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GT Images
Hotel, travel and commercial photography
Hotel, travel and commercial photography

GT Images's posts

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Some images from my recent visit to Burma – an amazing country and some of the friendliest people on the planet!

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Burma 2013
27 Photos - View album

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Sunset Photography

Hotel photography often means great locations. And along with great locations come stunning sunsets that I just can’t help photographing. There is something timeless and almost spiritual about a sunset that begs to be captured.

I know that others feel this too… Over the years I’ve joined clubbers in Ibiza watching the sunset at San Antonio Bay, tourists and locals alike waiting on an Indian beach until the final rays descend over the horizon, and Taxi drivers in Turkish resort towns heading off to their favourite scenic spot to park up for a half an hour of sunset gazing (possibly in lieu of a fare or two!)…. a diverse range of people in search of that perfect sunset moment and me with my camera trying to capture it. Here are a few of my favourite attempts…

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16 Photos - View album

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Budget Hotel Photography

Hotel photography is often as much a matter of judgement and marketing as it is one of photography. Take the case of the 2 Star Nagi Beach hotel that I recently shot for the travel company, Olympic Holidays. For the hotel photographer this kind of assignment presents several challenges.

Firstly there are the different people that you have to keep happy, each with slightly different agendas. The hotel owner wants you to make his hotel look like the Ritz, the sales team at the travel company don’t quite want the Ritz but they do want you to make the hotel as appealing as possible, and the customer service people, both at the tour operator and at the hotel, are keen that you don’t make the hotel look too fabulous so that people don’t have inflated expectations.

The next problem comes from the timing of the shoot. The hotel has to be shot in the summer when it is open and at a time to fit in with the travel company’s marketing schedule. This generally means the place is full of lobster-skinned tourists and the light is too harsh.

Finally there is the subject of the photos itself. Often budget hotels just aren’t very photogenic – they don’t have the benefit expensive interior design and mood lighting. And while they might be fine to stay in, portraying this in a photo can be very difficult.

Overcoming these challenges is where the hotel photographer really earns his cash. Here’s a recent attempt of mine….

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8 Photos - View album

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I have just had the luck to go back to one of my favourite countries – India! And although I was blighted by awful light and limited time I enjoyed myself immensely. India is by far one of the most fascinating and wonderful countries on the planet, and great for photography (apart from the aforementioned awful light of course…). There is so much colour and so much ‘real life’ taking place before your very eyes… so many characters with faces worn by the hot sun and the hard life… and so many beautiful buildings and exotic animals. There are wonderful photo opportunities and wonderful people all around you all of the time… I think i might be addicted!!

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So here’s a few images I shot for Travelsphere… and one or two I took just for fun!

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Can hotel photography really be too good? With the tricks that can be achieved by today's photo editing software, I'd say it can. It's entirely possible to give customers a very false expectation, and then when they arrive... well, you know the rest (or your reception staff do!)

The real skill is to present a hotel or resort at its best but accurately. You want your rooms to look spacious but not bigger than customers would experience them in real life. The same goes for your pool. You want the best parts of your hotel to be shown off, but you have to show the customers the parts that they will be spending most of their time in - a standard room with a limited view rather than the presidential suite perhaps?

So you must take care over your choice of photographer. We all want to show our mastery of photography and our wizardry with Photoshop, and we may well be egged on by the marketing manager who would like to pretend every room comes with Champagne, flowers and rose petals strewn across the bed! But we should resist for the sake of customer satisfaction, repeat custom and good business sense.

There is also the temptation to go the other way and utilise user generated content in the style of trip advisor. This is very trusted, but also a bad idea. Why? Well there are many technical reasons but let's just say that 99 times out of 100 the point-and-shoot camera in the hands of the novice simply does not get close to the human eye and brain with it's ability to perceive and recreate the visual world. To do that you need a professional with the right equipment. Just make sure you find one that understands the business and can reign in their photographic genius long enough to get you the right pictures!

Here are some more interesting articles on the same subject....

Hotel photography by GT-Images:

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Shooting models on location has to be one of the most fun things I get to do!  Studios are great, but they are no match for the sun, sand and scenery of a location shoot! So when Michaela agreed to join me in Turkey I was overjoyed.  I found some suitably quiet locations – not easy in coastal Turkey in the middle of August – and away we went.  We only shot twice – Michaela had to have her holiday after all, but we got some good shots.

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Michaela Swimwear
9 Photos - View album

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The simple answer is because we are a visual species.   The more complicated answer involves backing up such a sweeping statement!  And back it up I must, or you won’t be convinced and this blog post will be much too short! 

So here goes:

We are a visual species because sight is our most important and useful sense:  

Firstly, sight is long range – very long range.  We can actually see things billions of miles away. But on a more down-to-earth level it enables us to detect danger at a distance. So we know when it is safe to cross the road, and in times gone past our ancestors could see danger and prey far enough away to devise a plan, so sight was vital to survival.  Some of our other senses are fairly long range too – hearing and smell for example.  But both are highly inaccurate.  There’s no way you can know exactly where that sabre tooth tiger is just by the sound of it’s growl or its pungent smell, you'd just know it was there and you were in trouble...

The need to to quickly identify predators despite their attempts at camouflage may have led to our excellent colour perception - the best of any animal. In addition this capability will have helped our ancestors choose the right things to eat by selecting the nutritious fruits and berries and avoiding the poisonous ones.

In the modern era our vision has a profound effect on us.  Research at 3M has discovered that we process images around 60,000 times faster than text.  Although we also use sight to read the words on a page, we change the words in to sounds and pictures in our brain.  This is a long, slow and inaccurate process that takes place in a linear fashion, word by word and sentence by sentence.  Conversely, we are able to process the elements of an image simultaneously giving rise to the old cliché that a picture speaks 1000 words.

Our brains are also wired to support our strongest sense and we think using pictures. As media theorist John Berger writes in his book 'Ways of Seeing' (1972): "Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak" suggesting that we are innately attuned to imagery whereas we have to learn all about words and language.

Some responses to images seem to be ingrained in the human psyche and are universal across cultures – for example wide, open landscapes evoke an instant sense of well-being and contentment even though for most modern men they would actually be a place where they couldn’t survive and would certainly perish.  They should generate a sense of fear!

So, photography is important because our brains are geared up to deal with imagery more than with any other sense.  This makes good photography even more important, because bad photography will have a huge and lasting impact in a negative way.

More photography form GT Images:

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Travel photography in Egypt is wonderfully easy – well, it is in the winter when the weather is bearable and you get the odd cloud to make the sky a bit more interesting! I managed to get time out of my busy schedule to take some travel shots on a recent visit. I tried to keep away for the obvious site such as pyramids and temples. Not that these aren’t fantastic subjects, but they are always so full of people! So the following set includes shots from the Sinai peninsula and hopefully show some of the other things that Egypt has to offer the travel photographer.

More of my travel photography here:
Egypt travel photos Jan 13
12 Photos - View album
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