hotel photography guide

The Hotel Photography Guide

Today we are talking about the many, many types of hotel photography.

Photography is the single most important asset in your digital marketing arsenal. 

A great shot of the building exterior can set you apart from the competition. 

One great wedding shot

can sell a $25,000 wedding. 

But getting great hotel photography is complicated. 

Because hotels require so much of it.  

Room shots, exteriors, food photography, weddings, social media? 

And on and on it goes. 

To top it off

Not all photographers are created equal. 

An architectural photographer is not a food photographer. 

And vice versa. 

Different types of photography

often require very different disciplines.

Let’s break it down. Shall we? 

The many, many types of hotel photography


Architectural Photography.

Architectural photography is the make it or break it of hotel photography. The way you showcase your hotel’s spaces, rooms, and lobby can greatly impact whether or not a guest books with you. In one way, architectural photography is informational, it answers some fundamental questions about the property, what the rooms and spaces look like. But the art is in making architectural photography aesthetically pleasing, which means proper lighting and the careful selection of angles. 

arcitecture2 Resize

How to get the right shot.

  • Hire a professional who specializes in architecture photography. This person has a very different approach from a lifestyle photographer, who has to be good at working with people. 
  • Hire a stylist who will go as far as getting every single wrinkle out of the comforter.
  • Style the rooms in advance of the photographer. Nothing slows down a shoot more than a lack of preparation. 
  • If you have meeting spaces, have the rooms dressed and picture ready. (And, be sure to capture every space that can be utilized for meetings, from patios to ballrooms.) 

Bonus tip.

Check out your competitor’s architectural photography. If it’s good, hire that photographer. (Or, you can always check out our photography team’s work). 


Lifestyle Photography.

Lifestyle photography focuses on capturing a moment and creating a narrative.  It provides potential guests the chance to visualize their stay and make an emotional connection to your property. Lifestyle shoots tend to be larger, much more complex productions that require models, locations, set design/stylists, hair and make-up, wardrobe, and more. 


How to get it right.

  • Hire the right team needed for a successful photo shoot. That means hiring a professional photographer, stylist, models, as well as makeup, hair, and wardrobe teams.
  • Make it timeless. Avoid going trendy. Don’t showcase many phones and laptops that will start to age the photography in as little as a year. 
  • Shoot video and photography simultaneously to get the most out of your investment. 
  • Getting great lifestyle photography is no easy task, be sure to check the past work of your photographer. Ask for similar things they’ve done in the past. 

Bonus tip.

Believe us when we say, don’t cut corners. While it may be tempting to bring in friends and family to model to save marketing dollars, we suggest going a more professional route. Why? Having inexperienced models will cost both you and the photographer more time, effort, and ultimately the need for a new photoshoot sooner than you would wish.

food beverage

F&B Photography.

F&B photography is all about bringing your menu to life. This type of photography is very detail-oriented.



How to get it right.

  • Hire a professional photographer who specializes in food and beverage. Someone who has lots of experience lighting your drinks and dishes in the most appetizing way.
  • Pre-select the dishes you want photographed so that the chef and kitchen staff can prepare ahead of time.
  • Once served, most foods and drinks have a short window for the photographer to get the shot before the dish will start looking dull and “unphotogenic.” So, plan accordingly.
  • Include the chef, so they can make any final touches to the dish as needed.

Bonus Tip.

Bring the dish to life by implying action: cutting into a cake, positioning a fork nearby, etc.

weddings 1


It’s no question…having great wedding photography will help increase RFPs. Couples often have trouble envisioning their special day when all they see are empty ballrooms and empty lawns. Photos help them visualize what’s possible at your property. 

weddings 2

How to get it right.

  • Stage a mock wedding. Invite all your vendors and share the photography.
  • Hire a professional wedding photographer and/or invite a couple of local wedding photographers. 
  • Build relationships and make agreements with bridal photographers to utilize assets from real weddings at your property. This gets complicated because you need a release form signed by anyone who appears in a photo, so we suggest specifically requesting plenty of detail shots, images of the bride and groom only, and room setups with no people in them. 

Bonus Tip.

Collecting photos from various weddings at your property will help arm your sales team with assets of different possibilities and examples for engaged couples inquiring about their big day. 


Seasonal Photography

Seasonal Photography is not for everyone. But, we are including it for the properties that dress up to the nines for the holiday season or for the properties that offer seasonal activities. 

seasonal 2

How to get it right.

  • You guessed it, hire a professional. Depending on what you need in terms of seasonal photography, you need to hire a professional photographer that fits your needs. For example, a foliage lifestyle shoot at your Vermont property showcasing fun autumn activities requires a different type of photoshoot and photographer than wanting to capture your hotel’s delightful holiday decor. 
  • Plan ahead. Be sure to coordinate the photo shoot accordingly. If you are planning an autumn foliage shoot, schedule it for peak season. If you are planning a holiday decoration shoot, make sure all decorations will be installed.

Bonus Tip.

Capturing seasonal imagery might sound excessive but hear us out, once you have these assets, you gain promotion assets for years to come.

social content

Social Media Photography

All the assets you’ve collected, if used correctly, can make great social media photography. But don’t forget the importance of creating content specifically for social media. Social media photography is all about showcasing the intimate details of the guest experience. That means putting yourself or your models into the true, daily moments of a guest. 


How to get it right.

  • Hire a team that’s experienced in gathering social media content. (hi!)
  • It’s okay to be more on trend with these shoots (unlike the timeless lifestyle photography).
  • Create a story. You want potential guests to see an image and have them feel as if they are right there on your property.
  • Bring a model, but don’t always show their face. Just the slightest presence of a person brings the shot to life. Plus, you don’t necessarily want all your shots to have the same person smiling in all of them. 

Bonus tip.

Make relationships with local influencers that would be willing to turn over content in exchange for a discount, this way you can supplement your feeds with influencer photography (just be sure to share brand guidelines and what you’re looking for).

Flash Back !

Does your property need updated photography? What areas are your sales and marketing teams lacking photo assets? Do you currently have specific content shoots for social media posts?