Michelle Chaplow is a luxury hotel photographer who has spent the last two decades photographing a huge variety of travel destinations, and some of the world’s finest luxury and historic hotels. In 2010 she founded Hotel Essence Photography, whose mission is to capture the spirit, the very essence of a property.
Michelle has photographed everything from exteriors of UNESCO-recognised buildings to Michelin-star restaurant kitchens. Born and educated in Britain, she attended Manchester University, and relocated to Spain in 1992.
Michelle’s photographs have been published by such prestigious institutions and publications as the Library of Congress, The Telegraph, The Times, and Conde Nast Traveller. While undertaking photography assignments around the world, she averaged 100-150 hotel nights per year, in more than 60 countries. Hotel Essence Photography has been commissioned and published by highly prestigious hotel groups such as Mandarin Oriental, Paradores de España, Kempinski, Oberoi, The Most Famous Hotels in the World® and numerous independently-owned hotels.
She has won a number of awards for her architectural photography, and has also been recognised by the Spanish Ministry of Commerce for promoting Spain. As a keynote speaker, Michelle has delivered speeches on the Importance of Photography for Luxury Hotels at a number of events, including TEDx Marbella, and the annual conferences of both Historic Hotels of America, and the Preferred Hotel Group.
Michelle prefers to work with natural lighting for her photography. She has perfected several innovative cutting-edge photography and lighting techniques for capturing signature hotel shots. Michelle loves the finer things in life, including traveling on assignment to exotic locations and artisan chocolates.
Professional hotel photographer Michelle Chaplow and her crew specialise in photographing luxury hotel properties and resorts worldwide. We cover architectural photography, exteriors, interiors, environmental portraits of hotel staff, local experiences and excursions, geo-identifiers (the small things that remind guests exactly where they are in the world). With lighting specialists, art directors, stylists, digital editors and journalists, to achieve exactly the right look, feel and message about a property, the Essence team offers a unique service carrying out luxury hotel photography commissions around the globe.
As a hotel photographer, Michelle Chaplow travels on assignments all around the globe with her crew to photograph some of the world’s most beautiful hotels.
She has been fortunate enough to photograph everything from brand new multi-million-dollar projects to heritage hotels, full of character, founded in a bygone age and yet still highly valued in today’s world. “I have a very special place in my heart for historic hotels”, says Michelle. History is created with the passage of time, it´s intangible, unlike luxury, it is something that money can´t buy.
One element of hotel photography which is very important, but is too often missed, is the hotel’s location. An essential part of photographing any establishment is to bring out the best not only in the hotel itself, but also focusing on, and documenting photographically, its location – the guest’s destination.
Professional photographer, Director and Founder of Hotel Essence photography
Michelle has 20 years experience in the field of luxury hotel and travel photography. She is passionate about all aspects of photography and especially the Hotel Essence project.
Joaquin has more than 15 years experience in working alongside Michelle on various locations around the world and in her studio. He loves working with models, is passionate about architecture and enjoys travel. A great team player. Joaquin studied Fine Art and Photography at Seville University.
Dennie’s impressive portfolio includes ten years in fashion advertising and television contributing to markets in Miami, Sydney, Paris and London. Her Editorial credits include Vogue, Details, The Face, Elle, Harpers and Queen, Vanity Fair and Marie Claire. Dennie was a design artist and consultant to Trucco cosmetics and Rimmel London. Her most recent celebrity clients have been Mr Tony Blair, Jamie Oliver and Miss Dita Von Tesse.
Cheryl has worked for many international clients – including the British Government, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Centre for Development of Enterprise. Cheryl is a perfectionist and her eye for detail and constant creative energy bring a unique look to every project she is involved with. From Art direction, production, co-ordination of props to storyboard creator, Cheryl carefully guards and enhances the clients image.
In her work as an art director Cheryl has had plenty of experience when it comes to digital work flow from camera ready images – downloading, key wording and cataloging to print – and also organising the photo shoot schedules. Cheryl and Michelle have collaborated for over 15 years on photographic projects.
This portfolio section offers real examples of images that have worked for specific hotel establishments and resorts. In a hotel´s image portfolio, every feature and aspect should be included: architectural shots, guest rooms, communal spaces, sunsets, sunrises, daylight shots, food photography, experiences, gardens and grounds, night shots, not to mention the details that capture exactly what is so special about the property – the hotel, spa, grounds, setting – and why a particular hotel offers an experience like no other. Please browse this portfolio section – here you will find not only images, but accompanying text, providing background information about each image and how it was shot.
In the hospitality industry of today, where Social Media means that more visuals of your property are seen on more devices by more people across more media platforms than ever before, images that simply depict a hotel’s amenities and architecture are not enough. The connected global traveller wants more – images that portray the intrinsic qualities of a hotel, showing what it actually feels like to be a guest.
"We loved the photos that Michelle and Hotel Essence produced. Her attention to detail and lighting created an exquisite image that takes the viewer beyond a picture of a bed and into a vacation state-of-mind. They are the perfect pieces to help us tell our story in our collateral and online endeavors. We wish we had more."
"Dear Michelle. It was such a pleasure working with you at the Alvear Palace Hotel. I really enjoyed our very long shooting days. Your professionalism and cheerful attitude gave us a great result. We are very happy with your work and our Marketing team and our guests, just love your pictures!"
Dear Michelle, I am speechless - this picture of Rajvillas is amazing, magical and even this does not fully describe how incredible it is. Thank you so, so....much.
Thank you very much, Michelle for the beautiful pictures you took of our hotel facilities and even more importantly thank you for the wonderful shots of our colleagues in their work environment. I think you are tremendously talented. We all love the shots.
We will help you create your story board. We have years of experience in obtaining good results to suit your hotel marketing budget.
We know that creating a shot list can be very difficult for a hotel team, we will listen you your requests and guide you through it.
Our team are well aware of time constraints for various areas of the hotel and the shoot will be as unobtrusive as possible.
We take the highest care of your images and have an expert post production team, who will calibrate for web, magazines and ad campaigns. Only the highest quality will do, so that your hotel, will stand out from the rest.
Have a Hotel Photography project in Mind? We would be happy to hear from you. michelle ‘at’ hotelphotographer.com