A Virtual Tour Emergency

No…This is NOT Nancy. ;0

 I remember when I started my Nova Scotia virtual tour business http://www.supernovastudios.ca a year ago some of the naive misconceptions I had about the business.

First, I thought my phone would ring off the wall, with very little effort on my behalf. I was a FIRM believer in my product, had teamed up with RTV the leader in virtual tour software and was sure everyone would be scrambling to buy my virtual tours. Not so much. Nova Scotians are behind the times, real estate agents are not used to investing any money into their properties and didn’t recognize the value of interactive media. Over 90% of agents don’t even have their own websites!! YEIKES

It took a lot of hard work on my part by first; taking the social ignition course offered through the RTV Inner Circle Marketing, then rewriting the course for Canadians and finally offering classes to local Realtors. Bit by bit they were seeing the light.

My second largest misconception was that by purchasing an expensive DSLR camera (Canon Rebel EOS) I would magically become a professional photographer. Again… not so much. I read my manual – 3 times. I hired the local photographer to give me classes. I took online video tutorials, bought books from Chapters, but have never been happy with my photos. And, never relaxed while shooting the photos. One house I had to go back to 3 times. Another house the photos were all black and I had to lighten 200% in Photoshop. I had stitching error after stitching error and couldn’t wait until the day when I could outsource my photography.

One of my biggest accomplishments in the past year is the number one spot on Google for my keywords. Go ahead and search for Nova Scotia virtual tours. I started on page 7 and it took a year of blogging, keeping the content fresh on my site, paying attention to keyword density and MORE blogging to get there. Blood sweat and tears – but it’s a pretty powerful feeling to be able to control Google.

Last week I made my first 100% Search Engine sale because of that number one ranking on Google. Sotheby’s International out of Toronto called this small town Nova Scotia virtual tour provider http://www.supernovastudios.ca to shoot a tour an hour and 20 minutes from my office. I was ecstatic, proud, but nervous. They are a top notch professional company with amazing photos on their site.

And what a day I had. I organize the night before. Empty all photos off the camera, charge the battery, load the car, print out directions – everything is ready to go. So when I set up in their living room 10 minutes ahead of schedule, I was organized. Imagine my surprise though, when after 3 photos my camera died! That’s right! Deader than a nit! I broke out in a sweat, turned if off, turned it on, took out the battery, rubbed it – breathed on it, shook it – NOTHING! OMG!!!! Imagine my embarrassment to have to go to the home owner and tell them I can’t shoot their tour today.

Of course the first thing they asked me was, “Didn’t you bring a spare battery?????” “No” I said, “It’s not the battery, it had a full charge”. They were insistent the tour be shot that day, she had worked hard to clean the house, and I really wanted to accommodate her. So, back in the car I drive 45 mins to town to the ONLY camera shop in miles and buy a point and click!!! That’s right – this “professional” virtual tour photographer bought a point and click camera. (Nikon P7000) The photographer and store owner assured me he had never heard tell of a Canon Rebel just dying like that….

I had been speaking with Daniel McAllister (a fellow RTV provider and friend) about my photography woes just a week prior. He had sent me a link to one of his BEAUTIFUL virtual tours that he shot with a point and click. A seed had been planted and I had no idea just how quickly I would have the opportunity to make a decision that would be a complete game changer for me. As I was driving in to town, I knew…. there would not be another DSLR in my future.

Point and click in hand I leave for the 45 min drive back to the property and I realize – OMG my rotator is calibrated to the Canon? These pictures will NOT stitch. I put in an emergency call to RTV and had Jason, Torie AND Ben all working on my behalf. Ben dropped everything and talked me through calibrating the rotator on the spot. What was supposed to be a nice morning on the shore had become an all day affair.

With baited breath I downloaded the photos, opened them all in Photoshop and prepared to stitch. Praying, crossing my fingers, making promises to the Camera Gods. The photos looked good in Photoshop. I highlighted, removed shadows (by mid afternoon it was very overcast) but now it was the real test. Tour Builder…. And guess what? Yep – they didn’t stitch as perfectly as they do when properly calibrated.

I had held it together all day. Was so proud of the way I accommodated the vendors and maintained my professionalism. In fact we became friends, exchanged home phone numbers and are going to dinner together this weekend. But when the pictures didn’t stitch after a 9 hour day, this emotional girl was spilling tears on the keyboard. A quick glance at the clock and I realize RTV has gone home for the day. Plan B – my RTV family on Facebook!

I quickly write a status update (that only RTV providers can see) and ask for help. Daniel McAllister was immediately there offering for me to send my pictures and he would try to stitch. (Daniel – I have mad love for you baby, you rock my world. xo) As I’m sending the photos to Daniel I’m looking at them, they look odd to me. Aren’t they supposed to be on their side? I rotate them all in Photoshop and re-stitch, this time they stitch PERFECT! Duhhhh….

Check it out – http://rtvpix.com/RE-2536-JS8EB8-01  Not bad for the first time with my new camera and a calibrated rotator on the fly. But I couldn’t have done it by myself. Without the team at RTV headquarters, Daniel and the other RTV providers who were quick to come to my rescue on Facebook.

So, I guess my largest misconception about my virtual tour business was that I was in it alone. I’ve NEVER been alone at RTV from day one. I belong to a team. A family. That stop what they’re doing to be there for me. A team I can count on.

My little point and click is a game changer for the camera-phobic Nova Scotia virtual tour provider. The best in it’s class it offers amazing resolution, HD video, and all you have to do is POINT AND CLICK! hahahaha No more stitching errors, no more re-shoots, no more black photos. I’m lovin’ my point and click and I love RTV. Thanks guys! xo

To book your Nova Scotia virtual tour call 1-877-745-TOUR or visit our website at http://www.supernovastudios.ca

Have Facebook questions? Ask me on my fan page http://www.facebook.com/NovaScotiaVirtualTours