Story by Lehia Apana | Photo by Ryan Siphers
Scott Miles, a.k.a. Smiles
TITLE: Photo Ambassador, Four Seasons Resort Maui
SURPRISING DEVELOPMENT:Scott Miles knew exactly what his dream job looked like. Just one problem: The position didn’t exist.
During his first shift as a security officer at Four Seasons Resort Maui in 2010, he noticed hotel guests gathering near the beach at sunset and taking photos of each other. “So I offered to take their picture. I was hooked and I could tell that the guests were, too.”
Miles continued to capture guest photos during spare moments from his security duties. Guests loved it, praising the service via handwritten letters and online reviews. The feedback eventually sparked his idea to propose an official position. The Four Seasons agreed, and in 2012, Miles became the hotel chain’s first-ever “photo ambassador.”
LOOK WHO’S TALKING: To measure his impact, Miles routinely checks social media and travel websites to see what guests are saying. Since 2012, he has collected more than 300 comments praising the service.
One note came from a mom fighting cancer; she had visited with her husband and young daughter. “We have so many fantastic family pictures because of you. . . . I now know, too well, that life is short, and having these pictures brings me so much comfort and peace.”
CLOSE-UP AND PERSONAL: Besides spontaneous photo ops, Miles also conducts complimentary photo shoots on hotel property.
A self-taught photo enthusiast, he knows perfect moments don’t wait. Miles is busiest around sunset, but he’s agreed to meet guests for sunrise shots, or return to work at 10:30 p.m. for corporate visitors wanting a post-event group photo. You might even spot him wading knee-deep in the ocean or pancaking himself on the floor to get the perfect angle.
“I’ve used some pretty unusual stances to get the right shot,” he laughs.
THE ANTI PAPARAZZI: With true Four Seasons discretion, Miles won’t reveal the names of celebrity guests he’s taken photos for, but says that they seem to have “an extra appreciation” for the service.
“Since I use the guest’s camera, they don’t have to worry about what might happen with the pictures.”