As a Shenzhen photographer since 1997, I have been taking commercial photos for many Shenzhen five-star hotels for their advertising and marketing purpose. These hotels include: Shenzhen Kempinski hotel, Intercontinental hotel, Futian Shangri-La hotel, Ritz-Carlton hotel, Crown Plaza Hotel & Suites Landmark Shenzhen, Four Points by Sheraton hotel, Interlaken hotel, Venice Crown Plaza hotel etc. How did I start to shoot for these top-class luxury hotels, and how can I gain the confidence from their management teams consisting of expatriates?
To win the first hotel client and thus enter the hotel photography field is completely luck. One of my friends was working in a 4A famous advertising agency. The hotel asked her to urgently recommend a professional Shenzhen photographer. When the hotel manager called her, I happened to sit beside my friend. Then easily I got the job. However, I was quite nervous when I first took pictures for a five-star hotel, because the hotel executives were all expatriates. My English was just so-so at that time, so sometimes it was difficult for me to fully understand their requirements and convey my opinions in return. Finally I did manage to finish my assignment successfully, but this first hotel photography mission made me realize that I need to make huge effort to improve my English language skill if I wanted to win more hotel customers. With my English level progressed, the smooth communication has facilitated my relationship with the hotel clients.
I still remember before the opening of Shenzhen Kempinski Hotel, I competed with some native foreign photographers for shooting the hotel facilities such as lobby, restaurants, bars and rooms. At first, the General Manager who came from UK did not have much confidence on me, so he chose another expatriate photographer instead. However, he was not happy with the photographer’s works afterwards. Finally I took the task as the GM’s 2nd choice. The GM liked my pictures very much, thus I succeeded in winning this hotel client from then on.
Similarly, at the opening of Shenzhen Intercontinental hotel, our photo studio was assigned to take most photos for the hotel, including hotel exterior photography, hotel night view photography, hotel room photography, hotel lobby photography, staff portrait photography, food photography, restaurant photography (French restaurant, Chinese restaurant, buffet restaurant). This is a huge assignment! I was a bit nervous when getting the job. Fortunately, the photo results and effects were rewarding. Their management team was all satisfied with our photos. As one of their managers from Taiwan put it: our boss was so strict that very few staff in the hotel can get his nodding. But how can you make him smile all day? Jason?
His remarks has encouraged me ever since. I know photography is not a profit-making industry, and there will be various difficulties and challenges in my future career, but as long as I faced them and tackled them bravely, I believe I can overcome them eventually.