It’s no secret that improving the photos on your website can help spruce up your property’s online presence, but just how important is imagery to your guests’ overall booking experience?
As it happens, the human brain is hardwired to process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so while ensuring you include all the relevant info in your descriptions is important, photos are the real selling point when it comes to converting browsing to booking. With the Social Media obsession not slowing any time soon, there is a very real possibility that not prioritising photography in your accommodation business could mean falling behind the eight ball.
Let’s discover a few simple ways to amp up your photography game and give your website and booking engine the visual makeover it deserves!
Keep it professional…
We really can’t stress it enough; professional photos make a world of difference. With a professional photographer, you can be certain that your photos won’t be grainy, blurry or too low resolution to use on your Online Booking Engine. You’ll also be confident that they’ll take all the important aspects into consideration, like mapping out the absolute best lighting situation to capture each area of your property in the most flattering way possible, and editing the photos with a professional hand.
However, you don’t always need to spend thousands on hiring somebody. Just using a decent camera or Smartphone can go a long way in delivering quality images. If the Smartphone route is the one you’re going to take, we suggest using models from 2018 onward (and don’t even think about using that old Motorola).
Use time to your advantage…
When it comes to capturing your property in the best light (literally), one MAJOR consideration to take into account is the time of day you start snapping.
You’ve probably heard of the term “golden hour”; it might sound like a showy photography term, but don’t let that scare you off – it has a point. Capturing photos just prior to sunset means that sun will naturally cast a diffused, warm light that is flattering from all angles. Harsh, midday lighting can cast aggressive shadows that obscure the size, shape and colour of objects, making it hard for viewers of the photo to make out the finer details and vibrancy of the image. Aim to take your outdoor photos in the early morning or early evening to capitalise on the best lighting.
For indoor areas, natural lighting is always best if it can be achieved. Do some research to discover when the light shines most into the building, creating the least amount of shadows – that will be the time to take a few quick pics. Remember to adjust any curtains or objects that might obstruct the lighting.
If you’d like to highlight specific features of your property (which you should), like fire pits or indoor fireplaces, you may need to take some photos at night to capture its true beauty! If your property is a little on the older side, taking pictures at night with the lights on is a great option – the warm lighting can do wonders.
Get the best angle…
If your property has features like high ceilings, make sure you’re making the most of these points of difference by positioning yourself at a low angle and facing the camera upwards, creating the illusion of even more height and enhancing the size of the space.
Standing up whilst angling the camera lower can make rooms appear smaller, which isn’t ideal. To capture the widest view of your rooms, stand in the very corner or at the doorway to ensure most of the space will be included in the image. Landscape is best for this and try utilising fish-eye or wide-angle lenses to make the most of small rooms (if you’re using a Smartphone, you can purchase different lenses which clip onto your phone’s camera)!
If you aren’t thinking about mobile usability yet, then now is the time. Millennial travellers are on the rise and a whopping 74% use their smartphone to carry out initial research for their holiday or trip, with 66% of millennials using their phones to finalise bookings (Condor). This is something to seriously consider when photographing your property.
Landscape photos help to portray wide views of your space and can be useful for creating banner images on your website and Online Booking Engine or adding to email marketing campaigns. However, they don’t bode as well for Social Media or mobile browsing. The best option is to ensure you’re capturing a variety of landscape and portrait images – the former can be cropped into squares for optimised mobile viewing, and the portrait images will do well on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
Embrace the Au Naturel…
Filters may seem like the be all and end all of Social Media, but that doesn’t mean you should be using them. When photographing your property, it’s best to keep it filter-free so that your guests are getting an accurate representation of where they’ll be staying without any overly enhanced or altered colours.
Hopefully, these simple tips will give you some ideas that you can put towards your photo-taking escapades. By ensuring your photos are of a professional standard, taking note of lighting, thinking about editing, and making sure that your pics will prove effective no matter the device, you can really make your property stand out against the crowd. Let’s get to work!