Here are some images I did for the website of Dancing Bear Lodge & Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro in Townsend, Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Whenever I do a job like this, capturing images of various accommodations, there are lots of variety of usage. Beyond the obvious use on promotional websites like the one seen here, the photos also end up used on an assortment of directory websites like Google My Business, TripAdvisor, Yelp, Expedia, etc. While guests may upload their own photos to these directories, it’s smart for businesses to add images that are flattering since hastily made smartphone snapshots may not be the best illustration of a space.
In my marketing capacity, I often go to the next step and load the images to these directory listings, making sure the information is up to date. It just makes sense for me to handle that step while I am taking care of editing the photographs for this type of usage.
Photos of motel, hotel, inn, lodge, and cabin accommodations also make rich material for social media outreach, giving the owners a powerful, visual tool for communicating what they offer to buyers. As part of my editing process, I will typically create web-ready versions meeting the specifications of the various social networks. It is important to optimize the images and make sure that “alt tags” are properly identified for SEO purposes.
When photographing commercial properties, I strive to capture the existing light and make the finished photo closely resemble what a guest will actually experience if and when he or she rents the space portrayed. More often than not, I use a tripod to drag the shutter for a longer exposure, making a dark room appear more luminous than the camera would normally capture at a higher hand-held shutter speed. In some cases, it suffices to photograph one class of room that is replicated elsewhere on the property. At Dancing Bear, many of the cabins are unique from one another, requiring photography in each one separately since they are distinct. It is critical to stay organized and watch for tiny details. I want spaces to appear cozy, warm and inviting — a visual tease of what awaits travelers if they choose to stay there. Selling the experience is so important when someone is comparing venues on the Internet.
I use wide angle prime lenses for sharp details. Although there may be some distortion on the edges, this enables me to showcase more of the room, which is almost always photographed horizontally. A normal focal length lens is used for detail and accent photography. More recently, I’ve gotten into 360-degree photography, becoming a Google-certified Street View Trusted Photographer. I am able to tie multiple 360-degree photos together to create a virtual tour of businesses, similar to the way Google Street View allows us to inspect a section of roadway before traveling there in real life.
In the case of Dancing Bear, they have an in-house restaurant, so my photography for them extends to Chattanooga TN food photography. Chef Shelley Cooper does an amazing job and knows how to style her dishes so they look as delectable as they actually taste. It is gratifying to know that my photographs have persuaded people to try her culinary offerings and convinced strangers to make reservations to stay at a hotel, motel, lodge, cabin, bed and breakfast, or inn.
I encourage you to check out Dancing Bear Lodge and Dancing Bear Appalachian Bistro. They’ve been great clients for several years now and offer a fantastic experience near Cade’s Cove — a nature photographer and nature lover’s paradise.