New in Town

Hello from the newbie folks, this is my first virtual tour blog as a tour provider with RTV.

I started my Port Moody virtual tour company this fall and I’m honored  to do real estate photography, Virtual Tours  in Vancouver, BC.  This was quite a journey from the beginning, when the idea of combining my passion to photography and background in IT started transforming to a new business. Luckily for me, in RTV – provider of a killer all encompassing virtual tour company start up package, hosting and virtual tour software I found people who think the same way as I am and have already developed the product that works. And most importantly, they offered what I was missing – tools and techniques how to sell it. Their recorded RTV webinars are priceless and I did not see anything like this on other virtual tour provider websites. In return I would like to  share some of my own mistakes and “tips and tricks” that I learned in the past as a photographer and in recent past as RTV provider.  I hope my blog could be useful to people who just started in this field or looking into this opportunity and have a lot of questions.
  
 So below some bits and pieces of what I’ve learned so far:

Virtual Tour Hardware -there is a HUGE difference in results of your work depending on type of lens that you use. Particularly when you are shooting for realtors, they need to show properties wide and open- something that you can’t do with regular lenses and they will hire you in many cases only because you can make even small and dark apartment look presentable on pictures. If you don’t have the camera yet and need to choose one, choose the combination that is already tested by RTV engineers and they have a lens file for your camera/ lens. This will significantly speed up the set up process in RTV.
       
Workflow – Always use laptop to check your pics after the shooting. I had an accident  when  I turned the autofocus off for one shot and forgot to switch it on afterwards, as a result all the  following pics were out of focus. It took me hours to fix this tour in photoshop. When you shoot with wide lens, always check a viewfinder and find a position where your walls are straight, and parallel. Don’t use auto ISO settings, the camera may increase ISO to compensate for low light and you will get a noisy image. The most common choice – 200-400 for indoor and 100 outdoor.

Tough lightning- Shooting with aperture priority and flash disabled will give you an excellent results in room with even light, but will not work if you have bright background. For example, windows open on a sunny day.  To resolve overexposed windows situation, try to use external flash or HDR photography.  When you shoot HDR, make sure you set your EV points so you capture all spectrum of light, for example your darkest photo should not cut any of your shadows and brightest photo should preserve all highlights, use histogram on your camera to check it. There is a lot of excellent books available that can help you in the beginning, my favorites are “How to take photos that move houses” by Ed Wolkis and “Practical HDR” by David Nightingale.

And the most important what I’ve learned, -add a little art to your work, don’t make your pics dry and dull like a court evidence. Have fun!

Here is a recent virtual tour that I shot: http://rtvpix.com/RE-5061-EWTJGD-01

Alex Novikov
West TechnolinkVancouver Virtual Tours
http://virtually360.com
Order a virtual tour: (877) 577-8687