How working in hospitality has equipped me with the skills I need to be a great photographer!
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Having spoke about attention to detail in my last post I thought it would be good to go into a bit more detail about other great photographer qualities that I have learnt and built on during my time in the hospitality industry.
The one that really stands out for me is going the extra mile.
I remember years ago, I was working in a hotel in Vancouver (The Victorian Hotel) and they had hired a photographer to come and get some shots of the property - I was really excited by this as I had just recently started getting in to photography and jumped at the chance to be able to shadow a pro in action. This excitement was sadly short lived.
The photographer presented the images and all I can remember is the amount of dust marks and other artefacts on the images.
my manager at the hotel never said anything - to him it was a pro he had paid presenting work in a field he knew nothing about.
When I brought this issue up with the photographer his response was simply ‘it costs extra for editing!’
That to me, was insanity.
Yes, I can understand if it was large image editing we were asking for, some major alterations or manipulations, but to remove minor marks and spots? Surely it’s a given that this is done without having to ask.
To me, going the extra mile with these things makes all the difference - from a business perspective it’s the difference between thriving and failing. Following with the example used above, we would not be using that photographer again, and we definitely didn’t recommend them to anyone else.
Alongside the above I have also developed a number of so called ‘soft skills’ - the ability to prioritise appropriately, manage my time effectively, research into the property I’m shooting and having an organised system in place are all skills I learnt during my time in the hospitality industry. These are all skills that have proven invaluable to me throughout my working life, and have helped me to be a great photographer.
Understanding the guest - that person who is staying in your hotel, dining in your restaurant, sampling your product - has also proven to be invaluable knowledge when shooting a property.
Are the images for your website? Prospective guests are always on the look out for what the rooms have on offer - the amenities available, the size of the TV, the view out the window, the amount of light coming through the window. Highlighting all these things can really make a difference to a guest when they are deciding where to book.
Aside from these, something else that I often feel is overlooked is the understanding that a lot of the business I photograph are 24 hour businesses. Having been on the receiving end, I understand how frustrating it is when a photographer is getting in the way of guests and taking over an area.
I will always do what I can to be discreet as possible and as flexible as possible regarding times for the shoot, minimising disruption to your daily business and ensuring the guests stay isn't disturbed.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I greatly appreciate it :)