Hotel Photography - what do I need?

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by evmincheva, Aug 26, 2014.

  1. So, not exactly a beginner, but beginner when it comes to hotel photography. I usually do portrait/family photography (ocasionaly photograph at weddings). I have been working for a photography studio photographing people, not objects or interiors (which provided me with all equipment needed), but I've never done any hotel photography.
    What I have at the moment is a Canon 600D, an external flash, a 5-in-1 reflector, tripod and 18-135 canon EF-S IS, 28 - 105 canon EF USM II and a 50 mm canon lenses. Can't borrow anything from the studio.
    Need an advice on what exactly do I need to do a proper shoot in a hotel. Basicaly the construction company that build the hotel is working on a new web site and they want portfolio pictures of all the building they've build. I've been asked to do the job and did explain to them that usually this is not my field of work, but they said they are ok with that and they've seen exapmles of my work and are happy to hire me.
    how to set up equipment? What is best to use from my own equipment? Best times of the day to shoot? What to charge (have been looking at interior photographer prices, but to be fair don't feel confident enough to charge that as I am gonna do a shoot like that for the first time)?
    Any advice will be very very helpful.
    Thank you, Eva!
  2. The 18-135 may just be wide enough for interior shots, but would definitely require some work in "lens correction" unless you just bite the bullet and use the line curvature as an "art feature". ;)
    Indeed, correction of optical effects may be called for in exterior shots as well. Read up on "keystone effect" and other perspective effects.
    Of course there are prime lenses such as the TS-E wide angles that would be helpful, but they are very expensive and would be impossible to justify buying, probably. Rental is an alternative, but the lenses require some skill in operation, so post-processing corrections may be the simplest way if you are adept in a graphics editor of some sophistication.
    I'd also try to figure out (ask?) what it was in your work that they liked, and try to give them some of that - models or whatever.
  3. Search out some of the professional hotel photographers portfolio and ask your queries to them also ..... i hope it will help
  4. To do a "proper" shoot of the hotel you will need more lighting, the skills to use it, and an assistant. A ladder and a 24mm
    shift lens wouldn't hurt either.

    But what you have at least in the way of camera and lenses is adequate to make decent photos.

    First: find out what the client wants to feature. Scout the location with the client and make notes about angles, the light
    qualities at different times of day (and night), and details in the scene. Don't be afraid to ask questions. This will also
    answer your question about when to shoot.

    Ideally lighting is motivated by the message the client(s) want to communicate. Even if you had access to more lighting
    equipment -you can always rent more, just make sure you have the client's permission to bill for it - you lack the knowhow
    to use more complex lighting set ups. Even if you can rent more lighting, make sure you hire an assistant who not only
    knows how to run it, but also can advise you on how to employ the lights effectively, and not just dump more lght into the
    scene. And even if you can rent the lighting and hire the assistant, start with the existing lighting as the foundation for
    adding the extra lighting you'll bring in.

    Keep in mind that what the hotel wants to feature may differ from what the construction company wants to feature. You
    should treat it (and bill it) as two separate assignments that overlap.

    Shoot raw, not JPEGs.

    Don't undercharge. You probably know more than you think you do.

    Practice ahead of time.
  5. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I shoot for real estate listings. Most are staged so they are similar to hotel rooms in many respects.
    One piece of equipment you may need is a polarizer to deal with reflections. If you are shooting the bathrooms, there may be shower doors with reflections that can be minimized by shooting with a polarizer.
    Lighting can help but unless the pay covers rental and time (and an assistant if you need one,) you should learn instead to use HDR. While no substitute for lighting, it can help a lot and it does produce a look that most people are now used to for interiors. I shoot in the sub-$2M range of listings and nobody will pay for the time and effort that lighting would take.
    You can deal with most lens correction issues in post. Just get the shots as level as possible and then correct. Once again, unless you're being paid enough, it's not worth renting lenses you aren't familiar with.
    It's important to make sure things are perfectly neat. I have come in to shoot after a cleaning service and found tables slightly out of place, etc. You need to see whether the room looks better with in-room lighting on or off.
    Depending on the layout, you may be a little tight with the APS-C body and 18mm. This is especially true if you have to shoot bathrooms. I shoot between 17mm and 25mm on a full frame body.
  6. Also, if they have window views they want to incorporate, you'll need to shoot from a tripod and expose the first shot for
    the room, expose the second shot for the window view, and then combine them in post.
  7. The 18-135 will probably end up being your primary lens. The 28-105 won't be very useful. Take the 50mm for shallow DoF/better bokeh when focusing in on features. You won't be able to light up an entire room with a speedlight; either the near part of the room will be overexposed or the far portion of the room will be underexposed... possibly both. You may be able to use the speedlight to again focus in on features, but for the wide angle shots you'll have to rely on in-room lighting and/or window light. Because of that some rooms will photograph better in the morning while others will photograph better in the afternoon... or at night if there is enough artificial light. IMHO, exterior shots look best right after sunset, early blue hour.

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