounce around ideas, as the client knows the end customer much better than you. If you have a brief, tick off all the requirements as best possible and think of any other ways you can improve on the brief to go above and beyond for the client. It generally goes a long way in establishing a great relationship and trust.


Know your verticals & get straight

One of the biggest mistakes amateur photographers make with interior photography is not ensuring that features, walls and bed boards etc…are not parallel in the frame/shot. Use your adjustment options on your tripod to level out and align with large straight lines. You will be able to work on this a little more in post-production, but try to get as much as possible done on set in order to make life easier in post production. Depending on which editing software you choose, it should give you various options to level things out. This will ensure your interior or exterior shot looks straight and realistic without bending away in corners and giving an odd look.


Use your aperture & shoot from a good height

Most photographers with basic level knowledge will know about Aperture and the use of depth of field. Often on shoots, the exterior view will be unpleasant and to combat this, you should look to play around a little with your F stop and reduce it enough to blur out the unpleasant parts. However on the flip side, if your room is immaculate and has a stunning view of the city skyline outside, then go for a much higher F stop which will capture all the elements. Study the chart below and try it out.

Hotel Photography Tips Lens Depth of Field


View our portfolio for a little inspiration on angles, setups and also use of light. If you have any questions, send us an email; we love to hear from people around the world who love our portfolio and work.


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