Hotel Photography Mistakes to Avoid: A Beginner’s Guide

Capturing the essence of a hotel in photographs is essential for attracting guests and promoting your brand. However, even the most skilled photographers can fall victim to common mistakes that can make their images look lackluster or unprofessional. To help you avoid these pitfalls, we’ve compiled a list of the top hotel photography mistakes to avoid:

1. Poor Lighting

Lighting is everything in photography, and it’s especially crucial for hotel imagery. Harsh overhead lighting can create unflattering shadows and make your spaces look sterile. On the other hand, underexposed photos will appear dark and uninviting.


  • Utilize natural light whenever possible. Open curtains and blinds to let in the sunshine, which will add warmth and dimension to your photos.
  • Supplement natural light with strategically placed lamps. Floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces can create soft pools of light and add ambiance.
  • Avoid using flash directly. This can create harsh shadows and make your photos look unnatural. Bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls for a more diffused effect.
  • Experiment with different angles and perspectives. Sometimes, shooting from a low angle or from a corner can create more interesting compositions.

2. Messy Composition

A cluttered or poorly composed image will be visually unappealing and distracting. Make sure your photos are balanced and have a clear focal point.


  • Apply the rule of thirds. Divide your frame into nine equal squares and place your points of interest at the intersections of the lines.
  • Minimize clutter. Remove any unnecessary objects from the scene that might distract from the main subject.
  • Use leading lines. Architectural elements like hallways, stairs, or furniture can draw the viewer’s eye into the photo.
  • Fill the frame. Get close to your subject to avoid having too much empty space in the photo.

3. Overdone HDR

HDR photography can be a great way to add drama and detail to your photos. However, overdoing it can result in an unrealistic and unnatural look.


  • Use HDR sparingly. Only use it when the scene has a high dynamic range of light and shadows.
  • Start with subtle settings. You can always increase the HDR effect later in post-processing if needed.
  • Beware of halos. HDR can sometimes create halos around bright objects. Be sure to adjust your settings to avoid this.

4. Ignoring Details

Small details can make a big difference in your hotel photos. Pay attention to things like chipped furniture, dirty linens, or overflowing wastebaskets. These details can detract from the overall impression of your hotel.


  • Take close-up shots of interesting details. This could be a beautiful chandelier, a cozy reading nook, or a luxurious bathroom amenity.
  • Stage your photos. Add fresh flowers, arrange towels attractively, and open books on coffee tables to create a more inviting atmosphere.
  • Hire a professional stylist. If you’re serious about your hotel photography, consider hiring a professional stylist to help you stage your photos and create a cohesive look.

5. Not Capturing the Vibe

Your hotel photos should not only showcase the amenities but also capture the overall vibe of your establishment. Is it trendy and modern? Classic and elegant? Family-friendly and fun? Make sure your photos reflect the unique personality of your hotel.


  • Think about your target audience. Who are you trying to attract with your photos? Tailor your imagery to their tastes and preferences.
  • Use props and styling to set the mood. For example, if you’re targeting business travelers, you might want to include photos of workspaces and meeting rooms. For families, you might want to show photos of the pool, playground, or kids’ club.
  • Capture candid moments. Staged photos can look stiff and unnatural. Try to capture guests enjoying themselves at your hotel to add a sense of authenticity.

Bonus Tip: Edit your photos!

Once you’ve taken your photos, don’t forget to edit them. This doesn’t mean you have to go crazy with Photoshop, but a few simple adjustments can make a big difference. Crop out any unwanted elements, adjust the brightness and contrast, and add a touch of warmth or coolness to create the desired mood.

By avoiding these common mistakes and following these tips, you can take stunning hotel photos that will showcase your property in the best possible light and attract more guests

Leave a Comment