Benefits with Virtual tours

Benefits with virtual tours

Benefits with virtual tours

To view the tour click the image above

Time saving benefits

Saving time may not be something you think of as one of the benefits with virtual tours but if I can use the example of one of my clients.  I have a client who owns a children’s day nursery, in the past when a parent was considering using the nursery for their children the first step was to book an appointment to view the premises, a natural enough thing to do if you are thinking of putting your children there.  The problem is that means freeing up a member of staff to give the parents a tours of the facilities.  All this changed when they decided to commission virtual tours of the building, now one of the benefits of using virtual tours is that parents now view the tours online and can see all the facilities on offer, parents now rarely make an appointment to view the nursery, they are happy that they can see everything online.  This has had the effect of reducing the amount of hours staff need to be released to show parents around.  This is one of the great benefits with virtual tours.   If you would like to see the tours of the nursery use this link Treforest day nursery

Put clients at ease

Imaging a new client coming to see you for the first time, how much better would they feel if they know exactly how to enter the building, where the reception is the rest room and maybe even the canteen.  another great benefit with virtual tours is to familiarize people with your premises, be it an office a holiday cottage or even outdoor spaces.

These are just two of the benefits with virtual tours, if you would like to know how virtual tours could benefit you then please give me a ring, I’m always happy to talk about your specific needs.

Silver Product Photography

Silver Product Photography

Silver product photography

Reflections

Silver product photography can be great with reflections.  The image above is photographed on a white acrylic base great for reflections when working with any product photography but especially good when working with silver product photography.  I use both black and white acrylic bases and for silver product photography I would prefer to use a black base and background, but these days most customers would prefer using white.

Colours

One problem that you can come across when doing silver product photography is you can get a colour cast on the images, there are a number of way of solving this problem but the easiest by far is to turn the image to black and white.  provided there are no colours on the product that will solve the issue of colour casts and produce a lovely clean silver image.  The image above was photographed in colour and then turned to black and white giving a nice clean silver image.

Product Photography

Good product photography can make the difference between making a sale and not making a sale.  If the photography on a site is not up to scratch then people don’t see bad photography they see bad products.  It is always cost effective to get decent images of your products to put on your site.  There has been many instances were people have bought a product from a more expensive site just because the image looked better quality.

We are based in Newport South Wales and we would be happy to quote for any product photography work, be it stand photography or 360 degree product photography.  We photograph a wide range of products from pens to sofas so feel free to give us a call for a quote.  You can send us your products or we can arrange to come to you and photograph your products onsite whichever is more convenient for you.

 

Round house Virtual Tour

Round House Virtual Tour

Outside
Click image for Round House Virtual Tour

It’s good to be different

Recently I visited the Farm Innovation Show at the NEC in Birmingham, a great show with some excellent exhibits.  Of all the exhibitors at the show for me there was one that stood out above all the rest. I like the unusual the properties that stand out from the crowd, my 360 photography and virtual tours are all about being different so for me anything that is unusual instantly gets my attention.  Walking around the show I eventually spotted a company that specialized in round houses.  What a fantastic fit for my 360 virtual tours, I spoke to the staff on the stand ( I probably took up far too much of their time ), and after the show I kept in touch with Gemma and thankfully we ended up doing a virtual tour of a round house, a task I have to say I very much enjoyed.

Visiting the round house you are instantly struck by the quality of the build, and the warmth, this was a bitterly cold day and the instant you stepped inside the round house the warmth was instant.  The pictures you can see on the walls are the heating system, low cost and extremely effective.  These round houses can be build to your specifications so size is not an issue,  whether you want a small outside space to use as an office, or a full blown multi room home then you an be accommodated.

Round House

The images above shoe the main living room, the decking outside the house, the name plate and the amazing ceiling.  The quality through this property is exquisite and guaranteed to get the wow factor from anyone that visits.

 

If you want to find out more about Rotunda Round houses just check out their website at Rotunda.co.uk 

 

 

suspended 360 product animation

Phone Cover

There are different levels of 360 product photography, one form is suspended 360 product animations, by that I mean photographing any product that cannot stand alone without being supported.  The Phone cover below is an example of a suspended 360 product animation, if you click on the image is will load the phone cover animation.

Suspended 360 product animationBecause of the design of the phone cover it could not stand on it’s own.  so it had to be suspended in some way.  For this particular product there was no great problem, it was quite easy to use a small piece of blue tak and stick the cover to that, then it was just a case of edited this out later.  For something like a bicycle if you were doing a suspended 360 animation of that it would be necessary to suspend the bicycle upside down.  Once all the images were taken it’s quite an easy task to rotate the images.

Turntable for suspended 360 product animations

Now with any 360 product animation you obviously have to use a turntable, the turntable would be marked out in 36 sections and you would take one image, rotate the turntable and take another image at the next section, but how can you do this if the product is suspended in the air?

The simplest trick is to bolt the turntable to the ceiling (Best not to use a room in the house for that).  So if you have a workshop and you want to do large objects for suspended 360 product animations, then first bolt the turntable to the ceiling, then suspend the product from the turntable, then as you turn the turntable the product will turn.  It’s then just a case of waiting for the product to stop rotating and take the photo.  Once you have all 36 images you can then just flip the images, edit out the background and your images are ready for the final steps to create your suspended 360 product animation.

Where’s the Tripod?

Where’s the Tripod

To remove or just cover up the tripod that is the question.  Whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the inadequacies of lesser skilled individuals, or to take arms, mouse and photoshop to do the job as it should have been done in the first place.

Apologies for misquoting Shakespeare but his words are far better than mine even with the alterations.  I like many others specialise in 360 degree photography, and one question we all have to face at some point is what do we do with the tripod.

Remove or cover up?

When you photography a room or any space using 360 photography you are inevitable left with the tripod stuck in the photograph.   And so you must make one  of three decisions.

  1. Should I cover up the tripod?
  2. Should I remove the tripod?
  3. Or as unfortunately I’ve seen in the past, should I just pretend it’s not there?

For me the decision is quite easy, with the skill that has been practised over many years I will remove the Tripod, surely there is no other option?  The image below may look rather strange but this is effectively a room turned inside out, by doing this the task of removing the Tripod becomes quite easy.  This means when the virtual tour is completed you can see no sign of were the Tripod was or even if there ever was one.

Tripod removed

 

But of course there are apparently other options, we could simply cover up were the Tripod was and hope nobody notices.  As you can see below the two images are identical?  Provided of course you forget about the white blob in the middle of the image.

Tripod Covered

 

The last option is obviously to just leave the Tripod in the picture and hope nobody notices.  This concept is so alien to me I’m not even going to show an example of it.  Needless to say unfortunately some people choose this option.

There are even more options than I have listed above, but these I find even more unworthy of being mentioned.  But what difference I hear you ask?

  1. Would you rent out a holiday home with dirty bedsheets?
  2. Would you serve a meal on cracked plates?
  3. Would you ask a guest to sit on a chair if the chair leg was broken?

Small things perhaps, but small details that cost you sales and returning customers.

To see the above completed tour, without tripod click the image below.

No Tripod

 

Virtual tour equipment

What do I need to produce 360 virtual tours?

There are a number of things you will need before you can produce a good commercial 360 degree virtual tour.

Camera

Yes I realize the camera is quite obvious, but what camera?  You can produce a virtual tour using most cameras these days, even mobile phones have apps that allows you to create a virtual tour on your phone.  But we are looking at producing commercial virtual tours, so you are looking at a good quality DSLR.  Personally I use a Canon 5D MK11, it works well for me and it’s full frame which again makes life easier, but the choice of camera is really up to you.

Lens

A good quality fisheye lens will make life a lot easier when you come to capturing the images for a virtual tour, although you can just as easily use a standard lens.  I use a Sigma 15mm fisheye which is wide enough to give a good starting image for my tours.  I have occasionally used my Canon 24/105 Lens and again this has given me good results, although I’ve had to take more images to create the same effect as with the fisheye.

Tripod

Any good solid tripod will do the job, don’t skimp on the cost of your tripod if it not solid enough it will not give you the results your after.  I have done virtual tours without using a tripod, but it’s much easier with one.

Panohead

A Panohead is the vital piece of kit for creating a virtual tour, this allows you to position the camera so the nodal point of the lens is directly over the centre point of the tripod, this allows you to take seamless images for your panoramic image, which is the starting point of any virtual tour.

Software

You really need at least two pieces of software for your virtual tour, three if you include photoshop or any other photo editing software you use.  You need one software to stitch the images together, and another software to create the tour.  I use PTGui and Pano2vr but there are various options on the market.

There are other pieces of equipment that would make life easier, but with the items above you should have no problem creating your virtual tour.

Photo Editing Companies

To all the Photo Editing Companies

Photo Editing

I have no doubt that the photo editing services you supply are second to none.  Your photo editing is I’m sure done at an amazing cost.  I would cast no doubt on your professionalism or on the quality of your workmanship.  And even though you guarantee the lightning speed of your service you should bear the following in mind before contacting me for photo editing work.

I am a Photographer

I am paid by my clients to take photographs of their products, premises or even themselves.  Included in that price is for me to do all the photo editing, and to edit those photos in a professional way.  I am a photographer and as such I carry out all the duties associated with that profession, including photo editing.

Would a Baker mix the ingredients of his price winning cake and then give the mixture to someone else to bake?

Would an Electrician wire a house and then leave it for the home owner to connect the house to the mains?

Would a Carpenter fit a kitchen and then get the next door neighbor to fit the kitchen worktops?

I’m a photographer.  I’m in charge of lighting, I’m responsible for the arranging of my subjects, I bear full responsibility for my work, and should anything go wrong I accept full responsibility for that error, and I will correct that error and my expense.  My daily work includes photo editing for which I also accept full responsibility.

And so I thank you all for continually contacting me to offer your excellent services, and for offering to help lighten my daily workload by removing the need for me to carry out any photo editing work.  But sadly I must decline your generous offer.

Instead I suggest you embrace the beauty of photography, buy a camera and get out from behind your desks, go forth into this beautiful world and take those lasting memories.  Don’t just look at other peoples work go forth and take your camera and capture the world in all its glory.

Become the complete package, take the photos, edit the photos and become one with photography.

 

Networking

Networking

This is a little different from my usual blog, but although it is not actually about photography I believe it’s just as valuable.  No matter what business you are in networking is an essential part of business life.

No matter what people tell you lets be honest, ultimately the whole point of going networking is to gain more business for yourself.  But it’s not as simple as that, how you go about networking is much more important than you may think.

Over the years I’ve seen all sorts of attitudes to networking.  Networking is about building relationships, how you do this is your choice, but there are a few things I would not recommend.  I’ve seen people enter a room go around the entire room handing out their business cards and then leave.  But I think the worst one I’ve seen is a gentleman who insisted on presenting his 60 seconds to the room first, once he’d done this he then handed out his business cards and various leaflets and then left, he couldn’t even bother to wait around to hear anyone else speak, I left his card and leaflets on the table.

Too many people go networking and as soon as they leave the room they forget about the people they’ve just met.  If I’ve met someone at a networking event who I find interesting and who I think I can help, I will actively look for opportunities for them.  For instance I recently met a gentleman who had a very unusual business, it was great talking to him.  When I left I could think of a few people that may be of help to him in his business, so I went out of my way to talk to the relevant people and make the appropriate introductions.  This has led to a great opportunity for all three companies to work together and ultimately gain more business. I would like to think that if they had the chance to do the same for me they would, this may not always be the case but at least I believe I have kept the true spirit of networking alive.

Virtual tour images

Virtual tour images

Virtual tour images or 360 degree images are quite a strange looking image, they are the starting point when creating a 360 degree virtual tour.  Although I think these images look great as banner adds they can also be used for other purposes.

Virtual tour images

The image above is a virtual tour image, this is an image used for a virtual tour of a wetroom. The client I did this tour for wanted to use the image as a wrap around image on his works van.  The idea being to get attention, he wanted to get that wow factor when people seen his van.

Because this image is so different it took a little bit of work to find a printer who was happy to attempt to print this virtual tour image onto the van.  But when the vehicle was done it had the desired effect.  People were stopping him in the street asking if they could take photos of the van.

The Wetroom its self is an amazing room, this was constructed in an upstairs room of the house, and the finish and workmanship is truly fantastic.  Having any professional photography done is never the cheapest option, and if you are paying to have photography done you want to get the most for your money.  Using the virtual tour image not just for the virtual tour but also for a banner add and for a vehicle wrap around means you get three different uses for the price of one.

Van

You can see from the images above the virtual tour image wrapped around the vehicle really does look great.  This will undoubtedly get the client notices and more importantly remembered, which in turn should lead to additional work.  Combine this with the virtual tour for the website and a good days work done all round.

If you want to see what else this builder can do for you click on the van image to view their website.

Property Photography

Property Photography

Good property photography really does make a difference.  One of the main users of property photography is estate agents, and sadly most estate agents do not use professional photographers.  I do realize that using a professional photographer for your property photography adds extra cost to the advertising budget, but it can make the difference between selling or not selling your property.

Which property looks best?

Below are a series of images taken in the same room but with very different results.

Property Photography image 1

You can see from the image above there are a number of things that could be improved, for any property photography this would not be the best image to be displayed.  The problem many estate agents have is they photograph property with a simple point and click camera, this means they have little control of the camera settings, so very often if there’s a window in the photograph the camera exposes for the light in the window, this results in the window being exposed nicely so you can see out of the window but the room is quite dark.

Property Photography image 2

The above image has been improved by photographing the room at waist height giving a more pleasing image, although the image is exposed slightly better the room is still a little dark and can be improved more for use in property photography.

Property Photography Image 3

Image 3 above is a much lighter image and gives a better idea of what the room is actually like, the problem now is the window is so light you can’t see outside, from the point of view of property photography it’s much better that the images above but can still be improved.

Property Photography Image 4

The last image is a combination of image 3 and image 2.  The room is exposed quite nicely so it’s light and bright, but by taking the window part of image 2 and placing in the final image you can now also see out of the window.

Having good property photography can make a difference, especially if you are looking to sell your property.  Doesn’t the room look so much different between image 1 and image 4 having good property photography can help sell your house.

Could the final image be improved further, yes but you have to consider what the owners will allow, you can advice people but in the end you can only move things around so much.