Unknown to most of my colleagues at The Lind, my career did not start as a Marketing and Communications Professional, but as a supplier. I was originally hired by the resort to revamp their branding, and to design their hotel and event collateral. Research became sketches, sketches turned into graphics, and finally developed into actual materials. From naming a restaurant to choosing colors and fonts, it was nice to see my ideas come alive. I will be forever grateful for the trust and creative freedom they’ve given me.
Designing with freedom is a bit tricky though. You have to remain focused in creating art with purpose rather than just art for art’s sake. You have to make sure that the design can take different forms while being able to resonate with the brand’s target market.
You can check my other designs for The Lind here.
How’s your week so far? Well, since Wednesdays are meant for Wayback Wednesdays, let’s recall the gorgeous wedding of Rolph Mariano and Stephanie Santos-Mariano.
I was lucky enough to be part of this celebration as a friend and as a designer. With the encouragement of my "fairy godsister", Angel, the couple asked me to design them a simple yet classy invitation. They wanted a black and white, text heavy layout. We matched the set with an almond-colored envelope with a rose quartz inlay, then sealed it with their rose quartz emblem. I’m just glad that the families were happy in the end.
Congratulations again, Rolph and Tipin! May your days be filled with love and laughter!
While photo shoots are exciting, especially when you see the products of your hard work, managing your first hotel shoot can be a little nerve-racking. But don’t worry, your resourcefulness will get you through the endeavor. Here are 7 things you need to remember in managing a successful hotel shoot.
1. It is a necessity.
First, recognize the fact that you need a Hotel Shoot. There’s a ton of stock photos to choose from, but nothing compares to having your own pool of images. In some cases, you may purchase or download a photo based on a certain promotion. The photo then becomes tied to that single purpose, after the grueling effort of finding the closest thing to the actualities.
Moreover, when you do your own shoot, you get to stretch creativity, test your management skills, meet and collaborate with other talented individuals, and present your spaces or offers in the manner that actually fits your style.
Allocate budget for the shoot. After recognizing the fact that you need it, you should be prepared to allocate a chunk of your marketing budget for the said effort. It may cost you a lot once you execute it, but it will save you money, time and effort in the future. Remember that in doing a shoot, the collective effort of talents will be used, and believe me when I tell you that it costs more than what you would normally assume.
Approximately you would need the help of the following, especially when you’re doing the first official shoot of the property:
a. Photographer – Remember that photographers also have their fortes. Do your research, check their portfolios and talk to them. For base shoots, choose someone who has a keen eye for details like a fold on the bed sheet or a finger print on your glassware. Checking their portfolio will give you a preview of their style and editing skills. See if the photographer’s artistry fits the mood of your property.
b. Photographer’s Assistant(s) – Professional photographers will usually bring their editor(s) to discuss outputs play-by-play, and an actual assistant to manage lighting systems and coordinate during setups. Although smaller scale shoots like a new campaign for a restaurant may not require an assistant, hotel facilities are more complex and will need additional manning.
c. Stylist for the spaces - This could be you, but in case it’s your first time to manage a shoot, it wouldn’t hurt to add another expert on the field.
d. Model Manager / Coordinator - This would depend on the agency you’re working with. If you’re shooting a resort, an agency would normally ask someone to fly with their talents if they don’t personally know you or if your property is homegrown, as compared to an international chain.
e. Models - The number of models will also depend on your concept, purpose and spaces. Most cases, you will only require 1 male and 1 female model. Remember that you can also ask your colleagues to act different roles, but not all the time.
As a rule of thumb, it’s better to hire a professional model with a fee than a good looking person without an experience. Professional models understand angles, emotions, and lighting systems, allowing them to deliver what is needed in one or two takes compared to a good looking friend who will hit-and-miss.
f. Hairstylist - For lifestyle shoots, your hairstylist must be prepared to comb, clip, and spray repeatedly. Models may be asked to stay active (dive into a pool, do an actual workout, etc.) to get the required shot, depending on the layout, setup, spaces and other external factors.
g. Makeup Artist – Don’t go overboard with the kind of makeup that you want the models to wear. Remember that you’re trying to imply actual hotel experience in your photo. Similar to the hairstylists, retouch and concealing impertinent details are done frequently. Although photos have become more “casual” and natural-looking, you can always enhance a canvas with a little touch of paint.
h. Wardrobe Stylist (and assistant) - Depending on how extensive your shoot is, wardrobe requirements range from one rack to two or three or four; uniforms included, unless you plan to shoot beautiful views and facilities without people to experience them and colleagues to deliver signature service.
As mentioned, colleagues can act roles different from their actual jobs. A Sales Executive can dress as your Guest Services Manager, depending on the look that you want your property to evoke. Although I’m pretty sure that every department involved in your layouts has someone who can deliver a genuine warm smile in front of the camera.
Stylists should be briefed with the other members of the crew, especially with your photographer. Discuss details with your stylist at least two weeks before the start of the shoot, then check everything a week before the starting date.
A certain garment (e.g. wedding gowns, swimwear, etc.) may look good on its own, but it may not work with a certain layout. Remember that the focus should always be your property or the product and service for that matter.
Although stylists bring extra clothing, always ask them to prepare one or two more per layout. One cannot be always lucky to have a perfect match just across the street.
i. Florist – The allocation for plants and flowers will depend on the number of spaces you want to shoot. It is advisable to coordinate with your in-house gardener to lower your cost. Occasionally, leaves can actually suffice.
Not so sensitive plants should be stored in the hotel before the starting day of the shoot, especially if you’re doing a resort. Otherwise, setup should start hours (and I mean hours) and end an hour before the schedule. Storage should be air conditioned or well ventilated at the very least, as high temperature will hasten the aging process of plants.
Some florists may go over than what is needed, as they would love to highlight the kinds of plants that they have in stock or can order. Just be present when they’re setting up. Be involved and learn how to edit. The concept of less is more will sometimes apply.
As for the accessories, check your inventory. What you already have in the hotel or purchased for some other purpose can potentially lower your rent.
Although they are creative individuals, it’s better to discuss pegs so both parties can be on the same page.
In addition to the talented individuals that you need to hire, you may also need to allocate budget for items not found in the property like accessories, card boards, etc.. Do ask the assistance of the Purchasing Department, as they may have a wider pool of suppliers.
In creating your budget, include room allocations, meals, other hotel services like spa treatments, and modes of transportation. Working closely with your Director of Revenue or Revenue Manager is important.
Before we go to our holiday celebrations, I look back at 2014, when I made some big decisions in my life, and be thankful. The ride wasn’t the easiest, but it was surely fun. I guess I can now agree with two sayings: one is “we only live once” and the other is “the thing that we fear the most, brings us the greatest experience.” I am grateful to everyone who became part of my life not only during my wins, but more importantly during my battles. Thank you for staying and believing. I am more than blessed to have you. I thank the Lord for all the people I was able to meet, for places I was able to see, for family ties and friendship, for opportunities and challenges that we were able to withstand, and for providing us strength and guidance. The love I received instilled lessons, much needed hope and inspiration in me.
As this new chapter unfolds, I wish that we always find time for ourselves and for one another. A time to listen, to explore, to learn, to appreciate, to be grateful, to understand, to love, to hug, to kiss, to be passionate, to smile, to laugh, to heal, to breathe, and to give back. I wish that we have more genuine connections and experiences beyond the convenience of technology.
I can’t wait to create a meaningful journey with you this 2015. May we find success and happiness in each other, as we continue to grow in love.
Happy New Year!
Dana, a good friend of mine, tagged me on this 5-day Black and White Photo Challenge.
After accepting, I tagged our friend, Gab, who also said yes. This post will compile the photos from the said activity.
Day 1 of 5
Photo taken at the Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus last November 2, Sunday
Sometimes, I think that this place was built for the living than for the dead.
I miss you, grandpa. I know you're happier now.
Day 2 of 5
Photo taken at our home last October 2010
A photography plate expressing that Christmas is all about hope.
Day 3 of 5
Photo taken at the Ocean Park in Hong Kong last June 2014
Since I'm already halfway done with the challenge, isn't it nice to break a leg?
My literal take on the challenge.
Day 4 of 5
Photo taken at Disneyland Hong Kong last June 2014
The place is so magical, you just wish you could keep coming back.
Day 5 of 5
Photo taken at the University of Santo Tomas, 2006
For my last entry, I'm paying tribute to my dream school, where my first digital photo was taken.
How did you celebrate Halloween? My godchild went trick-or-treating at our place, dressed as a sailor girl.
She really enjoyed her first Halloween, though she couldn't eat most of the treats. I heard our neighbours even enjoyed her impromptu dancing and candid posing for the camera.
If I went to a party this year, I would've dressed as Jack Skelington (for obvious reasons).
Anyway, I thought of painting something for the occasion. So here's my work-in-progress. :)
As I was browsing the Internet, primarily watching Anna Wintour interviews, I stumbled upon an American documentary entitled “The September Issue”. It is a 2009 film that revolves on the production of Vogue’s, fashion world's bible, September 2007 issue or the so-called “January” of the industry. It goes deep into the drama, creative process and the players like Anna (Vogue US Editor-in-Chief), Grace Coddington (former model turned Creative Director), André Leon Talley (Editor at Large), Thakoon Panichgul (designer) and others.
The 10 things that we can learn from watching the movie:
1. Anna means serious business. She’s just doing her job.
2. The leader must have a clear vision where the team is going, and firm in making his / her team see it through.
3. A good leader knows the strengths of his / her team members and brings out the best in them, even if it means being tough with them.
4. Your boss answers to his / her boss. Help him / her help you.
5. Everyone must be passionate in what they do. Give it your all or don’t do it at all.
6. Fight for what you know is right. Sometimes, you have to trust your gut.
7. Artists don’t always get what they want. Products must meet the needs and exceed the expectations of clients; the validations of the craftsmanship that have been exerted.
8. An artist’s best will only last until his / her next creation. Learn to let go.
9. There is greatness in young blood.
10. Fashion, just like any other industry, needs to look for lessons from the past, but must always move forward.
By Proclamation No. 798, the Philippine Government has declared October as Museum and Galleries month. With this in mind, and all these new exhibits happening, our group has decided to quench our thirst for culture.
ManilART, now in their 6th year celebration, is an annual event organised by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), with their partners and sponsors, that promotes the best of Philippine creative artistry. It is an opportunity given to galleries and their artists to showcase world-class talent not only for their stakeholders but for the community at large.
Hi, everyone! Sorry I haven't been posting here because I was busy with weddings and some personal matters. Anyway, I'm opening a new page on this site that will focus on my poems and other literature. This will enable me to write about other stuff on this section, without overwhelming you with what I usually do on my spare time. I'll try to retrieve some old works and transfer them here as long as I feel their relevance. Some pieces don't really pertain to my life. Sometimes I write things after having a conversation with a friend. I hope you enjoy reading them.
Stay inspired and have a great day!
Yesterday, July 31, 2014, was the last day of Sinfully by Makati Shangri-La at Greenbelt 5. Although all their products are still available in the hotel, that place where friendships were formed and creativity was exerted is to be missed.
When I started working in the hotel industry, Ysa, one of my first friends came from that place. She was also the first reason why I was attached to the store. I remember staying there after work as she would do the same for me whenever I will be working late. I considered the shop a second office as everyone was very easy to get along with. It was also nice to learn about products and how their system works. The best part in that outlet was that the team, no matter the change in roster, didn't rely on titles. The teamwork was evident and the understanding for individual needs was vast. Difficulties didn't even matter compared to the lessons learned and challenges that were conquered. Everyone made sure that the group would laugh and smile at the end of the day. Sinfully then became a home and the team a family you can rely on. I guess for the same reasons that I fell in love with the place and got the hang of considering myself a part of that circle. Promotions and last minute requests from our dear guests even became platforms for us to strengthen bonds and hone skills. We could really say that trials make the difference.
But business is business. We must always seek for better opportunities to ponder on and grow. However sad we get because of the longing, we have to remember that letting go of something good opens us to something better. As we start on new roads to pursue, I'm sure the connections will stay the same. The best of luck to the talented individuals that made work fun.
Stay inspired and have a happy weekend. Later days!
Niguel is an experienced creative and marketing professional pursuing his dreams while growing with infinite possibilities.