Why does time of year matter for commercial photography?

Why does time of year matter for commercial photography?

Commercial Photography - Elvethem Hotel, Fleet, Hampshire

Time of year is crucial for marketing pictures

Whether your shooting inside or outside, the time of year is extremely significant for commercial photography. Here’s why…

Late last October I had a call from one of the more prestigious conference centres just outside Guildford. They needed new marketing images as their current set were several years old and looked a little tired (their words, not mine).

It’s a beautiful facility. Big, bright, airy rooms. Lots of natural light. Beautiful picture windows. Magnificent views.

BUT, there was a problem…

As we were rapidly approaching the middle of autumn, all the flowers were dead. The leaves on the trees hadn’t just turned, they were a brown mess on the beautiful lawns.

The grounds, magnificent in the summer months, are one of the selling points of the venue — I know, I’ve seen them and they’re absolutely stunning. This late in the year though, it’s a very different story. Despite a small army of ground staff doing their very best to tidy up, the lawns were always going to be covered in leaves and when they’ve all dropped the trees will look dead and lifeless.

Therein lies the problem. We can photograph the rooms to show them at their very best but even if the sky is a beautiful azure blue there is nothing that will bring the grounds to the height of their summer magnificence.

You can fix that in photoshop, can’t you?

Nope. Not without a good reference image to clone and a lot of work. Even if the client had the budget for that level of cosmetic retouching it wouldn’t be an accurate representation but rather an artist’s impression. They’d be far better off saving their money and using the reference image instead.

Even though we were just photographing the interior of the venue, not the exterior, the grounds were still very visible through the windows. They were about 2 months too late with their enquiry. We’d missed the summer and the height of autumnal colour.

In this instance I recommended postponing until the spring when the grounds had comeback to life once more.

The big lesson from this article is this. To show your venue off at it’s absolute best you need to photograph it when it’s at it’s absolute best. That’s usually late spring/early summer or late summer/early autumn. i.e. When the grounds are at their most vibrant. Mid summer is also good provided the grounds don’t look parched.

Time of year is crucial for marketing images

Time of year is crucial for marketing images

Ideally immediately after it’s been refurbished.

Once you have your main images in the bag, then we can consider the more seasonal variations to cover Easter, Christmas, Mother’s Day and St. Valentine’s day.

For larger venues we usually photograph them over several weeks or even months (such as the work we’ve been doing for the Petersham Group hotel chain). It’s far less intrusive to your guests that way too.


Commercial photography is far more than just turning up with a camera and snapping away. To make successful marketing images, designed to show your facility off to it’s best and bring more business in takes time and planning.

The time of year is crucial to the success of your project with the best ‘window’ being from late spring through to early autumn for your primary images.

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