© 2012 Mario Madau

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Anatomy of Hotel and Resort Phtography: A Guide. Episode 8

Episode 8;      Photographing Interiors


Photographing interiors is a large topic, but I’ll talk about some tips that will help you.


I believe that every interior has a “heart” that needs to be found, the perfect angle and the proper time of day.  When shooting a guestroom , lets say, you want to find the right angle that shows the room off perfectly. Usually, you never shoot towards the entrance since seeing a door at the end of your shot is not to appealing. You want to see the interior in its best light.  Windows in a guestroom are really important since they will show the guest a view, and its that view you want to capture in the overall shot.


Most of the time you want to shoot from an angle that your guest would see first off – not to high and not too low.  What amenities do you want to show? Normally, you would have a phone, a clock radio, a television, etc. You have to ask yourself as well, if these items are modern or are they out of date. I mean and old tv vs a flat screen.  Old televisions signify an old hotel that hasn’t kept up with the times.  So you have to be careful here.


Take out all the sales materials such as hotel brochures and sales pamphlets.  These will affect the visual by making it look cluttered.


What type of bed coverings does the bed have?  Is it wrinkled or pressed? What about the pillows?  Do they look tired or smart?  I usually take apart the bed and iron everything  that the camera sees.  Make sure everything is crisp looking.


What about the drapes?  Are they messy or crisp?  Sometimes I replace the curtains with new ones and actually tape them to the floor so that they appear to be straight.


The existing interior light fixtures are important.  Replace all the compact flourescents  with regular soft bulbs(40 – 100watts).  The compact fluorescent lights do not give off proper colour temperature.  Some really come off looking too yellow and others a mixture of green and yellow.


If the view out the window isn’t particularly nice, just draw the shears and make sure you can balance the light on the inside to the light on the outside.  Time of day is important here.  You don’t want sunlight blasting in that you can’t balance for.  Typically daylight is so bright coming into a room that it has to be balanced in some way so the areas the light is hitting don’t get burnt out.  I usually wait till the sun is not directly coming into the room to shoot.  Or, you can wait till dusk, and make the shot a moody night image.  This method is very effective.


You can see in this shot that the interior light and the exterior light are balanced quite well.  The props in the room are minimal and gives off the air that someone is already staying there. Notice that the interior lamps have the proper exposure and colour rendition.


Photoshop can be used successfully here as well, You can take an image from the general direction that the room faces and insert that into the window.  Make sure though, that the image you see in the window is actually the real thing a guest would see.  If you put something fake in there, they may get upset.


In this shot, the light inside the room and outside are balance.  You can perfectly see the exterior in all its brilliance. The interior light fixtures and proper colour and intensity.  The props are minimal giving a lived in feel. The flowers and plants really do give it that "caribbean" feel.  The angle is lower than usual to give you a feeling that you are in side the shot.

Make sure the furniture in the room is free of dings and scratches.  I’ve often even replaced chairs that looked to worn.

Be simple with your props and don’t over do it.  A room with nothing in it except for bed, work table, dresser drawers, lamps, chairs, etc., can look kind of boring sometimes.  You can jazz a room up with flowers, tea services, plants, etc.  Just watch that you don’t overdo it.  Try to find the balance.  If you don’t want any props at all, then that’s fine.  Sometimes if you prop the room to much, guests might believe that the room includes them.  Thats a tough balance to walk, but it must be considered.