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INTERVIEW FOR LUXURY HOTELIERS MAGAZINE

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This is a recent interview I did for Luxury Hoteliers Magazine.
I go into detail about my job as a hotel photographer and provide recommendations to hoteliers on how to prepare the hotel for a photo session.

Published in: Art & Photos
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INTERVIEW FOR LUXURY HOTELIERS MAGAZINE

  1. 1. Blenders share their secrets Signature Scents to inspire emotional connection
  2. 2. - ii isa highly : el and resort o : '*l: ltog*o3l‘ier, most -e : or: ly ~iorio'ec Dy : he Ar'El': t]’V Socie: y : f Media pl'iD[C€TDF"lE'S “/ ‘nSi’~i'il_-7" es hes: :fZO‘l3 He was Dzlces r New York and Mir-i rid towels «yldni ca fa ~ ients, W tl- recari: ass grirnents : akir~g hi~i t: i'ii'iexico. 3oris C-i ria. Dubai and l_0’VCD'I An: ci~. ici shares E : f:~ie oehinc lhe scer-res es Lokirgthattvinhing session for his art go I" c. ure, and his You have won nurneraus awards, including lsaing hsnarsd lay the American society at Media Plnotognphen “ASMP” as the but of2OI3. Can you toll us a little more about this? ASMP gives out this award yearly and it is based not only on image ILEA quality but on technical and logistical challenges photographers need to overcome to accomplish their project. I had the pleasure of visiting cartagena back in 2008 tor my friend's wedding. I had not visited Cartagena in a longtime and I soon realized the city had changed drastically since I last vlslted. Tounsni was booming and there was a surge in the hospitality industry like no other city in South America. All of a sudden luxury boutique hotels were being built where there once were T5th century homes and they spared no expense! Because of the nature of what I do, I knew I had to come back and capture its beauty. Soon, what was supposed to be a single trip turned into a 16 visit prolect that extended over two years, in which Antonio Cuellar Award Winning Hotel and Resort Photographer By Sharon Hirscnowitz I photographed I8 boutique hotels, 16 restaurants, and 12 museums and point of interests I was determined to capture 200 images of the old city and its surrounding fortifications. This determination was tested many times due to challenging logistics, bureaucracy and high production costs As we progressed, city orhcials became increasingly interested in my work, ultimately assigning a government olhcial to help scout locations and coordinate logistics and provided security when needed. When did you first know that you wanted to specialise in phatagnphing luxury hotels? Most of the photographers in rriy held are hired to capture an architectural record of the space or structure. I didn't want to stop there and started focusing on lighting mood as well. I wanted my images to create a place people fantasize about visiting and soon realized that lighting mood was a very important aspect in recreating this feeling. The style that I started developing became very appealing to luxury and upscale hotels. It was a style that took full advantage of digital technologies but yet felt classic in many ways. I oecanie olssessad with improving my lighting techniques in order to create my vision of the perfect image. One that not only captures the best angle, but also showcased the mood by focusing on light. Sol began putting a lot of work into my productions until I was satisfied with the results. It turns out, recreating cozy and romantic environments required a lot oiwort on location and in post—production. It seemed to me that luxury hotels were the only ones willing to go to the extent of this production in order to increase sales Thanks to the amount of travel that I do, I have rnade a laig eaort in becoming rriare practical sol have been making changes to simplify production. My image production and post- production has become more effective in recent years and I am ahle to produce better quality images in less rirne and with less gear. why do you think it it important for a hotel to usn a professional phatographarz what it the diwarenca between . reasanahly priced photographer and on. who chargss . high. r rat ’ What questions should an hotalior silt when looking for . good photographer? Historically hotels have heavily relied on name recognition for healthy bookings. Even though this still is an important factor, travelers are expectlng top quality images to match established luxury brands when doing anline research. High quality photography is a primary factor unestahlished brands need to consider when attempting to break into the market and compete with Established brands. The ditiarence in price trorn a budget photographer to an established photographer with a lot of experience in Hospitality is a question that comes up frequently. The reality is that, unless you are dealing with sorneonc such as an AD agency who is tarniliar with the extensive work that goes into the production ofa great image, selling photography services is not an easy task. What is frustrating is that this will always become clear to the hotelier after the fact I have never perlornied ajob in which a client concluded that I have an easy job, or that my work is not worth the investment. It is notjust about expensive equipment, I have a 3 step production process in which I approach all rriy jobs and theyall involve extensive work. It is a common mistake of hoteliers to expect a commercial photographer to deliver ioo irnages in order for them to have options to pick. This is what we call the “wedding photography approach", as the production value of wedding images shot in ajournalist style are absolutely rninirnal in reality this would tie a very expensive session. Commercial photography productions take a lot of prep time and it is not cost effective to have this approach. Therefore I would always question the quality of the work of a photographer who suggests this approach or agrees to it. lfthe hotel wants to have the approach in which they have options to choose from, my advice is to ask the photographer to perform a scouting day prior to the actual shoot, In which he/ she w3|l deliver a large volume or images showcasing dilrerent angles for each area with little production value. The most common practice is for the hotelier to be an active participant during the photo session There are several steps an hotelier can take to ensure they are hinng the right hospitality photographer. Without a doubt, the most
  3. 3. important step would be to ask for their online portfoho in order to see iftheir style is a good fit for their brand. Asls the photographer about their experience iii hospitality and niaytae some recornrnendatioris. Chances are during the interview most questions should be coming from the photographer. Most experienced photographers vn‘I try to called extensive information in order to determine what can be accomplished in the facility and what your expectations are in order to deliver an accurate quote. finally iislt them about their worls If. photographer is only going to show the day ofthejob and take 30 images by hirmelf, much like in the scouting process, I would definitely question the quality of their work Canyoueqalaintheproduction yraau? W|tat pov: evih‘eefyuurwo¢| thdonouIt§tecom- putxandhowmuchiadonat-unite? As I mentioned earlier I have a 3 step approach to most of myjobs. The prevpmduclicn stage involves meeting with the clients in order to coordinate logistics and discuss ideas. It also involves a very eattemive location scouting i order to determine the best angles and what the best time ofday is to photograph them. And finally meeting with the stylist to detemiirie what props are needed or allcimecl by the brand guidelines ii orderm help accentuate the existirg decor. lfthe first stage is done pruperly this would mean N9 Nou d «ate a detal ed shoot Hg srhacule curing aroduct on and no tlr'e woulc be srac li'l saattihgcar angles. lha srylis V‘m. l a also be Vere p~apa~ao to deal n‘lCl‘l l‘e'J: >:l an: all l’lE Drcps for t-iat particu ar day mid be reacl y at-ailaala. The tacos d. rl’lg prcductlon slio. lii be I glltlng. p’cpp ng and coordination r‘«‘lK'l talent S’lOI. lC rnocals be rwolliled. Becasise of my unique aparoach to p-iozography and my co'n'n : i-erit to high cual ty of work, most of the time l am l’l charge of post p*r: du(tlor My style l’wr: l‘iles se-r‘e'a tec-i~iiql. es such as light pa rlilfig, wl'*e*e '1l. .ltl: >le images are ‘e ended together ri : -i: s: production So. to answer your q. .EStIOl"-i 'nyvi: >'< s heavily dependent at poslrarcdact CH. However all steps in the p-c-cess are equal ly lV"pCl'1fln[ How can a llllltl plcpale fit 1 shoot lo r. rlsL. rr7 they in ‘. l‘7l. ‘ rnost aut riithr pictures? This s a ry good quest on aha I bel e-. pt: . lly ~: lnswe*ed in the p'e'vI: :uSCl. eStlGrl wh le dsc. ssing prapraaa . Nly preference ls to’ : he hotel to De lrl'~‘Ol‘»/ Ed n the p-oduction and p-e p-t-iductiori p'cces5 Discuss rig Iceas and log stlcs l5 cucial : o acl‘l eve better res. ts and esceec cl e-i: 's expeczat o-is I might deterrn ne that the oast lll"E to photograoh an a-ea of the hazel, such as a lounge, could be dusk. ‘out this could be t-ie wo‘st rirne due to the popu anty of zhat area at that: me. Collaboraziori and p al'mIr‘g are key Il'l a successful p‘CductI0l"i Being aresiarir as a ser' ractlve par: icioar. : during the production recess is also key. What is a Fi‘vi. .rI'. >3 ucrrlt Irflagt‘ you havn shot recently. ’ Cari ya. i Gusirllzc tha crilatlvo prancxs brlillld it? A iot of photographers fall n t-ie trap of laeco-ri rig a: :ac-ied zo r-ages that prasan: the b ggest technioa challenge, 0' miss that *eqt. red the mast 'IID’. ll tl’I5 was : he case pi’lotog'apl'll'lg the Sari Felipe Caste l’V canagara mid be -Vlillct. a out one at‘ their iii s Vrlag 8 hours to pllotog‘ the clos rg at a busy s: raets. 2 ma» generazors, 6 assistants and e n med security T’lE 'esl. lls vmere spectacular erd no image man awa'cs The raaIi: y s that l feel I '1EiE rriat. rec my $(Ill5 : o the point whe-e the lgl’l{l’Vg ard technical aspect has become second rature and l ar—i more latasta on capturlrg haaazilal spaces and te l rig a story v‘l‘llE do ng so. Not-ring Bxcltes We ‘riore than a positive re: on tram ar hotelier W’lEfI l Cell‘-‘Ef an image that can -ielp ‘ocost sales

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