Just Because You Can…

We remodeled a house last year and learned a valuable lesson. Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD.  For example, we painted our house, inside and out and in doing so, we realized that there are some things that are better left to a professional. Sure, we got the job done and it looked fine if you didn’t look too close but the time and effort it took to “save money” really wasn’t worth the end result.
One of the objections I sometimes hear from prospective customers is that they aren’t interested in paying our hospital photography company t to create their virtual tours because they can do it themselves. Just as we CAN paint our own homes and change our own oil and cut our own hair, it’s absolutely true that you CAN do it yourself.  The question is…should you?
Justin Roberts  is a virtual tour provider who uses the same virtual tour software that we use for our virtual tour company.  Justin recently photographed a real estate virtual tour of a home in his local area and took a look at the photographs that were on the MLS listing prior to shooting his tour.
Justin put together this slide show  (click on the link to view) to compare the images he shot for the virtual tour to those that the realtor shot. Now we would all hope that most realtors will do a better job than taking pictures of the kitchen with the cat in the sink but the point is that just because you can take pictures and create a slide show doesn’t mean that you don’t need a professional photographer to create your virtual tour.
There are many versions of an old story about a company who calls in a panic because the machine that runs their business has broken. The technician arrives, turns a few screws and the machine comes back to life. The technician hands over an invoice that read “Service Call – $5,000” at which point the business owner exclaims, “$5,000?!? All you did was turn a few screws!” The technician took back the invoice and made some changes. When he handed it back to the business owner, the invoice read “Service Call and turning a few screws — $50. Knowing which Screws to Turn — $4,950.”
We charge anywhere between $150 and $2,500 for our virtual tours. $50 of that is for the tour…the rest is for knowing which screws to turn. My husband Ben the photographer for our North Georgia virtual tour business and he knows which screws to turn to make our tours look amazing. He has been a professional photographer for over 12 years…he makes what he does look easy. Ben has shot hundreds of tours and knows how to make his camera work for him. A 360 degree panorama is made up of 12 individual images and Ben adjust his camera settings and flash direction differently for every single shot of the panorama. He further refines his images using multiple photo editing programs. The result is a tour that showcases the property or business beautifully.
Given the same camera, tripod, flash and virtual tour software, I COULD shoot the pictures but my tours would not look anything like the ones Ben creates. I don’t know which buttons to use to adjust the settings.  I don’t know what to do to adjust them even if I somehow found the right button. I don’t know how to bounce the flash so that it doesn’t reflect in the mirror and pictures, half of the time, Ben has to ask me to move because I am reflected in the mirror and pictures. I don’t know how to color correct a picture so that the richness of the hues are maximized.  The time and effort it would take to for me to learn is time better spend doing what I do best which is marketing and selling.