Brad and I have been professional digital photographers for many years and use only professional Canon Equipment, Lighting, and Editing Software. We pride ourselves on our relationship with our agents, vendors and clients. This was an incredible trip to Southern California and should serve as a model to other RTV virtual tour providers who are willing to push themselves a little out of the box.
We had a party scheduled in Santa Barbara, Ca on Saturday night we really wanted to go to but wanted to optimize the trip with business as well. It started with a seven hour drive to Santa Barbara from Scottsdale on Friday. Saturday morning when we woke up, we had scheduled an exterior virtual tour photo shoot of a custom home built on Oxnard Beach. The weather cooperated fully and just as we needed to shoot, the clouds, the sky and the sun came together to provide a magnificent combination of elements to enhance our picture (which we shot in HDR). From there we went to the marina and shot some 360 virtual tours to make samples for our website. Then back to the hotel for a nap and to get ready for the party in Montecito.
We are shameless, we met a couple of real estate agents at the party and gave a pitch on RTV’s new virtual staging product. I had my blackberry with me so I was able to pull up Jason’s samples from his newsletter to show them. By the way – a great time to show our Scottsdale Mobile Text Marketing sample site, and don’t think this didn’t make an impression on them as well. Party, Party, Party and back to the hotel.
Sunday morning was mentoring time. We hooked up with a retired TV/Movie Producer/Director who mentored us on light and video. The afternoon was spent with relatives looking at kyacks for a future trip to California.
Monday morning we were exhausted and needed to rest up because……
WE HAD OUR FIRST TOUR TRACK job from RTV. By letting RTV know we were going to be in Southern California we were able to get a Tour Track scheduled and bring in additional income to cover the trip. Boy are we green for professional photographers. We figured 5 hours was fine for a shoot, but….did you know that two different sets of dusk and twilight shots cannot be shot at the same time if they are a 20 minute walk apart from each other. Did you know that when shooting a Model home that is suppose to be furnished, that furniture may not be provided (great opportunity for virtual staging by the way). Did you know that an occupied unit in no way shape or form can conform to the rules of Tour Track without weeks of cleaning, straightening, boarding the pets and moving personal belongings. Also, can anyone define: get a neighborhood shot of Sprinter. Anyway, we did our best, we were scheduled for 30 shots and ended up taking about 60, so I am sure the client will be happy.
But, the most important lesson is this. We took all the Formula, Image and Tour Track advice. In no way, shape or form can an apartment complex be adequately shot in less than 6 hours and meet the standards. Lesson to you fellow providers: whether it is a high paying tour track or the lowest paying, be sure to scout out the property first. Even if you have to take neighborhood outdoor shots the day before and mark on a map your outdoor shots of the complex or hotel, spend the extra time – you will need it to properly light the caves that show up as apartments, to creatively carve out shots without parking lots or cars or people and to meet all of the shot requirements on the list.
Good luck on your Tour Tracks – they are a great source of income, and can be fun to shoot as there is very little post if you do it correctly and definitely no setup, juicing or boosting required. Above all Tour Track is a way that Mother RTV gives back to its’ loyal virtual tour providers. Even $175 for the complex and the 5 hours time to shoot more than makes up for the time to do post and/or set up all of the things you promise to clients.
P.S. Jacque Burque and her crew are great to work with.