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Pictures never lie
May 21, 2010 8:45 AM   Subscribe

Hotel photo fakeouts. When hotel promo photos meet reality. (via 37signals)
posted by smackfu (48 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hehe, I like the Wedding Photo Fakeout- imagine, if you get married on the beach, there will be people in swimsuits nearby!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like the real photo more than the promo photo.
posted by Harry at 8:50 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


It's like these people have never been to a photo shoot before.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 8:52 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, here's a bonus link, from the photographer's perspective: Lecture on Lighting Hotel Rooms
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it just me, or are these not really very misleading at all? I was expecting cockroaches on the sheets or holes in the walls, or views of the garbage dumpster instead of the beach.
posted by Bummus at 8:57 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


imagine, if you get married on the beach, there will be people in swimsuits nearby!

Let's hope.
posted by applemeat at 8:57 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ooooooh cropping! Oooooh better lighting! Yawn.

Call me when they're chopping up buildings like the fashion magazines chop people's bodies. I want to see a 2-story dump of a beach front hotel from the 1950s turned into a modernist masterpiece.
posted by zpousman at 9:00 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


A ho-hum little filler blurb on a reservations site.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on May 21, 2010


this is a bit of crap... I can't believe that he takes a picture during the day and then complains that there isn't a sunset in it.
posted by HuronBob at 9:13 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


US and the Caribbean? Don't these people travel?

Fakeouts in European hotels abound. Try visiting somewhere that's not DC or Jamaica.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:14 AM on May 21, 2010


I went through a number of them, and many of the "gotchas" were fairly underwhelming (though a few did use some unethical photo manipulations). A surprising number even looked better in their "real" photos. Also:

"Listen, hotel marketers: nobody smiles at the gym. The gym is a No-Fun Zone."

The fuck?
posted by dgaicun at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2010


None of it really surprises me, but lighting and dressing are at least expected. Cropping out big objectionable things like a Macy's towering over the pool is the kind of surprise I don't like to find.

Even so, the real place that the photos lie is that they don't have sound. Nothing hurts a relaxing vacation like loud AC, a generator that runs all night, or a herd of roosters.
posted by smackfu at 9:27 AM on May 21, 2010


Yeah, I've heard of roosters....
posted by HuronBob at 9:31 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


or a herd of roosters

A peacock farm is way worse than a couple roosters. Worst camping trip ever.
posted by peeedro at 9:33 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like the real photo more than the promo photo.

yeah, the room in the promo photo is ridiculously over dressed
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:36 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I agree that these examples, for the most part, aren't too egregious, but I used to work at a luxury hotel (the lowest rate was about $400 dollars a night) in a resort town, and the promotional brochures and website were routinely misleading. In fact, one of the most prominently displayed photos was of a spacious, gorgeous, well-appointed room featuring oh-so-appropriate furniture (given the setting) and pictures and whatnot. The problem was, even in a hotel where each room was distinct, the room in the photo was simply an amalgamation of the best possible features of several different rooms.
The hotel got away with it because we had to explain to the guests that as a historic property, every single one of our rooms was unique, including the one they were in, and we couldn't necessarily transfer them at that time (or ever...) to one of the rooms in the brochure.
The photo of the pool had clearly also been photographed using a monster of a fish-eye lens... I don't know how else they could have gotten it to look so much bigger than it was in reality....
posted by Aubergine at 9:46 AM on May 21, 2010


Who would have thought that promotional photos would show their subjects in the best light? What outrage! These bastards probably hired professional photographers! Next you're going to tell me that my frozen dinner won't look as appetizing as it does on the box!

In fairness, though, these comparison photos do give you a better feeling for the kind of tricks and license that hotels regularly take in their promotional photos, which may help the average consumer better calibrate their expectations relative to the promo photos. It's certainly a faster primer than relying on real life trial and error.

The most helpful examples: the beaches (shown in advertisements as quiet and secluded, but in reality are actually jam packed with hotel guests) the gyms, and the cropping of the pool photos to hide how small they really are.

That said, few of the promo photos qualify as "misleading" in my book, at least relative to the normal advertising practices I'm accustomed to in the US.
posted by Davenhill at 9:52 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Deception? In advertising?? Inconceivable!
posted by schleppo at 9:55 AM on May 21, 2010


Tears. Tears of rage. Streaming down my face. These people should be in jail. Excuse me, I must walk away.

I lost my innocence today.
posted by longsleeves at 10:04 AM on May 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


Another one of my ideas implemented by someone else because I am lazy and / or have other shit to do.
posted by jeffamaphone at 10:05 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I actually found these pictures to be pretty interesting. They show the fine line that hotels walk to draw you in without pissing you off so much that you leave or bad mouth their brand. I often am mildly disappointed when I check-in (room is smaller, set up in a weird way etc) but I usually only complain if stuff doesn't work or noise is an issue. I didn't even realize that the bowls of fruit, plants, coverlets and flowers are what I'm missing. I do think the Capitol photo is a pretty bad and I'd be very annoyed if I got to a hotel and their pool was the size of a hot tub.
posted by victoriab at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2010


I would happily stay at most of those places.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:22 AM on May 21, 2010


A recent post on Zack Arias' blog discusses, in passing, the degree of deception that property owners/managers desire in photography of their properties. Which surprised me a little.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:34 AM on May 21, 2010


Good grief! Next, they'll be telling us that fast food as served isn't nearly as nice looking as it is in the ads. Fetch me my fainting couch, Mabel, I'm gettin' the vapors.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:36 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fetch me my fainting couch, Mabel, I'm gettin' the vapors.

I call bullshit. That fainting "couch" is nothing but three folding chairs pushed together with a sheet thrown over it. And don't get me started on the real name of this "Mabel" lady, amigo.
posted by gompa at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


imagine, if you get married on the beach, there will be people in swimsuits nearby!

You joke, but there are people who will believe that they get the whole place to themselves. People used to have weddings outside at the airport I worked at (there was a nice lawn and a gazebo, and the restaurant had some function space), and we had people literally yelling at us that we would have the gall to allow airplanes to take off! They're loud and smelly! Can't you make them stop?!

We had to kindly explain that, no, this is a working airport and people are allowed to land and takeoff as they please and we couldn't shut down the runway on such short notice unless there was a flaming pile of wreckage on it.

Then, of course, all the flight instructors would park the school airplanes right next to the wedding location and make sure all the prop wash hit them as they were saying their vows.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:08 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was mildly amused. I kind of like the Courtyard photos on their website. Every single property is exactly the same, down to the picture of the old fashioned telephone over the desk.

If you've been in one, you've been in them all.

I agree, I was hoping to be grossed out. Although I did enjoy the bathing suited wedding guests.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:38 AM on May 21, 2010


So instead of photos showcasing the hotel in a most favourable way, these people take photos designed to present the same locations in the least favourable way.

If that's as bad as they get, that ain't so bad.

If you really want to be shocked, look elsewhere (you will not see these in any brochure).
posted by mazola at 11:50 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hahaha...I had to laugh at the example made of the Ayres Hotel in SoCal. Just stayed at another in this chain and very, very impressed. The fact that it was located near a freeway was a bonus -- after all, I want to find it from the airport and get back to the airport as easily as possible. LA is not somewhere I am going for anything other than business.
posted by VicNebulous at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2010


Those were much more fun mazola.

Reminds me of an ill-fated trip to New Orleans when I was in college. Pulled into town at about 2:30 in the AM. The only hotel we were able to get into was creepy in the extreme. When we went into the room there was a two foot wide four foot long dried brown-maroonish stain on the carpet just inside the door with two parallel trails of stain branching out from the main stain into the hallway.

No way to know for sure what it was, but if you were building a set for an episode of CSI it couldn't have looked much better. We dozed on top of the comforter on the bed for a few hours until daylight and then left to find other accommodations as quickly as possible.
posted by Babblesort at 12:14 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was good, surprised by all the haters.
posted by uni verse at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2010


This was good, surprised by all the haters.

There are too many entries like this.

I mean, they take their photo from farther away to make the gazebo look smaller. They take the picture during the day and then complain the nighttime glow is missing. WTF?

Who's the one using photographic tricks to make their point again?
posted by mazola at 12:35 PM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well I know if I'm expecting plants in my room and there aren't any plants, I am fucking pissed!
posted by dead cousin ted at 1:00 PM on May 21, 2010


Yeah, snapshots vs. professional shots + better cropping. I prefer the fast-food ad vs. reality version myself.
posted by Lukenlogs at 1:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


hey, cool - isn't this the hotel where kate bosworth, michelle rodriguez and sanoe lake all work in Blue Crush?

as soon as I saw it I was all like, "It's a jam for the ladies and the supastars!"
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:40 PM on May 21, 2010


Once when my mom and I went to Las Vegas, we had rooms at a really nice hotel. The lobby was lovely. After we checked in, we were led out the back door, across a parking lot, and into a 2 or 3 story rectangular building that actually contained our room.

The room was perfectly nice, as I recall. But it was pretty funny to be housed in the annex at the back of the parking lot.
posted by not that girl at 3:16 PM on May 21, 2010


not that girl, that hotel was almost certainly the Stardust; the two-story bungalow wing was a leftover from the Royal Nevada, which occupied the site before the Stardust was built. We stayed in that annex once; they gave some pretty good rates for a mid-Strip location. The Stardust itself was imploded in 2006 to make room for the Echelon Place, which remains unfinished with construction suspended due to the economy.
posted by localroger at 4:17 PM on May 21, 2010


Come on, everyone knows that hotels specialise in using lighting and wide-angle/telephoto shots to make the rooms look bigger and the attractions closer.

That's the way it is.
posted by bwg at 4:49 PM on May 21, 2010


As mazolo pointed out, this shot is an interesting case-in-point. The site bangs on and on about the amount of editing that's been done in Photoshop to make it look good, when in reality, I think it's more less exactly as shot - but it was shot right around (probably just after) sunset with a long exposure, and the 'tog took care to balance the ambient light with the artificial light in the gazebo.

The idea is good - show how hotel brochure photography can be misleading - but the execution is poor, especially when the critic apparently has no idea how (commercial) photography actually works.

I guess I should be happy that the author didn't indignantly claim the photo on the left was HDR :)
posted by kcds at 5:05 PM on May 21, 2010


I wonder how they got rid of the surrounding buildings though? My guess is that it's from a lower position than eye-level, maybe at the height of the balcony railing, so they are out of frame.

And the general shot is something you see a lot of with newer super-stylish resorts. They genuinely look amazing at night, whether in photos or reality. But they look merely OK during the day. It can be a bit disappointing.

But yeah, I don't see Photoshopping there.
posted by smackfu at 6:20 PM on May 21, 2010


We dozed on top of the comforter on the bed for a few hours

My sister is an executive in the hotel industry.

She once saw a revolting CSI-style image of the "stains" on a typical comforter (i.e. with ultraviolet light or similar technology) and now the very first thing she does upon getting a room is to remove the comforter, pile it in the corner and go wash her hands.

Also, the dirtiest thing in the hotel room? Not the comforter. Not the chair or carpet or even the toilet.

It's the TV remote.

Ew.
posted by intermod at 9:49 PM on May 21, 2010


When santa gets my letter about this, he's gonna be real angry.
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:57 AM on May 22, 2010


@smackfu - yes, I think the shot was taken from lower down (like from a low tripod), but they were also quite a bit closer to the gazebo thing and a little further to the right.
posted by kcds at 5:53 AM on May 22, 2010


intermod: "We dozed on top of the comforter on the bed for a few hours

My sister is an executive in the hotel industry.

She once saw a revolting CSI-style image of the "stains" on a typical comforter (i.e. with ultraviolet light or similar technology) and now the very first thing she does upon getting a room is to remove the comforter, pile it in the corner and go wash her hands.

Also, the dirtiest thing in the hotel room? Not the comforter. Not the chair or carpet or even the toilet.

It's the TV remote.

Ew.
"

Don't drink from hotel glasses.
posted by bwg at 7:18 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, somehow the links got borked. Let's try this again:

Don't drink from hotel glasses.
posted by bwg at 7:21 AM on May 22, 2010


The hot tub surfer one was pretty funny.
posted by dirigibleman at 7:49 AM on May 22, 2010


I've stayed near this place twice in the past couple years (most recently in March) - just down the beach at the Marriott timeshare.

It is totally gorgeous and the lagoon beaches (there are 4) are beautiful, clean, and barely populated. Which is amazing in Oahu. There is construction, but it doesn't impact the view from the hotel and it isn't noisy.

I think the oyster picture is lying.
posted by jeoc at 10:22 AM on May 22, 2010


Photography tip from a guy who lives in the Rockies:

If you want things in the distance to look as large or larger than they do in real life, zoom in with the camera, then step back 20 or 30 feet so the subject is properly framed in the photo, and your background will look nice and big.

Here's an example with this technique versus what you'd normally see.
posted by furtive at 1:09 PM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


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