In this post: retouching photos – it may be the only way to save bad photography, what to look for when hiring a photographer, what it takes to make a successful photo shoot and why owning a camera doesn’t make someone a photographer.
Retouching photos is often the only answer to save bad photography. Time and again, we’ve seen our hotel and resort clients go through a multi-million dollar renovation and then:
- Hire an expensive photographer from the franchise’s list of approved vendors with little to show for the elaborate photo shoot.
- Having spent the entire budget on the vendor-approved photographer, enlist the services of a speciality (think portrait) photographer to retake photos when he or she has no location experience or equipment.
- Or lastly, have an employee with little understanding of the nuances of photography volunteer to snap photos on his or her phone.
Don’t assume that any of the above can actually capture a desirable image to use in marketing your resort, attraction, destination or business. In the end, our retouching photos is often the only way to make our client’s images useful.
You would expect that approved vendors should, would or could know what they’re doing.
You would think that for the amount of money paid that the results would be perfect, especially since the photographer is on an approved list. Not so.
You would presume that you could give the “professional photographer” a long leash since they know what they are doing and are supposedly experts, right? Not so fast.
In order to stay on the preferred vendor list, these photographers do color within the lines – no computers on hotel desks except in the business center shot and no room service trays in the guest rooms to be used as eye candy. But here’s what we also have found:
- Photographers who take HDR photos and then tweak the image using special software to the point the final product is oversaturated and looks like an architectural rendering. Really? The property has been open for business for a long time. Let’s not give the impression, the property isn’t even open yet.
- Photographers that use the wrong lens to capture the right setting. Wide angle lenses can’t be used for everything.
- Photographers that shoot views which include bathrooms right down to the plumbing beneath the sink. Excuse me, but you missed a fabulous view by not shooting in the opposite direction.
- Photographers who are given a long shoot list and too narrow a time frame because the client doesn’t want to pay for an extra day. Something has to give in order to get it all in … let’s pray that the weather cooperates.
- Photographers who lack the fundamental skills necessary for retouching photos. Ever seen a milky haze around the windows or sliding glass doors? Someone didn’t know what they were doing.
- Photographers whose final product shows a brighter exterior view than the interior. Your eye went right out the window didn’t it? The entire point of the image was to feature the guest room.
- Photographers that take photos that are so generic that they could be used anywhere. Using stock photography would be a lot less expensive.
THE OTHER GUYS
- Photographers who have experience in shooting interior design sets. The end product is unnatural because the lighting is over the top and too balanced.
- Photographers that shoot at the wrong time of day when lighting is the harshest. Perhaps because that’s the only way they can shoot 25 images in a day based on available budget?
- Photographers who don’t understand that every image should have a focal point to draw the viewer into the photo. It’s like where’s Waldo? Where’s the focal point?
- Wedding photographers (which differs from location photographers) who light the subject matter from both sides. Doesn’t it seem odd that the shadow falls unnaturally in two different directions in the same image?
- Staff members who want you use a low resolution postage stamp-size photo taken on a smartphone with employees talking in the background.
- Management or team members who own cameras and believe they are really good photographers. It’s best if they be directed to upload these on social media. Alternately, your child may be cute but how do you diplomatically suggest, it’s not strong enough for marketing your multi-million dollar hotel or resort.
- Drone photographers who are flying against headwinds and provide fuzzy images or worse yet tell you they can retouch an image for free but don’t.
If your nonprofit organization or quasi-government agency has access to a company like Flying Compass, take advantage of their years of experience in coaching clients.
Let them take a look at the photographer’s portfolio. It’s highly possible, they can point out things that you can’t see, explain why “something’s not quite right or suggest things you can do to guide your photographer to the desired end result versus needing to retouch photos after the fact. If you have a proposed shoot list, run it by us to see if it contains the photos and angles often requested.
Unfortunately, sometimes retouching photos is the only way to create a signature image.
Before you move forward in selecting a location photographer, reach out to us at Flying Compass. We’d like to help make sure your photo shoot is a success.