Life in the Mountains – A Virtual Tour Photographers Dream

I want to thank Ben Knorr for our virtual tour IMAGE Webinar this past Tues. evening, having a 2nd flash available on a shoot is really a valuable idea. I’ve been carrying a 2nd flash around for a while and I’ve had a few instances where I needed it. is shooting a lot of virtual tours in the resort rental cabins in the Great Smokey Mountains area, more exactly in Wears Valley right outside Pigeon Forge, all this just down the road from Knoxville, TN. It’s really great, I get to see some really beautiful mountain and valley views while shooting my virtual tours and also visit some awesome rental Log Cabins, values range from $100,000 to well over $1,000,000.

There’s all designs and different themes for these cabins, mostly these are homes away from homes and are rented to vacationers when the owners aren’t in the area. With our situation with the economy, a very many of these cabins are for sale, creating a pretty good situation for my Knoxville virtual tour company.

I recently shot a virtual tour of a cabin that was named “Me Tarzan You Jane”. Right in the very middle of this cabin was a good size tree! complete with branches and leaves, it did look very real. I always try to shoot cabins with a diffused flash, around f5.6 or so and a slow shutter speed – it helps bring out ambient light in the virtual tour. My biggest problem is white balance, the rooms already have a pretty warm glow, and unless I come in with several flashes and blow out the lights, this warm glow gets pretty intense. I put a #82 blue filter on it in photoshop, that helps a bit but that red is pretty hard to minimize and opening up a bit loses me depth of field.

Balancing the light coming in thru the windows while shooting your virtual tour is pretty easy unless it’s really bright outside, like direct sunlight on the windows, I find I get a happy balance averaging readings from the windows and the inside. I also try and stage a bit – Setting up the pool table to play, sometimes setting out dinner ware in the eating area, and such. I’m an “old Newspaper Photographer”, my clients like that I take lots of photos and on a virtual tour shoot.

Running a virtual tour company through RTV is such a great way to make a living, all I need now is more customers and I’m set for life!

I hope everybody has a very prosperous 2010.

Mike O’Neill
Knoxville Virtual Tours