As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words….
It only takes a quick glance for someone to evaluate what they see and form a positive or negative judgement. In fact, studies have shown that the viewer generates an opinion as instantly as the blink of an eye.
Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a webpage.
The study, published in the journal ‘Behaviour and Information Technology’*, also suggests that first impressions have a lasting impact.
Researchers also believe that these quickly formed first impressions last because of what is known to psychologists as the “halo effect”. Gitte Lindgaard of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, and lead researcher of the paper says: “If people believe a website looks good, then this positive quality will spread to other areas.” As websites increasingly jostle for business, Dr Lindgaard added that companies should take note. “Unless the first impression is favourable, visitors will be out of your site before they even know that you might be offering more than your competitors,” she warned.
Your establishment may provide guests with a spectacular breakfast to beat all of your competitors or you may have spent time, effort & money on the interior design. But if the pictures are poor, unprofessional or non existent, you could risk losing potential customers in an instant.
Therefore, it is evident that good quality photographs are essential for success in drawing in new guests. If there are few or no pictures to look at, the chances are they will move on.
Sarah Kay Photography specialises in all types of accommodation photography and styling. Here she shares some of her tips for creating photographs that will bring out the best in your holiday let and help you use the power of image to increase sales.
Tips for photographing your property:
Tip no 1. It may seem obvious but don’t forget to de-clutter every room. This includes removing bins, leaflets, etc.
Tip no 2. Don’t have wires/cables dangling all over the place! Wherever possible try to hide them either by unplugging or removing them all together. With kettle bases or wires from other appliances, or in the case of lamps which need to be switched on, tuck the wire behind furniture or use masking tape to ‘stick’ them out of the way.
Tip no 3. Tidy and straighten all curtains, blinds, bedding and sofa cushions. Iron them if necessary, there is nothing worse than creases and crumples that stare back at you in photographs!
Note this BEFORE and AFTER shot. Yes it’s the same room!
Tip no 4. Personally, I always like to have all lights switched on in my shots. I feel it gives the image added shine and sparkle. Depending on the natural lighting in your room, you may want to experiment and see which you feel looks best.
Tip no 5. Please, no toilets in shot. I’m not against photographing bathrooms, some look great. If you think it will be beneficial to photograph your bathroom, do try to avoid the toilet. If this is not possible, please please ensure the lid is completely closed and there is no bin or toilet brush in sight! Eeek!!
Added tip: Take a shot of a detail in your bathroom rather than the whole room. To give a taster of the style of the bathroom. The viewer can then create a idea of the whole room just from that one shot.
Tip no 6. Think about your target market and dress your rooms accordingly. Romantic getaway? Champagne and chocolates will do the trick.
Added tip: Less is more, never over-dress the room or it will look cluttered.
Tip no 7. Remember the reasons that people come to stay in your property. Is it the stunning lake view? Is there a fantastic feature window? Think about it’s uniqueness and take those photographs.
Tip no 8. Ensure your outside areas are looking tip top. Hanging baskets flourishing, decking or patio swept and free of weeds, grass trimmed and looking neat. Take the photograph on a day with some sunshine and blue sky. If you can’t get a good day, take one at dusk with all your lights on for an ambient glow.
Tip no 9. Finally, take your shots. Study each image for imperfections as mentioned above. Does the furniture need tweaking slightly to create better composition for the viewer? Would the picture look better if taken from a different angle? Try every corner of the room, some will look “right” some won’t; again, experiment with this.
Tip no 10. Save time and hire a professional photographer, but first ensure they will take care of all the points mentioned above. Not all photographers include styling in the price. I always say, during my accommodation photoshoot it’s 10% photography, 90% preparation! And then there is professional editing… which is another story all together!
*Source of research into psychology of first impressions: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4616700.stm