I’ve been lucky enough to experience some truly seamless photoshoots; the ones where I arrive, the staff have everything styled and ready for me, and I find every space is immaculately presented and ready to shoot. 

However, not every shoot is perfect. Sometimes, external circumstances get in the way (um, I’m looking at you, weather), and sometimes there are a lot of small things that hold up the shoot that could have been avoided with a little more preparation.

The purpose of this post is purely to help hotel professionals how and why to prepare a hotel bedroom for photography. 

Let’s look at why it’s vital to prepare bedrooms before the photographer arrives. 

 

Why You Should Prepare Bedrooms Beforehand 

  • Save Time – You pay your photographer for their expertise and eye for a photo, and while that certainly does include spotting that chair that would give the room a much more put-together feel if it was at just a slightly different angle, you probably don’t want them spending their time pulling the bedspread straight.
  • Save Time in Post-Production – With the prevalence of photo manipulation in the media, people tend to rely on tools like Photoshop to perfect any issue. The thing is, however, is a photo that’s ready to use as soon as my finger leaves the capture button (bar maybe a little lighting changes or colour correction) will always look better than one I’ve spent an hour or more fiddling with in Photoshop.
  • Get Your Assets Faster – Don’t forget that if there’s little to do in post-production, you’ll get your assets much faster, ready to give to your web developer, marketing team, or anyone else that needs them.
  • Get the Best From Your Photographer – If your photographer is constantly looking out for what needs to be fixed, they’re going to have to do more to get in the right headspace for capturing the image and angle that will best convey the story of staying at your hotel to those viewing the image.

    Remember that the camera is the tool, the photographer is the one with the skill, so you need to ensure they’ve got the right environment to work with and aren’t spending their time picking up a stray receipt from under the bed and pulling the curtains straight.

    You’re also much more likely to get extra shots the photographer saw as they moved around your space, rather than simply the shots on your list. 

7 Most Common Problems I Find in Hotel Bedrooms on a Shoot 

Now we know why it’s worth paying attention to the details, here are a few key areas I often find haven’t been properly prepared: 

Wrinkles in Bedsheets 

I have often walked into a room to find the bedsheets fresh and clean but wrinkled, with creases from where they’ve been stored. These are often creases and lines we don’t notice when we’re stood in the room, but through the lens of a camera, becomes obvious. 

Remember that the image stands alone – it conveys the experience to a potential guest, and it’s little blemishes like these that can put another hotel above yours when they compare rooms, just because something will feel “off.” The solution? Ask one of your housekeeping staff to steam iron the bedsheets in any bedrooms being photographed the day before the shoot. 

Dirty Windows 

This is an easy one to overlook when you’re in the room but shows up in photos. It’s not unusual to see the vague outline of a pigeon wing distorting the view out the window. Make sure you get the outside of the windows cleaned a few days before the shoot, and clean the inside as soon as the room is vacated by the last guest before the shoot to get rid of any fingerprints. 

Stray Marketing Materials 

We’ve all seen the leaflets in hotel rooms advertising the hotel’s services and local attractions, especially if the hotel caters to families, but they don’t need to be displayed in your photos. Make sure any leaflets and other marketing materials are removed from the room (or put away) before the photoshoot. 

Wrinkled Curtains 

Curtains are an area easy to overlook in a hotel room, especially if the focus of the room is on the incredible view. Most drapes are heavy and dark to block out light outside, but it’s still not uncommon to find wrinkled curtains in rooms. Make sure your staff ensure the curtains are wrinkle-free, and steam iron them if necessary. 

Broken Lightbulbs  

I will often use artificial lighting to support natural lighting in rooms, especially on darker days. I’ve found lightbulbs to be out a surprising amount, which either means I have to work with subpar lighting or wait for the staff to replace the bulb. It’s a seemingly small thing, but it can seriously hold up a shoot or mean I have to work harder in post-production to make the room look warm and welcoming. Check all light sources before the shoot and replace any bulbs as necessary. 

Dirty Carpets 

This is such a simple fix, yet you’d be surprised how many times I’ve found a room with a dirty, stained, or old carpet. Ideally, get the carpet cleaned before the photoshoot, or if the carpet’s old, choose a room with a better quality carpet. 

Faulty Fixtures, Fittings & Furniture 

In older hotels, it’s not uncommon to find a well-loved piece of furniture that has frayed edges, a lamp with a shade that doesn’t sit straight, and other minor issues. While some of these may not bother your guests, they don’t give the right message to your future clientele. Make sure you look at the room objectively and have these issues fixed (or hide them) before the shoot. If that’s not possible, consider using a room that’s in a better state of repair. 

Your Pre-Photoshoot Bedroom Checklist 

To help you avoid any of these issues, use the following checklist to ensure your bedrooms are ready to photograph: 

  • Clean carpet and make sure there are no obvious stains or lines left by the vacuum cleaner 
  • Clean and straighten the bedsheets and curtains 
  • Clean windows inside and outside 
  • Remove or hide leaflets and marketing materials 
  • Look for wonky/broken furniture and remove or repair it 
  • Make sure pillows and cushions are plump 
  • Dust all the surfaces 
  • Check and replace lightbulbs 
  • Add any desired features (such as champagne, fresh flowers, etc) 

It’s so important to put your best foot forward when it comes to your marketing, and there’s no denying that your pictures will be the first thing a prospective client looks at. They’ll also be what guests look at when they’re comparing your hotel to another, and in most cases, beautiful photos will also ensure you don’t have to compete with other similar hotels on price alone. 

I’ve helped many successful hotels get the photos for their marketing materials that win bookings, so if you’re ready to upgrade your photography, I’d love to help. Check out my website for examples of my work and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.