Have you ever searched for accommodation for your family vacation and had trouble finding quality photos of the property you were interested in? It’s discouraging, isn’t it? Most of us are visual people and want to be sure that the condo we’re about to rent doesn’t have a closet-sized kitchen or orange shag carpet from 1972. In this series I’m going to concentrate on three main options for obtaining images: hiring a professional photographer, finding and purchasing stock photos, and photographing your property yourself.
So you realize – as a vacationer yourself – the importance of being able to see what a property looks like. These days, almost all hotel and vacation rental websites include some sort of property photos. However, not all photography is created equal. There are many different ways to add quality photos to your site. However, all of the different options can be overwhelming. How do you know which choice is the best for you and your property?
First, you need to decide what features will draw visitors to your property. Who are your guests? Do people stay with you because you’re in a beautiful getaway location, or because they need a host for their next business meeting? Is there something about your property that is so unique that guests come and stay with you just for the experience of your property itself?
Once you’ve determined who your guests are, and why they visit your location, you can decide what kind of photos to concentrate on. If your property is a quiet mountain ranch in Wyoming, you’ll absolutely want to include lots of pictures of the gorgeous scenery around your property. On the other hand, if your hotel is in a major city and business travelers make up a large portion of your guests, you might want to concentrate on pictures of the hotel only, since your guests may not be exploring the surrounding area much.
Now that you’ve determined what kind of photos your website needs, it’s time to decide how you’re going to go about getting those photos.
Hiring a professional photographer.
This option can sometimes be expensive, but undoubtedly the return on investment is more than worth the price. Professional photography will make your site stand apart from others and really shine. I have had the pleasure of working with several clients who have hired professional photographers and they have all been impressed with their results. Historic Key West Inns is a great example of a site with professional photography – the photos are clean, crisp, colorful, and evoke the relaxed but upscale feel of the property. Gversion, a British design and marketing company, also points out that “the advantage of having a professional photographer is that you will have exclusive rights to the photos taken and so can be assured that the images on your website are original”.
Most professional photographers will need to be hired locally, so check with your chamber of commerce for recommendations. Be sure to check out their portfolio. Different photographers have different areas of expertise, as well as unique styles. So make sure to pick one that not only suits your taste, but seems to match your property. If you want to concentrate on the interior of your property, make sure you see some examples of other property interiors that your photographer has taken.
Part 2 will post tomorrow – with tips on using Stock Photography on your website.
More sites with great professional photography: