The Ultimate Guide to Creating Real Estate Virtual Tours

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Introduction

Do you ever browse social media sites like Facebook or Instagram, see a beautiful, professional-looking video virtual tours, and wonder how those attention-grabbing videos are made? Well, wonder no more! In this post, we’ll show you exactly how to make your own beautiful videos, step-by-step, in just a few minutes, using the VidBoto platform. It’s easier than you may think!

Let’s begin!

The Camera

In recent years, camera technology in cell phones has advanced, in leaps and bounds, to the point where cell phone photos taken by “amateurs” are indistinguishable from photos taken by professionals with cameras that cost thousands of dollars.

If your cell phone is less than 6 years old, its built-in camera is, most likely, perfectly suited for taking professional-looking photos that will look great in a video virtual tour.

If you have an older phone, or don’t have access to a good cell phone camera, almost any digital camera purchased in the last 15 years will work perfectly well, also.

Getting the perfect shot o the interior of a house

Whichever camera you decide to use, keep reading to learn how to take the absolute best photos, making the most of your camera.

Taking the Perfect Real Estate Photos

In order to create the perfect real estate virtual tour, we need the perfect real estate photos.

There are many details to consider when taking real estate photos. These details can make the difference between an average, ho-hum photo and a photo that sparks people’s imaginations and inspires them to share the beautiful listing they found with their friends and loved ones.

Below are some tips on how to take those perfect photos.

Time of Day

Choosing the right time is important for real estate photography. If possible, schedule an interior photo shoot during the daytime. This way, you will get more natural light and bright, saturated colors in your pictures.

If the weather is cloudy, reschedule the photo shoot for another day.

Some people like to photograph real estate exteriors shortly before sunset or shortly after sunrise. In photography, this is referred to as “the golden hour” and you can get beautiful shots during these times of day.

A home photographed at sunset for dramatic effect

Scout the Property Beforehand

When planning to photograph a house, take your time and learn every nuance of the property. Before the photo shoot, walk around the property and take a few test shots of the exterior, yards, and each room from different angles.

Then you should examine these shots carefully to identify features that should be included or excluded when taking the final photos. This approach helps photographers see those details that seem imperceptible at first glance but have great importance.

Open Blinds and Window Treatments

Remember that natural light is the best option when it comes to interior real estate photography. No artificial light source can replace the sun.

Natural light gives you beautiful, saturated colors and rich shadows. For certain shots, you may use led lamps, or other artificial light sources, to highlight important details, such as metal, wooden or textile elements, such as furniture.

Natural light also makes your photos look as realistic as possible, and the clients will see how the house actually looks.

A living room photographed using natural light

Turn on All Lights

“But I thought you said to use natural light”, you wonder. Yes, natural light is best for interior photos.

When photographing the exterior of a house, you’ll want to turn on all visible lights in the house. The additional light will give some warmth and coziness to your pictures. Photos of houses with the lights off can achieve a different effect, but they usually end up looking cold and empty.

Lights off: notice how cold, dark, and empty the house looks when all the lights are off

Use a Tripod in Low Light Conditions

Although camera technology has advanced, it can still take up to several seconds to get a crisp, focused image in low-light conditions. The slightest hand movements, while taking low-light photos, can result in a blurry image.

To get the best real estate photography at night or in poor lighting conditions, you must use a tripod. It will help you achieve good image sharpness and simplify the shooting process. It’s humanly impossible for anyone to hold a camera perfectly still for several seconds; even the most steady-handed people can’t do it.

So, if you must take photos in low-light conditions, use a tripod for the absolute best results. A pocket-sized, table top tripod will work just fine and they’re inexpensive, too.

Experiment with Creative Angles

Do not photograph the interior of the room from the corner; it’s cliché and, most likely, won’t capture the best qualities of a particular room. Instead, try to find more interesting angles that showcase each room.

For example, you can shoot a room from a doorway, showcasing the whole room from a person’s natural perspective. Also, pay attention to details. If you notice any distracting elements, such as a picture or piece of furniture, remove them from the frame to create an uncluttered image.

An inviting kitchen photographed from a straight-on perspective, capturing the whole room while focusing on the seating

Use Props

Props can add life and style without breaking the bank. For example, a bouquet of flowers or a bowl of fruit can add a pop of color to a drab room. Try just one color; all green apples or all red roses.

The lemons and flowers add a colorful pop to this white room

Declutter and Clean Every Room

Take everything off the kitchen counters, including the toaster, microwave, blender, any big appliances, utensils, towels, oils, etc. If there is space, neatly organize them in the kitchen cabinets or pantry. Next, clean every kitchen surface possible, including any rust, burned substances that make your stove top look speckled instead of white, and of course, the kitchen floor.

Next, turn your attention to the living room. Remove anything other than large furniture and table lamps. Clear shoe racks in the living room or entry way, take jackets and hats off of any coat racks, and hide pet beds. Then, vacuum once you give the room a solid scrub.

Finally, do the same for all other rooms. Take away everything other than large pieces of furniture and light fixtures. That means all toiletries in the bathroom, clutter on dresser tops, neaten up shelves, etc.

Creating the Video

Everyone is familiar with photographs to some extent, but creating a video sounds daunting. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you might think. Once you have the perfect photos, you can create the perfect video virtual tour and it only takes a few minutes to create. VidBoto is a service that makes video creation, quick, easy, and fun.

Setting up Your VidBoto Account

First, click here to register your VidBoto Account.

After you’ve registered, you need to add credits to your VidBoto account. Credits are what you redeem to create video virtual tours. One credit lets you create one virtual tour. You can purchase credits ahead of time, in bulk, then create tours at your convenience, even from your smart phone. Click here to purchase credits.

Once you’ve added credits to your account, you’re ready to begin creating virtual tours.

Your First Tour

Click “My Videos” in the menu at the top of the screen or the drop down menu under your name in the top right corner.

Next, click the “New Video” button.

You should then see a screen with the heading “Editing Video”.

This screen is where you will create and edit your tours so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with everything on this screen.

Tour Title

Give the tour a short, descriptive title. It can be as simple as the address of the property.

Tour Description

After the title, give the tour a brief description. This would be a good place to copy the MLS description.

When someone wants to know more about a property, they’ll be able to click this link. If you’re creating a tour for a property that already exists on the web somewhere, you can copy and paste the link here. This is where you’re going to drive traffic so it would be best to send people to a page with a call to action where they’ll be able to easily contact you.

Music Selection

Background music is purely optional.

If you decide to select background music, keep in mind that the music will be muted by default when the someone visits the tour on a website. This is a limitation imposed by modern web browsers in an effort to reduce annoying audio from automatically playing in the background of websites. However, if you download the video file and share it to social media sites, the audio will likely play when the video plays.

Photo Selection

The purpose of a tour is to highlight a property using only the best of the best photos. People aren’t going to want to sit through a long, drawn out tour of every single photo of the property. This is why it needs to be short and sweet. Select the best 10-15 photos and upload them on the Editing Video screen.

To upload photos, simply click on the upload area, select your chosen photos, then upload them. If you’re on a laptop or desktop computer, you can drag photos from a folder onto the upload area and drop them.

Photo Order

Photos should be, approximately, in the same order that someone physically touring the property would see everything. Front exterior first, entryway or foyer, etc., leading to the back yard (if there is a back yard you would like to highlight in the tour).

To reorder photos, simply click and drag them into the order you would like. Once they’re in order, click the save button to see a preview of the tour.

Preview the Tour

Each time you make a change to the tour and click the save button, the preview is updated with the latest changes.

The preview allows you to make sure everything looks just right before you create the final video. Once the final video is created, you’ll still be able to edit the title, description, and link, but you won’t be able to edit the video itself, including the photos or music.

Create the Final Video

When you’re happy with the photos, their order, and the music you’ve selected, all that’s left to do is to create the final virtual tour video. To do this, simply click the “Publish Now” button. This process will take a few minutes. While the video is being created, you can leave the page, work on another tour, or close the browser window and the process will continue in the background.

Once the final video has been created, you can click the “View Video” button from the Editing Video screen or the View link next to the tour on the My Videos screen. This page shows you what visitors will see when they visit your tour on the VidBoto website. If you need to make adjustments to the title, description, or link, you can edit those at any time.

Sharing Your Tour

You have an awesome video virtual tour… now what?

An easy way to get attention is to share the tour on social media where potential leads will see it. You can easily share tours from the View Video screen by clicking one of the social media icons above the tour video. This will share the View Video screen on the VidBoto website.

If you would like to share the video itself directly on social media, simply go to the Edit Video screen, click the “Download Video” link near the top of the page, and save the video file to your computer or smart phone. Once you have the video file saved to your device, you can visit any major social network and upload it directly. When you share tours like this, they have a better chance of auto-playing when someone sees it on their social media stream.

You can also add the video file directly to your website or upload it to certain real estate listing websites to use as a virtual tour.

Did You Find this Tutorial Helpful?

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