Viktor Kery is a London based commercial photographer crafting storytelling images for hotels and restaurants, specialised in food and interior photography. Check out his personal site or follow him on Instagram @viktorkery.
As many of us in the industry can attest, hotel photography is one of the most challenging environments we as photographers can work in. The clients tend to be among the most demanding, setting high expectations that they expect contractors to meet while working to tight deadlines. Hotels rise and fall based on two things- reputation and the strength of their marketing campaigns, with the one feeding into the other. And the cornerstone of both is the way in which they present themselves and their brand to the general public through imagery.
Hotel photography should be evocative at first glance. In the narrowest window of time, it needs to catch the viewer’s attention and hold it long enough to make them want to linger and learn more. It needs to be powerful enough to stand out in a crowded field of competitors, with just the right amount of content to give the viewer an insight into the brand. A tall order in any circumstances. But a challenge any photographer worth their salt rises to meet.
My most recent work brought me face-to-face with just such a challenge at the Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Terminal 2 Hotel. This 369-bedroom venue sits in a position of especial prominence, catering to an impressive volume of high-calibre guests every day from all corners of the globe. Its placement, in-between terminals 2 and 3, means it receives a steady stream of foot traffic throughout the day; another consideration I had to make when approaching this job.
Before I arrived, I received a thorough briefing from the clients that explained the standards they needed to achieve with this shoot and what their expectations were. I also had the opportunity to meet the management team, who were more than happy to answer any and all questions I had with regards to the main areas they wanted to focus on.
In many ways, I was quite fortunate during the shoot, as the hotel was not yet open to the public and so the only people I was at risk of disturbing were workers and staff. Still, I wanted to create as little disruption as possible; with their opening imminent, they had enough to be getting on with.
I made sure to begin the shoot as early as possible and my 3:30 a.m. start allowed me to scope out the best position to achieve the perfect early sunrise photo, which, despite the morning’s threatening grey overcast, turned out well.
The hotel had requested the shoot cover six principle room types including their junior suite, meeting rooms, the restaurant/bar, gym, reception, and some miscellaneous areas.
The hotel’s restaurant showcases their focus on achieving a contemporary, chic aesthetic that manages to avoid the garish overtones that often accompany such styles of décor, with an excellent colour scheme that perfectly complements the room’s natural light.
The bedrooms too were endemic of the hotel’s goal of achieving simple utilitarian function without sacrificing comfort or modern convenience. The junior suite in particular I felt was evidence of this, with two large windows that offered a clear view of the runway without the levels of noise you might expect from such close proximity to the aircraft.
It was, overall, a very successful shoot, made more so by my use of Tether Tools Case Air device. Though the technology is relatively new to me, the benefits are apparent from the get-go. Thanks to its wireless capabilities, it has allowed me to significantly reduce the amount of gear needed during a shoot. The Case Air itself is tiny in comparison to its traditional counterparts, and with the sheer number of capabilities its small case contains, no wonder why it is considered the world’s most powerful wireless camera controller.
Not only this but due to the increased interactivity between my camera and my other devices, I have been able to digitise a number of my capabilities into a format that is much easier to use, such as the special light painting technique I use for interior shots.
This was beneficial during this shoot for a number of reasons. Not only did it limit the number of times I had to go back and forth between my car when setting up, but it enabled me to achieve a great deal more in a shorter space of time, allowing me to work much more efficiently and within the allotted timeframes. During photoshoots, time is often the enemy, particular when it comes to cultivating the right environment. But with the Case Air Wireless Tethering System, I was given much greater control over the management of the project, from the initial set-up to the final shots.