As an agent, have you ever had a feeling some of your properties just cry out for a panoramic photo? Whether you’re listing a gorgeous villa overlooking a pineapple plantation or a lovely apartment with beautiful city views, you may need more than a single frame to capture the moment. Luckily, there’s a great way to do this without spending a fortune, training for months or hiring a specialist. In this post, we’ll take a look at some super easy and quick ways to get started with 360° photography to make your listings look amazingly live and convincing.
360° photography is nothing new for many businesses and smartphone owners. Even industries like newspaper media widely use it. The New York Times, for example, have their own virtual reality mobile app to help their readers experience immersive scenes from around the globe.
Real estate, however, is a bit slow in adopting some great tools like panoramic photography. In the meantime, it’s exactly one of those industries that can get a powerful tune-up to marketing and sales thanks to this wonderful technology.
Indeed, 360° photography does a stellar job of:
- showcasing your properties better;
- enriching customer experience;
- helping you stand out from the competition;
- engaging with people better with unique photography that gives them a full understanding of how your property and its whereabouts look like.
Not sure how these photos actually look like?
Here are just 2 examples of stunning panoramic photography we think you’ll like: Gellért Baths in Budapest, Hungary, and the Hall of Poets at Masino Castle, Italy.
Can you believe that this fascinating photography was in fact taken in just a few minutes, with no need to edit them afterwards. Now imagine how cool it’d be if you could add imagery like this to your listings and impress potential home buyers with something more than 300 × 300 ancient images?
P.S. Some MLS’s may not support 360° photography so make sure to check this out beforehand to know for sure.
Whether you haven’t given it a try because you think it’s expensive or requires specific knowledge, we can assure you none of it can stop you. Let’s see why exactly.
The easiest way to get started with 360° photography
A smartphone runs on iOS (Apple) or Android (Google) and having camera functionality is about all you need to start making beautiful panoramic photos of your properties. Next, the whole thing of taking these photos narrows down to the photo app you’re going to use. The market for these apps is huge and you can use either free apps, or insanely cheap ones costing as little as $1 – $2, but still delivering great functionality.
If you’re using Android, you can find these apps on Google Play store, and iOS users can find everything on iTunes.
The easiest way to start with panoramic photography is a Photo Sphere app brought to us by Google (if you’re an iOS user, don’t worry as it also works with iOS devices too). You can always try a variety of other apps to see which one works best for you but why not try something simple and already liked by thousands of users first?
Important: use this app to capture and share landmarks, nature spots, and attractions in your area in order to be able to share them with a Photo Sphere Google+ community (i.e., great for promoting your local area at large). For panoramic shots of your properties, use any other apps, for example, Photaf Panorama Pro or Panorama 360 for Android or iOS so you can fully focus on the property itself.
To get your creative juices flowing, let’s see how to use Google’s Photo Sphere app. All the other apps work similarly, so this will give you a pretty good understanding of everything you need to know.
Creating your first panoramic photo with the Photo Sphere app
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the app, click on the camera menu option. You’ll then see an orange dot centered in a target frame which will help you start positioning. Hit the shutter button and you’ll see blue virtual dots on your screen anchored to the scenery around. Tilt and rotate your camera until you’ve captured all of the dots in a single 360° photo.
Once you’ve done that, the app will automatically stitch your shots together. You can then zoom and scroll your image to get a full view from different angles. The whole process of taking and processing the image takes about 5 minutes.
Here’s a quick video explaining this nicely:
Now that your perfect panoramic photo is ready, you’d like to share it with your audience. Sharing is the reason why a Photo Sphere app is better than similar apps. More precisely, it lets you contribute your perspectives directly to Google Maps which is the world’s most popular mobile map.
If you have a Google+ page that is connected to Google Maps (as a local business, you should, as it’s a great boost for SEO), the photography you just uploaded to Google Maps is shared on your Google+ profile as well. Just remember that the Photo Sphere community does not publish advertisements, so go creative here. If your villa is located on the beach, make a panoramic photo of it at sunset and describe it accordingly, avoiding any sales language (make sure to check out their official guidelines).
So using the Photo Sphere app is a great way to build a huge online exposure to your local area, city or region. In turn, use any other 360° photography apps to take panoramic shots of your properties, embed them on your site and share to all of your social media. Both ways are great to get more eyes on your local area (Photo Sphere app) and properties (any other 360 photo apps).
P.S. Make sure to check out the Photo Sphere Google+ community for any remarkable work as it’s a great source of inspiration.
Post your panoramic photos to Facebook just as easily
Some exciting news for real estate agents who get tons of leads from Facebook: it recently rolled out support for 360-degree images. Now you can upload your panoramic photos to Facebook just like you do with the ordinary ones and they’ll start showing up in news feeds. Now your fans can feel like they’ve actually been around that villa or house which is going to be more convincing than a dozen of listings.
Take your 360° photography for a spin!
Modern technologies make it amazingly simple to market your properties better and give your listings a different look and feel. A 360° photography app is an additional useful tool that will take neither your time nor budget but deliver a powerful tune-up to the way you market your listings. Make sure to give it a try!
[Related post: How to Write Compelling Property Listings That Evoke Trust].
With 20 years experience in the French commercial real-estate market between 1974 and 2004, working with developers and estate agents, I have to say that I would very definitely have welcomed and recommended AgentDrive and all the exciting possibilities it provides.
It’s incredibly inspiring to hear such kind words from someone as experienced as you are, Diana! Merci beaucoup and wishing you great luck with your new projects!