Using Visual Tour® to Create Virtual Tours – Made for REALTORS®

As a photographer I have been using Visual Tour® to create virtual tours for my clients. This program was developed for REALTORS® who do their own photography. It is easy to use and the results can be quite wonderful.

You can have as many as 50 images within the tour. You can do a combination of still shots and panoramics – all of which can move, if you so chose.

Visual Tour® requires that you use a digital camera. It’s best if you shoot with the highest resolution possible. When I started my business 5 years ago, I just had a high quality point and shoot camera. I have since moved up to an Olympus SLR (single lens reflex) which allows me to shot very high quality images. As I have moved up with the quality of my equipment Visual Tour® has been upgrading their viewers and I think it’s one of the best interfaces for viewing tours on the web.

I generally do panoramic shots that are more of a 180° shot instead of the 360° shots that many of the tour companies do because I find that the room is not as visually distorted when viewing. In doing those pan shots I have trained myself to shot with the camera vertically by hand instead of horizontally on a tripod. I always shot each panoramic twice, just in case some of the walls, counters, etc. don’t quite line up when the images are stitched together.

Here is a recent tour for you to check out:

I will plan on talking about some tips and tricks I have learned doing virtual tours using Visual Tour® in this blog in the future. If you have particular questions or comments. Please comment above.

Photo Tips – Realtor.com Has a Cool New App for the iPhone

There is now a really cool application for the iPhone from Realtor.com. It’s free for everyone.

You can keep track easily of the homes for sale in your neighborhood. Or if you are driving around and you really like a particular neighborhood the gps in your phone will help to locate all the houses for sale by REALTORS® in that area.

The results will let you know how many photos are there to view on each home.

F.Y.I – – – Here is something most people don’t know. If the REALTOR® has an enhanced listing with Realtor.com, known as a showcase listing – that REALTOR® can put up to 25 images into the listing on realtor.com. If they don’t have that enhanced listing, only 4 photos (even if the REALTOR® puts the maximum number of photos  into their local mls) will show up on Realtor.com.

You can refine the searchs, if you are looking for particular criteria on a home – Price, size, number of bedrooms, etc. You can also save your searches.

So, right there on the spot you can view photos of the home. This can come in really handy if there are no flyers out front.

The features of the home are listed as well as the listing agent’s contact information.

You can also see where the homes are located on the map.

I have only been playing with this application for a week, so have not fully discovered all aspects of the application. But, from what I have learned – it’s not only a cool app, but could really come in handy.

So, this is just another good reason, if you are a REALTOR® to have the best photos possible on the internet.

You can find the application either on the front page of Realtor.com or from the iTunes Apps Store – search for “Realtor.com”

Photo Tip – What a difference changing the carpet makes.

I think it is a great idea that once a homeowner has made changes after the home has been photographed and listed that you go back to take pictures of those changes. It’s also a good idea to refresh the listing after changing out the pictures.

I just reshot a house this week. What a difference the new brown carpet makes on this home.

 

 

Continue reading

Photo Tip – Take Those Magnets and Pictures Off the Fridge

Lots of clutter in a room can distract the viewer of your real estate pictures. One place that seems to get very cluttered in many homes – which we seem to miss – is the front and side of the refrigerator.  I recommend taking the time to remove anything on the fridge that will be in your pictures. Look at the difference.

with refrigerator magnets  without refrigerator magnets

558085b This photo was on the mls…what a beautiful kitchen other than that very clutter fridge.

 I also almost always remove the paper towel holder and the soap dispensers that are on the kitchen counter. Those items are fine when showing the home, but can sometimes really clutter the photograph.

Photo Tip – Lightening Shadows and Darkening Highlights Can Improve a Photo

When you are out photographing a home usually one side of the home has more sunlight on it than does another side. We try to take the front photos when the sun is on them, but sometimes it doesn’t work out. Here in Colorado the clouds tend to move in sometime in the afternoon. So, I usually schedule to photograph in the mornings.

You can easily use Photoshop Elements (I currently use version 7) to lighten the shadow areas and darken some of the highlight areas. Which helps me go from this:

needs to be lightened 3 to this: mls front 3

Continue reading

Photo Tip – What’s in a Lens?

I find that it is important to have a good quality lens for shooting real estate photography. The number of mega pixels is not as important when doing photos for the web (including virtual tours). More mega pixels are only important if you are going to be doing large photographic prints.

That said, I want show you what different lens do for a still shot. I am going to show you a sample of the same shot, from the same location in a room with three different lens.

This first shot is using a good quality point and shot camera at the widest setting:

kitchen with point and shoot

Continue reading

Photo Tip – Photographing the Front of a Home

Monday I had a 2 hour window of opportunity to do a photoshoot and while doing it I was thinking about the front door shot of a home.

The front door is the entry to the home so, when photographing the front of the home do include the front door. Try to diminish the presence of the garage door, if at all possible. Just a slight adjustment in location can make a much better front photo.

front From this straight on view to…

mls front This view not only gives a bit more dimension to the photo, it does make the garage door less important and the front door more important.

Should you need a professional to photograph your properties check out my website www.grapeimaging.com