Blog Tag: tour track

Accepting Critical Reviews with Grace

In my years at RTV I have seen a lot of photos. I mean, A LOT of photos. Some are wonderful and amazing, some are ok, and occasionally there will be some that leave me feeling like I need to wash my eyes out with hot water.

For a long time I would take note of who the good photographers were and avoid the ones that submitted less than stellar images, and I left it at that. But then I heard Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture and changed the way I did things. It made me realize that the message I had been sending you when I didn’t give feedback was “I give up on you. I don’t think you can do it.” And that wasn’t true.

I was just afraid someone would get angry with me. I like to be liked. I like to be nice. But I also believe in you and think you can do better and want you to do better, so now I try to tell you when things don’t come out exactly how they should. Or I make Melissa tell you, lol. My hope is that I am doing you a favor and helping you grow, and I think for the most part people take it that way. But sometimes they don’t and there are angry emails and phone calls to me and about me and I have to deal with the ramifications. And that’s ok, I’m a big girl, I can deal with it.

But a month or so ago I gave some feedback to a photographer hoping that he could look into what was going wrong with his shoots and figure out how to fix it. His response was so appreciated that I asked if I could share it with you.


I wanted to Thank You for this feedback. I have been wanting this since the beginning. I have no idea what I could be doing to provide a better product without the opinion of someone else.

I had a feeling that we were going to have a problem with these last pictures. I noticed that I was having some problems with my lens about 4 months ago. My shots started having those halos and streaks through them. I have been trying to edit them out and it is just not working.

FYI, I have purchased an “L” series lens for my Canon 50d, as well as a portable, softbox, flash kit to help with the lighting in the darker areas of the hotels.

I also enrolled in a short photography class to help with these issues, if in fact, it is me and not just the lens that is doing this.

As for this last shoot, I will be happy to re-shoot this location when he calls me back out this Spring, as I do not like not providing what is expected from me.

Thanks for the information and please let me know when more information comes about the conference. I will need to know ASAP so I can schedule accordingly here with my work.


His gracious response shows that he truly understood that my feedback was meant to help him grow. He also went one step further and offered to fix any issues that we had with his initial shoot. And that speaks volumes to me. His desire to learn and grow and also to provide the best product possible will keep him working with RTV for a long time.

Jacqueline Burke
Director of National Accounts
Toll Free 866-947-8687 Option 6
Direct 231-932-1605

RTV Tour Track End of Year Summary

Happy New Year from RTV’s Tour Track team!

I hope everyone had a great year, I know we did! From the sound of things most of our virtual tour providers saw about a 30% increase in business this year. Here’s a recap of how well Tour Track did this year.  Tour Track photographers shot, processed and delivered roughly 1500 jobs and were paid over $300,000 for their work!! Our top performers in the RTV virtual tour network earned over $10,000 and we had 21 providers make over $3,000.  Fantastic!

Some things to watch for this coming year. We’ll be working hard to rewrite and edit our order details to make them more clear, concise and informative. We’ve listened to your requests for earning more money on the jobs that take longer and we’re working hard with existing contracts to do just that. Finally, we’re also looking at different ways to help your photos upload faster so hang in there everyone as we continue to grow our Tour Track division.

Quality will be on the forefront in 2011 as we raise the photography bar and push you to learn and grow as photographers.  We will be trying out some new methods for shooting to see if we can get better control over the quality and consistency of the product coming to us for processing.  We will hold many more photography training webinars and make sure information is provided to keep you up to date and in the know. Please be on the lookout for Ben’s ‘Shoot Like a Pro’ series.  Happy New Year everyone!

Jacqueline Burke
Director of National Accounts
National Virtual Tour Company
Toll Free 866-947-8687 Option 6
Direct 231-932-1605

Ok Dale…What’s Your Secret?

We recently asked Dale Hart what his secret is for consistently “Rocking the Shoot”. Here is his reply:

“LOL, Oh I don’t know, let me see, Hmmm, maybe it’s 30 years experience much of that in the very demanding market of NYC. Maybe it’s just taking my time to get the best angle and exposure, Maybe it’s my Canon equipment. Canon Rules!  Nikon Drools… LOL.  But seriously, I think the big KEY is taking the time to do a CUSTOM white balance every time and when ever the dominant or combinations of light sources changes.

For instance a very dark room without much daylight coming in, your dominant light source will be your flash unit. A large dining room with florescent lights, daylight coming in plus your flash unit is going to create a different color on the camera sensor so a new white balance needs to be calibrated. The pre-set white balances or automatic whit balance just doesn’t cut in the Professional world. Also, I find the proper custom white balance also makes it easier to get the proper exposure.”

— Dale Hart
Rio Rancho Virtual Tours
Order a Virtual Tour Today: 505-962-2207

Trina Jackson You Rocked The Shoot

Today Trina Jackson of Take Me There Virtual Tours (  rocked out a great Tour Track shoot!  Her fitness center images, shown here, had the RTV gang ooooh-ing and ah-ing.  These pictures are great examples of how windows should look. They are clear and bright, but not blown-out. The room itself does not look dark, despite the fact that there is so much outside light coming in. The equipment is crisp and clear. The angle is great and the picture is level.  Level pictures make the Tour Track Fairies happy, I’ll tell you what.  Nothing makes Melissa crankier than having to straighten 50 million pictures.

How did Trina shoot these well lit clear crisp pictures?  We’ll be passing along her tips in a future blog post so stay tuned! For two hours of photography tips each month please tune into The IMAGE!

Everyone give a shout out to Trina and congratulate her on winning a shiny  new tour credit!

RTV Virtual Tour
National Virtual Tour Service
866-947-8687 Ext 4

Powertips From RTV

Oh no! We’re on a Tour Track job and we need to be in two places at once to take photographs of twilight/dusk. How can we accomplish this if there is not enough money to make multiple trips and we want to please both our client and Tour Track’s client.

Well, we’ll just have to use Nik Software’s complete package for Aperture, Light Room and Photoshop. For those of you who have a Nikon – they have a Nik Lite version called Nik Effects that can do the same things. No need to deal with masks, layers, brushes, levels, etc in Photoshop. We edited our last tour track direct from Aperture using the Nik Plug-ins.

All the modules basically work the same. You place a dot on the picture, move a few sliders and close up the plug in and you have a non-destructive edit that if using photoshop can be re-edited right from its self made layer and mask. If you use aperture it makes a duplicate with the effect and you can keep coming back for more.

Using their patented U-Point technology we were able to start out with Color Effex. This plug in comes with over 50 filters. We chose the Midnight filter (doesn’t that sound dark and dusky). We first used the filter globally, meaning we applied the filter to the entire picture. We chose the Midnight blue rather than black or purple because we felt it looked best with the pool we shot. Our entire picture was bathed in Midnight Blue. Next we took the negative control point and we placed it in the areas we wanted to be brighter or have more focus for the eye. We used the brightness slider to create a gradually get darker or lighter effect up and down the picture.

Great – the picture looks like twilight but something was missing. Lamp posts were not lit because the photo was shot during the daytime. Oh no – now what. Thank goodness for their module Viveza 2. First I used positive points to saturate, contrast and texture the sky and pool. Then, using a very teeny-tiny control point, I placed it on the light bulb in the lamp post. I slide the brightness slider to 100%. Great – but the light was white and I wanted yellow. Now I adjusted the RGB slider until the color was what I wanted. But now, looking at the picture, the bulb didn’t light up enough of the area. So….slide, slide, slide that brightness slider and wow – you get a yellowish tint light that is brightest at the center and glows out gradually lightening the area around the lamp post.

RTV virtual tour providers who are having trouble with either shooting twilight photos or editing twilight into the photos.