If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait till you hire an amateur… We’ve all heard this expression before. It’s smart, a little cheeky and it’s also true. Professionals do charge more than amateurs, but with good reason. Professionals have already learnt from experience. Amateurs will likely be using your next shoot to learn possibly very expensive lessons. In this blog post Mauro, one of the most renowned hotel and resort photographers in the hospitality industry, talks about what a professional photographer brings to a photo shoot, and how they bring incomparable value to your sales and marketing campaigns.
When it comes to bringing experience to the table, this is what Mauro says: ‘Each shoot is different. Each client is different. I’ve been shooting hotel and resort ad campaigns and photography for ten years – and each one has required a unique, well thought-out approach.’
‘Knowing how to deliver on the brief is key’, says Mauro. ‘But it’s never as simple as following instructions, or ticking off a list. It’s about knowing how to achieve the client’s vision at the same time as managing the variables that come with working on location.’
‘I’ve shot more than ten thousand hours of photo and video content for hotels and resorts worldwide and that probably qualifies me as an expert. After doing it for so long, you learn to balance the details of the brief with knowledge and experience that forms your gut instinct. For me, my instinct comes from overcoming the challenges that a thousand other shoots have thrown at me over the years.’
Bringing the right tools
‘Then there is your technical toolkit’, says Mauro. ‘Knowing which cameras and lenses work best in different climates, knowing how quickly the light changes and what it does is also crucial. Being able to keep moving, and move quickly whilst taking into account what the weather is doing, also makes a big difference.’
Finding the shots that no-one else can
‘The eye of the photographer is crucial when it comes to showcasing a location or telling the unique story of a place. The ability to find the shot that no-one else can – that is how a photographer brings their signature style to the work’, says Mauro.
‘And this is also what you get when you work with an experienced photographer – I’ve had the time to really hone this skill, I know that my eye for colour, for the unique shot, the hero image and the detail shot, is not like anyone else’s.’
‘This is also why my work gives such a big boost to my clients’ campaigns. The images speak, in a very immediate and visual manner, directly with the consumer. They motivate the consumer to make a booking, send an enquiry, or send a website link to their partner or friend. The images kick-start the imaginative process in the customers’ mind, and this in turn kicks off your lead generation process. A strong image is the best and strongest start to the sales process. It’s as simple as that. The experienced photographer ensures delivers first class imagery that converts into thousands of bookings per year, while the average photographer delivers images that will simply damage your brand reputation.’
Getting your team to shine
‘Often I bring my own assistants to a photo shoot or recommend an art director and stylist to the client. Often, however, I am collaborating with a larger team that I have never worked with before’, comments Mauro.
‘This is simply the reality when you’re working all over the world. I am often invited to shoot by hotels and resorts simply because they’ve seen my work online, or I’ve been recommended to them. But it may take a few shoots before we have built up the relationship that means they give me full scope over choosing the creative team for an entire campaign.’
‘And so this is where experience is crucial as well – knowing how to work with people and get them onside so that they deliver their best work, and contribute to making the photo shoot an absolute success – this is also essential.’
‘Photoshoot teams can start small, but often grow to include chefs, food stylists, interior stylists, lifestyle producers, digital operators, camera drone pilots, helicopter pilots, just to name a few. Sometimes it takes extra diplomacy, or a knack for communicating around language barriers, or the ability to help everyone have fun at the same time as doing a good job. I believe this is what I bring to a shoot because I’m at the point in my career where I can help others relax in the job. That’s what experience brings. Confidence, expertise and the ability to inspire others to do great work. That’s what brings home a great shoot.’