Before and After: Exterior Hotel Photography at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, India

Exterior Hotel Photography at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, India. Gerry O'Leary

Previously in this series, I’ve examined different aspects of photographing hotels and resorts. My ‘Before & After’ series takes you through the process required to achieve a final image, demonstrating that the set-up is as important as the moment I press the shutter button.

Before: Exterior Hotel Photography at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, India. Gerry O'Leary
“Before – exterior image of Hyatt Regency Chandigarh”

Even before I set up my camera, I need to establish the angle, what time of day I’ll be shooting, which lens I’ll be using and what preparation is needed to compose a brilliant image.

In this instance, I was at the Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, the capital of Punjab in Northern India, a city renowned for its marvellous architecture.

The elements needed for a hero image

Images of a hotel at dusk are often ‘hero images’ (i.e., the first image most people will see of a property). The crucial element in this capturing a hotel at dusk is the lighting – timing is everything.

Once I decide on the basics, I call a meeting with the team from the hotel. This can include:

  • Members of the marketing team
  • Housekeeping
  • Engineering
  • Concierge
  • Valet

Everyone has their role in getting the image right.

  1. The engineering team need to ensure that all the façade lighting is in working order. This is imperative as I often discover that lights are fused.
  2. The team also need to be on hand to ensure the façade lights go on at a time that coincides with the ambient daylight. Most façade lighting is on a timer or a photosensitive setting. It can be too risky for wait for the lighting to come on, as it may be too late to capture the image. I usually ask the engineering team to over-ride the auto setting and switch on all the lights around an hour in advance of the shoot.
  3. I ask housekeeping to switch on the lights in each room and open all the main curtains. If there are sheer blinds, I prefer to keep these closed to soften the effect of the lighting.
  4. Members of the team help me arrange any exterior furniture in a precise, orderly manner.
  5. The valet staff move cars, out of sight if possible.

Planning ahead for the best image

It’s vital to plan this image a few days in advance so that repairs or replacements can be made to lighting, furniture, etc.

I usually time a dusk image around 15 minutes after sundown. However, this can depend on which country I’m in and the latitude of the property. In this case, I was in Chandigarh, northern India, where sunsets are usually between 5.15 pm – 7.30 pm.

After: Exterior Hotel Photography at Hyatt Regency Chandigarh, India. Gerry O'Leary
“After – dusk hero image of Hyatt Regency Chandigarh”

When the light is right

Once I’m satisfied that all the elements are in place for a great exterior building photo, I capture several photos over the ‘magic hour’. Often the final image is a composite of 3 – 6 images.

Post-production is when I apply the ‘icing on the cake’. If anything unusual or unwanted has managed to sneak into the final image, I remove them.


Like this blog? Please share on LinkedIn, Facebook or your preferred social media. Reach out if you have any questions on hero images or dusk photography.

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