For owners: Tips for best pictures of your escape room

The photos are the first thing that a customer sees while browsing World of Escapes. Before he reads the description/reviews or decides if the location is convenient for him – the pictures are able to make or break his decision to choose your escape room. The right photos can dramatically increase the conversion – the number of clicks on your escape room page and the leads to your booking schedule. Another factor that comes into play is that the majority of our visitors are first-timers and don’t really have a clear idea of what an escape room is. That’s why a well-chosen photo, combined with a relevant and enticing description, can make a client choose your room over others.

Here are four tips for choosing the right pictures based on our experience:

1. Opt for real, high-quality photos taken inside your escape room.

With the escape room market growing and evolving, the standard for decorations and presentation is getting higher, and taking pictures on your phone probably won’t cut it anymore. Invest in quality pictures that will build the client’s trust.

We’ve encountered the opinion that advertising your real decorations may ‘ruin the surprise’ or ‘kill the mystery’ for the players. We strongly disagree. Even a non-revealing photo of a tiny design detail connected to the room’s backstory will look much better than a stock image. A random image doesn’t have the ability to leave a lasting impression on the viewer – especially if the same picture is used by two or more companies or clearly doesn’t look authentic to your room.

Example – a ‘Cabin in the Woods’ room. We would choose a photo of authentic wooden walls in one of the rooms over a random picture of a cabin any day.

There is still room for keeping a secret – and we aren’t pro-spoilers and advise against showing any of the major puzzles. Highlighting the best features of your escape room, giving the client a sneak peek inside your most impressive location, creating bright and interesting photos that catch the eye – that’s the right way to go about any advertising picture.

Detailed pictures will hold the attention of the viewer longer, making him more and more inclined to choose your room.

2. Your photo must trigger an emotional response.

Marketing studies show that people tend to choose products based primarily on their emotions. The right escape room pictures have to do just that – trigger an emotional response, which will lead to more views and bookings. The easiest to target are fear, excitement, laughter, and wonder. The photos have to tell a story.

Lighting or retouching can help set the mood – use darker colors for scary/mystical rooms or, say, cold blue for a room about the North Pole.

If you have impressive set design, it may be enough to take a high-quality picture. If your escape room focuses on puzzles and decorations aren’t your strongest point, the best solution would be to include people in photos. They will distract attention from an ordinary-looking design.

The goal isn’t necessarily to advertise the product itself, but the emotion of a person playing your escape room, which is the ultimate thing that people seek from the entertainment industry.

3. Consider featuring people in your photos.

There are three ways to taking pictures with characters:

1) Feature regular players pretending (to avoid spoilers) to solve puzzles.
This will make it easier for the client to imagine themselves playing your escape room.
Have the characters reading books that aren’t relevant, looking around, actively searching, etc.

2) Feature players dressed in costume interacting with theme-specific props.
This captures the viewer’s attention, jump-starting their imagination and conveying the theme of your room through visual representation.
For example, characters wearing handcuffs and jump suites in a prison setting, wearing lab coats and holding chemical vials in a research facility, etc.

3) Feature actors who engage in a performance inside your escape room.
This is the best way to tell a story and pull in the viewer, triggering an emotional response and allowing them to become a part of the theme – like watching a good movie. You don’t necessarily have to use professional actors or models for the photoshoot – just find someone charismatic enough to convey genuine feelings.
Feature people engaging in an action relevant to your background story, expressing their emotions, interacting with each other. Examples – a victim hiding from a serial killer, inmates playing chess, agents pointing guns at each other).

4. Use your audience to choose the perfect picture.

After you’ve taken a few pictures, all that’s left is to choose the right shots. You can hold a pole on your Facebook page or ask your friends – the more, the better – which pictures do they like the most. These statistics will allow you to be more objective and client-oriented. The most popular shot should be your main photo for advertising purposes – on World of Escapes, or on your own website.

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