In focus: Getting your hotel's website photography done right

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Posted by Mick Dunne on: 2016-10-24 11:51:26Avvio  |  Web Design

They say a picture paints a thousand words and that is certainly the case in relation to hotel photography. Good photography showcases your property and is one of the main contributing factors in turning lookers into bookers.

When choosing photography for your website, it is important to ensure your imagery looks its best on all screen sizes and resolutions. To achieve this, your photography needs to follow a number of conditions; one of these is ensuring the main subject of your photograph sits within the focal area.

When looking at your website on any device, there are a number of visual elements to consider that can impact on the area given to your webpage. These include a lot of the standard items you see across the top of your browser, such as menu bars, address bars, bookmark bars etc. These all require space at the top and sometimes bottom of your browser window and can shrink the space your webpage is displayed in.

On your website itself, the inclusion of your logo and main navigation across the top of the webpage can further impact the space available for your photography.

Below we can see some common laptop and desktop screen sizes, with the red areas given to the space available to your website and also the photography on display within your webpage.

The Common Laptop and Desktop Screen Sizes

The focal area is the space above and below the horizontal line that runs across the midpoint of the height of your webpage. By placing the most important visual elements of the photograph within this focal area, you are ensuring it is visible no matter what screen size the website is being viewed on. We can see the focal area of our sample screens sizes displayed below in yellow.

Below is a proper use of the focal area in action from the Killarney Park Hotel website:

Taking the focal area into account, it is important to choose photographs that work well within these parameters. As you can see from the above diagram, the red area decreases as you go from the large to the small screen sizes. Therefore, elements of your photograph that are outside the focal area are less likely to be seen on smaller screens. To ensure the important element of your photograph is always shown, you need to choose photographs that show the most important element of the subject matter within the focal area of the shot. 

To further explain, if we take this wedding photo, the first thing we notice is the couple in the center take up the full height of the image. Applying this photo to our sample screens diagram from above and we can see that the heads and feet of the couple are being cut off at the top and bottom on all screens, with some screens cutting off more than others. 


Cut-off of photos on hotel website

The reason for this is the most important subject matter in the image, the couple, are too close to the top and bottom of the photograph. If this photograph was shot from a further distance away, with more of the surrounding area above and below the couple, the couple would then be sitting within the focal area and we would have the following output on all our sample screens: 

Wedding Photo Zoomed Out

How further away photos fit into website design


In order to ensure your photography works within the focal area, there are a number of factors to consider. Firstly, when having new photography taken, it is important to make the photographer aware that the photography will be used in landscape orientation on your website. Add to that the need to cater for the focal area by allowing enough space around the important elements in the photograph. 

When dealing with existing imagery, choose images with the important element of the photo positioned centrally with adequate space above and below. The main subject matter can be anywhere within the focal area, once its across the central line.

Another issue, which impacts the focal area of the image, is when a zoom is used on the photograph. This issue often affects food shots. If a photograph is very zoomed into the subject matter, then the main subject matter of the photo is filling the full space available to the photo on your webpage, meaning the focal area is not possible. This can only be corrected at the source when the shots are being taken, with the photographer supplying wider angled shots from a greater distance. With the high resolution available these days for photography, these shots can be easily zoomed in if needed to suit the webpage and focal area.

At Avvio, we offer a range of advice in relation to photography. As well as recommending photographers with extensive experience in shooting hotel photography for web, we can also consult with your photographer if you are planning a shoot, to advise the best way of ensuring your new photography works for your website. For existing imagery, we can provide an audit to identify images that may have potential issues with the focal area of your website. If you are interested in availing of any of the services that Avvio provides please contact for more information.

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