Ashley Morrison's Blog

July 25, 2010

Oyster Photo Fakeouts

Are these “Fakeouts” misleading Hotel ads… or is it just good creative photography ?
The Huffington Post is currently doing a poll on this, to see what people think: Worst Photo Fakeouts.

Every hotel want’s to present itself in the best possible way – no different to every other business out there – and what you are seeing here is simply the difference between images that were created for advertising versus images that were taken for a news story.

We have a section on our website about this titled Test shots.
There are more than 100 different ways to shoot any subject… and that’s all we are seeing here, which is nothing new but can be fun to see.



  1. You are very welcome Andrew and thanks for posting.

    As I have just posted on a tread in LinkedIn – which is currently talking about these images:
    Both sets of images were clearly taken to tell a story.
    So depending on the words used alongside these images, both sets of images could be viewed as being very misleading.

    A lot of Hotels these days are using Facebook to help market themselves – where guess & fans can also post their own images – so it’s not hard to see other pictures of these place. Most of the images won’t look that good – but that still doesn’t take away from these Guess & Fans’ experiences or what they recall about the place when they post their pictures. They are just not very good pictures, that’s all… and most people understand that.

    An image created for an ad – as you say – is often trying to capture more than the Steak, Burger or Raw Meat – and that’s what we are seeing here. The photographers are simply trying to tell a different story.

    It’s like the ‘man on the moon’ pictures… where every photograph tells the perfect story – to perfection – which therefore leads us to believe it was true.

    Comment by Ashley Morrison Photography — July 27, 2010 @ 11:52 am | Reply

  2. Hello Ashley

    I’ve long been an admirer and follower of your work and it’s nice to have a subject where I can chip in to your Blog.

    Bloomberg Business Week in New York did a piece about Oyster a couple of months ago and I received my fifteen minutes of fame by being interviewed for the story. I defended the basic concept of retouching our work. In my case, I don’t shoot Editorial, so what I do is commercial advertising and it’s supposed to be biased for Pete’s sake! My feeling is that I am supposed to recreate the experience of what a hotel or resort is like for the visitor and not produce a literal view. As long as I do not mislead the viewer as to what to expect, I allow myself complete freedom to interprate as I see fit.

    The way that I see it is that it is my job to recreate what a visitor feels with all of their senses, in a two dimensional medium. I can’t recreate sound, smell, experience, so I embellish what I have to in order to project the ambience of being there. If that means adding light, removing distractions and increasing colour saturation, so be it.

    I think the real story here, and I mentioned it during my Business Week interview even though it didn’t make it into the final story, is that shots taken for commercial purposes are often re-purposed for editorial use by media too cheap to assign their own work. That is wrong in my mind. Editorial is supposed to be impartial and objective, while commercial work is supposed to be subjective and prejudiced toward my client. The media should look at their own business practices before criticizing. As for Oyster itself, well they’re just trying to make a dollar and whatever press they can get helps their business model. Their sanctimonious, holier than thou, is just part of their pitch.

    Good luck and keep up the great work.

    Comment by Andrew Ptak — July 26, 2010 @ 1:31 pm | Reply

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