Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of shooting some smaller chain hotels and I’ve been amazed at how these properties have upgraded their design elements, creating a more upscale feeling even at this more budget-conscious level. This is true of my recent subject, The Hilton Garden Inn Arcadia/Pasadena. As a hotel photographer, it’s my job to ensure that I capture this feeling, which can be challenging in a two-dimensional medium. I must convey the warmth of the rooms and spaces, helping travelers envision themselves there, relaxing after a long meeting or a day of sightseeing.
One of my favorite ways to create mood, is to capitalize on natural light. I always take the time to scout a space at different times throughout the day to see where light and shadows fall. In both of these shots, subtle sunshine across the furniture adds just the right touch.
However, evening light can be equally dramatic, creating a different kind of ambiance. Most clients generally consider only day shots, and I often advise my clients to make room in the budget for evening shots as well. This gives a wider range of images and moods for the hotel portfolio. Compare the feelings of the two sets of shots below. Although pools are generally thought to be a daytime activity, the dusk shot makes you want to enjoy your cocktail poolside in the evening.
This is very true for exterior hotel photography shots as well. Bright and cheery in the daytime, but also a warm welcome at night. An inviting and enticing sight after a day of travel and a powerful image for marketing the property.
Another way to highlight the benefits of a hotel space is using different angles. Sometimes a straight-on shot conveys the expanse of a room and the clean lines are very appealing. This works well for a meeting room, which is also a less emotional sell.
For a suite, however, it’s not always a perfect square and I want to convey a different feeling. I carefully squeezed myself and gear into a corner to get this full room shot. And lighting still plays a part here, with the contrast of the dusk outside, and the brightness inside.
It’s somewhat counter-intuitive to close doors or partially block the subject, but this shot perfectly illustrates that within the suite, you can shut the doors for privacy, and the angle subconsciously draws you into the room.
Another technique I use is a lower angle. Especially in the shot below, the lower angle helps the viewer feel as if they sitting right in the space.
Highlighting small spaces is important too. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy breakfast in this sun-drenched, cozy corner?
A few detail shots are always important in hotel photography as well. This shot uses a lot of color contrast, shapes, and reflections for an interesting composition.
But, as an architectural photographer, I never ignore the grand shot. Every hotel needs a signature image, one that conveys the overall feel of the property. At the Hilton Garden Inn Arcadia/Pasadena the brightly colored lobby with dramatically high ceilings and bold draperies won the day. The open, airy feel couldn’t be more inviting.
An experienced hotel photographer should highlight all the best of any property. The Hilton Garden Inn Arcadia/Pasadena provided a beautiful opportunity for me to do just that. Including day and evening shots, unique angles, and creative lighting I was able to provide a diverse and impactful portfolio of images. If you need updated hotel photography for your property, please contact me at Architectural Photography, Inc. at 888-788-5554 or 888-688-5510.