Hilton presented us with a challenge – as one of four required brand photography vendors for the new brand Tru by Hilton, Travel Industry Photos worked with the brand marketing team to translate the unique points of their cutting-edge property into a visual story. The product itself would be revolutionary, and the photography that showcased it would have to reflect the style and substance of this revolution.
Four years after the first property was opened in McDonough, GA in 2017 (photographed by our company), Tru by Hilton is now approaching 180 properties across North America, with vigorous expansion on the horizon.
From a visual standpoint, creating imagery for these properties is equal parts challenge and delight. In the words of the brand marketing team at Hilton, Tru “represents a complete rethinking of hotel design, curated to spark creativity and connection.”
PHOTOGRAPHING COMMON AREAS
Conveying the impact of these spaces through photography can pose quite a challenge. Tru offers guests a unique experience, and an equally unique layout to go along with that experience. There is no traditional lobby space, instead, this area is an expanse of games, soft seating, food and beverage offerings, workspace, breakfast and dining areas, and a welcoming front desk area.
Listed below are some of the specific minimum requirements by Hilton for a complete shoot along with guestrooms and baths:
Lobby / Shared public space:
- Five total photos for common area (Eating, Working, Playing, and Lounging Zones). This includes the Front desk (with an associate behind), both sides of the “Eat and Sip” Market, and lobby photos – one of which is a wide-angle shot showing the lobby overall.
- Two shots for the “Top It” breakfast serving area, accenting the build your own breakfast features with 35+ sweet and savory toppings.
Other common areas not located within the large social space are:
- Fitness center – captured from two separate angles due to size and equipment placement.
- Pool – mostly located outside and are usually daytime photos, but in certain situations a dusk/evening photo may be the better choice.
- Outdoor patio – can be shot during the day or at dusk to capture the firepit and to provide a more dramatic feel.
- Hotel Bar – if applicable, most that we have photographed do not have this feature.
The key is to focus on each space to provide detail, while still creating a visual anchor which conveys where that space is in conjunction to the areas surrounding it.
PHOTOGRAPHING GUEST ROOMS
Hilton’s concept of the larger social spaces in the lobby area is counter-balanced by their guest rooms, which are designed to be efficient, ergonomic, and utilitarian. There is no carpeting, in-room coffee, or microwaves, but the tv is substantially larger with a 55” screen and 8ft. tall windows to allow plenty of natural light in most of the rooms we have seen.
Tru requires three images of each standard room type with one of each bath type, including a bath that is in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). There are no suites, nor a large variety of room sizes – the king and double queen guest rooms are accompanied by their accessible/ADA equivalents. The small bathrooms vary by property, but the most common layouts have showers, ADA tubs, and ADA roll-in showers.
- A King room measures 231 square feet
- A double queen room measures 275 square feet
- And ADA rooms are substantially larger, 375+ square feet
Compare this to Hampton Inn and Suites, another Hilton brand, and you’ll find the average room size closer to 350 square feet or more. This discrepancy creates a challenge for the photographer, capturing a space that is much smaller yet still so full of detail. It also demands we carefully utilize our lenses, relying on wide angles while preventing any distortion that might come with it. The details of the room (bed, large TV, closet, refrigerator, and multi-use desk space) must all be captured in one or two angles.
Tru’s architectural profile generally fits nicely into the camera’s frame. The rooflines tend to run long, with the average height of the building rising to three or four stories. The roof’s peak on the end of the structure allows for good signage to appear, boosting the visual opportunity to have the logo fill the frame in the final photo.
We provide our clients both a day and dusk exterior of the building, often shot with our drone to bring the angle to eye level with the median of the hotel. It’s important to arrange a partial closure of the parking spaces that will be seen in the composition, as Hilton works hard to keep all cars out of the final photos. Prior to our arrival for the photoshoot, we work with the staff to see that all landscaping is up to date and that the front concrete and asphalt are pressure washed. These small details help the exteriors to really shine.
The brand marketing team at Hilton has provided photographers with a detailed roadmap to implement a successful photoshoot. This guidance helps the photographers understand what is needed, and how these images must be captured in accordance with their brand strategy. Their vision and communication have been immensely helpful to take what is a unique, cutting-edge brand and tell a compelling visual story for each of these properties.
Tru’s footprint is only becoming larger in the industry’s landscape, and with hundreds more opening over the next few years, properly executed photoshoots will be mandatory in helping Tru by Hilton to tell its story.