Great Photos Bring Guests

 By Nancy  Swartzel of  Willis Graves Bed & Breakfast.

Innkeeper Nancy  Swartzel

We first learned about great photography when a local House Magazine came to photograph our restored log house. They did a 12-page spread and the photographer they sent over, Robin Victor Getts, did a phenomenal job of interior shots that were far superior to what we had on our website. We hired Robin to do photos for us.  Now we have hundreds of photos on a disk that is always available for whatever we need. We use them on our blog regularly.

Use large photos on your website

Revise website more frequently than you might think necessary

1. Why we pay so much attention to photos - Guests stay on the site longer

Photos entertain us. Like the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. Visitors to your website want to be entertained - it's like they are visiting the inn before
they get there. A website with small photos and not near enough photos is in danger of a potential guest signing off in seconds. For that potential  guests it's off to the next site hoping to see as much as they can. They are ready to spend their hard earned money. Now more than ever they make decisions based on as much as they can see along with checking out those
reviews!  In my opinion a bathroom is just as important to photograph as the bedroom. Let that potential guest know that your shower is spotless.

2. How to stage your photos before the photographer gets there.

It takes an eye that can see things in a frozen state. When you are in a room. Just moving around you won't notice the phone wires or cords from lamps, but you will if you stop and focus on what will be in the frame of the

Things that stick out like a sore thumb:

- Too many pillows that you really don't even sleep on that decorate the
bed.  We provide two pillows per person, one firm and one down filled.
There is nothing like great pillows incased in freshly ironed pillow cases.
They need to be propped up; we add a plate of cookies on the bed. The guests
will know that you did this for them because everything that they will touch
was prepared for them.

- Beds are hard to stage, make sure that the linens are padded enough. In a
photo the bed won't look inviting if the bedspread is too flat. Those
great pillows, a fluffy down comforter incased in triple sheeting will
assure the guests that you are thinking of them. Just imagine them slipping
into bed without having to remove anything that they won't use.

- Bed spreads that are not folded at the corners of the bed. Make sure that
the fabric is lined up perfectly.

- Lamps with lamp shades lit inside the bed will make the bed that more

- Remove alarm clocks on tables and any other extra things that don't
photograph well.

- Remove those old dried flower arrangements that hang over the bed or on a
wall. Why are they there to begin with?

- A Bad window treatment that looks like it shrunk when it was sent out to
the cleaners will look very bad in a photo.

- Keep the end table surface cleared of personal innkeeper collections,
replace with a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of
sparkling fruit juice or wine.

- Make sure that light bulbs are not showing and lamp shades are level.

- You might need to lower a picture on the wall just a little so that it
will enhance the photo, raise it back up to the original spot after the
photo is taken.

3. how to work with a photographer to get the most out of your session.

Get to know the photographer. Respect his or her time, be ready, and
remember, you are paying for all of this time. He or she should have a
portfolio for you to look at.

Know what needs to be featured the most the first time. It's easy enough to
have the photographer come out again to get the shots that were second on
the list. Pay for a half day the first time to be sure that you are getting
what you expected.

Make sure that the photographer is not just a portrait photographer, he or
she will need to be a commercial photographer. If you get both that's great,
you might just need your own photo taken as well.

One more thing to add, have the photographer get plenty of portrait and
landscape shots since different B&B listing sites have different photo

5 best tips for getting great shots

- Be ready for the photographer. Just like innkeeping, no one knows just how
long it takes to make a room look the way it does before the guest arrives.
- Good lighting
- Great colors
- Have great things to photograph
- Don't assume that the way things are normally arranged in a room will make
a great photo, be ready to move things around.
- Fresh flowers always help and maybe even a good looking dog.

Our blog is designed and maintained by Cindy McDavid she is amazing. She
offers other services, her web site is

Our photographer's name is Robin Victor Goetz, his website is
he too is amazing.

Our website designer and host is Fred Fioto ,his website is one more amazing person

I always say surround yourself with really smart and creative people!!!