Masterfully retouched photographs are commonly used in hospitality marketing. Shooting from the best angle, cropping out unsightly objects, erasing obstructions such as power lines, and splicing images are among the techniques photographers use to enhance images. Their aim, according to hospitality photographer Andrew Ptak, is to recreate the experience of being at the location. Oyster Hotel Reviews, a New York City-based travel Web site, is publishing a series of blog posts that compares marketing photos to reviewers' photos, pointing out "what hotels don't want you to see," according to the site. In more than one instance, a hotel's swimming pool or gym failed to impress. Some hotel photos are retouched, others are simply outdated. Oyster editor Jennifer Garfinkel says reviewers did not necessarily give the hotels negative evaluations, but wanted to point out some of the discrepancies between expectations and experiences. All reporters are trained in photography and use a single-lens reflex camera, according to Oyster's co-founder Elie Seidman, who adds that accurately portraying properties is a hallmark of the site. Not everyone agrees that Oyster's photos are more accurate: Ptak says, "Oyster is manipulating, too—they are just going to the other extreme."
Note: Photos and reviews were provided by Oyster Hotel Reviews. The captions were rewritten by Businessweek.com.