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Create an inviting experience

An image is one of the closest ways we can come to experiencing a destination without physically going there. Good, strong images will influence someone’s decisions, expectations and emotions. This is even before they even set foot at the location.

The following are a few reasons for using great imagery online, how to make the most of it and how to get the best shots possible without breaking the rules.

1. How to create great imagery online

  • Set the scene and engage your users

    Use images to set the scene, convey mood and emphasise tone of voice. The style of your photos is a great way to convey your brand and let people know what to expect.

    Add a human dimension and reinforce the connection. Think of photographs of an excited family, a group of friends over dinner, or someone who has just climbed to the peak of a mountain. These let the viewer put themselves in the scene and entice them to come and experience Scotland for themselves.

  • Create a visual journey with a variety of shots

    A holiday is an experience and choosing a destination is an emotional decision. Tell your story with high impact photography and lead your viewers on a journey of your product.

    The best way to create that visual journey is through using a variety of images. This is about showing what a visitor can do and experience. Use establishing shots to show off the location in full and mix these with the closer shots that show the unique details. These combinations tell a story about what is on offer.

  • Use social media

    Social media isn’t just a great way to promote your product yourself. It’s also a way to let other people do it for you. If you can inspire users with amazing imagery, then they will promote it for you – channels such as Instagram exist to share images.

2. Photography tips to help promote your accommodation

While it’s generally best to hire a photographer to take photos of your accommodation you may be working within a limited budget and wish to take photos yourself.

If this is the case then we’ve put together a list of tips to point you take high-quality photos that make your accommodation look as inviting as possible.

  • Inspiration and research

    You may be wondering where you should start. But one of the best ways is to get some ideas by checking out other accommodation providers and noting down what you feel works well.

    Besides looking at online booking platforms for inspiration, there are also loads of ideas on Pinterest. There are a great many boards dedicated to home interiors. So, you’ll see how people staged and photographed rooms to display them at their most inviting.

    Property agent websites are useful too. Browsing them, will allow you to gain an insight into the lighting, height of camera, angles and types of shot that the photographer has chosen.

  • Equipment

    A camera with a wide-angle lens (anywhere between 12 - 24 mm) and a tripod is ideal. But if you only have access to a camera phone then the same principals will apply.

    You can buy a tripod and shutter release quite inexpensively for a mobile phone too. The benefit is that you can ensure images are straight and you’ll eliminate any camera-shake you may experience with hand-held photos.

  • Natural light

    It’s desirable to use natural light so choose the best time of day for your photos. This may change throughout the day. For example, one side of your accommodation may benefit from natural light in the morning (such as the room where you serve breakfast). Other rooms might look brighter late-afternoon or evening.

    If you use a flash, you’ll get harsh shadows and sometimes an unflattering bleached foreground so it’s best to avoid this if you can.

  • Camera positioning

    You’ll want the room to look spacious so get as close to the corners of the room as you can. Take photos from at least two vantage points so that potential visitors can get a sense of a room’s layout. Also pay attention to conveying information such as comfort, sources of natural light and storage space.

    In terms of height, anything from chest height to head height would be fine but try to keep it consistent throughout your series of photos.

  • Close-ups and details

    Think about what details make your property unique and include any additional extras you offer such as coffee making facilities, luxury toiletries, complimentary fruit bowl etc.

  • Exteriors and views

    As well as photographing the exterior of the building think about what else makes your property stand out. Is it the amazing view or a beautiful garden? Does the surrounding landscape change throughout the seasons?

3. Editing and making your photos internet ready

The chances are you’ll want to straighten, brighten, crop and optimise your photos for the internet. There are several photo editing solutions available with Adobe Photoshop being the most widely used. You can download a seven-day free trial at Adobe. This should be long enough for you to edit your photos and make them internet ready.

Alternative photo editing solutions include Gimp and Pixlr. But whichever software you choose you’ll find lots of easy-to-follow tutorials on YouTube.

Do you only have access to a mobile phone camera? There are photo editing apps such as Photoshop Express Editor available for both Android and iOS devices.

4. Finding and using existing images

These days it can be tempting to grab an image you like from the internet. Copyright law exists to protect the creators of media from theft and misuse of their work so it’s important only to use images you own or have permission to use. If you’re in doubt, don’t use the image.

If you’re unable to hire a professional photographer, another option is to use images from a stock library. These usually cost a small amount of money to allow you to purchase the rights to these high quality images.

Our media toolkit has thousands of amazing photographs from around Scotland and is free to charge.

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