10 Creative Uses for Virtual Tours

Whether or not you’ve experienced a virtual tour online, this article will show you what a virtual tour is, how we make them, and 10 creative ways virtual tours could be useful to you.

Since May of this year, our studio has been offering Enhanced Virtual Tours to our architectural clients. We’re very excited about this service because it nicely fills the gap between still photography and motion to showcase architectural spaces from a 3D first-person point of view.

Here’s an example of a recent clubhouse we scanned for Prometheus Real Estate Group.

As you can see, our virtual tours are a collection of 360° scans compiled into a 3D showcase model that allows you to walk around, zoom in on details, and jump between large areas of the project by looking at the floorplan view. You can also take quick measurements of anything captured thanks to the point-cloud data captured during the scan. Just click the little “measure icon” to try it out.


The way we make virtual tours is very similar to how we do any of our photoshoots. If we’re scanning for marketing purposes, then we will start with a location scout walkthrough with you to determine the scope of the project and the best time of day to capture the spaces. We will outline production needs like prop styling, permitting, and shoot day logistics.

For small projects like homes and businesses under 10,000 sq/ft, we will capture the space in a single model. For larger projects, like multi-family and hotels, we recommend breaking out virtual tours to separate models to highlight key areas of interest.

Unlike photoshoots, the capture of a virtual tour is done in a single spin of the 360° camera. There is no retouching (yet) and lighting is limited to very basic on-camera lighting. Fortunately, the cameras we use capture images in HDR and do a beautiful job of blending exposures for a pleasing look. Still, the one-shot nature of the shoot means staging, and camera position is vitally important. Fortunately, we have 18 years of architectural photography experience to help guide you to the best way to get a fantastic looking virtual tour.

Here are 10 Ways Virtual Tours are Useful

Virtual Tours first became highly useful in the real estate market. Allowing homebuyers to virtually walk-through a listing before visiting a home in person saved a lot of time and wasted effort for the client and the realtor. These types of virtual tours are pretty much the standard now for real estate listings.

However, like you, many businesses and marketers are starting to see the value of virtual tours for their industry. Here are 10 great uses for virtual tours we think will become just as common as real estate:

College Campus
1. Colleges & Universities – Potential students seeking higher education will love a virtual tour of campus life and amenities. The virtual tour would be especially useful for out-of-state students who can’t make the visit in person easily.

Museum Theater
2. Museums – Virtual Tours of Museums are a great way to bring awareness and peak interest of potential visitors. It’s especially useful for out of town visitors who can research their museum visits on their vacation. A good virtual tour could sway their decision to see the museum in person.

Cool Office Workspace
3. Recruitment – Even though the pandemic has shifted the idea of a workspace, eventually corporations will want to bring their team members back in. In a competitive space for talent, a virtual tour of your cool office will make hiring a lot easier.

Retail Display
4. Retail – As the seasons change, a virtual tour of your shop can excite your loyal customers to coming back and seeing your new inventory. Plus, our enhanced virtual tours can be exported to your Google Business listing.

Baseball Stadium Box
5. Tourism – Virtual Tours are a great way to bring attention to tourist attractions like sporting arenas, famous homes, gardens, natural areas, and monuments. It’s a great way to sell advertising space at venues because the advertiser can previsualize how their ad will look in real life.

Knack Coworking
6. Coworking Spaces – With so many options for coworking spaces, a virtual tour will really help your protentional tenant determine if the layout and amenities will work for their needs.

Hotel Lobby
7. Hotels & Resorts – There is a ton of potential to increase room and event sales with quality virtual tours. Virtual Tours are fun and will help out of town guests get a real feel of your property. Plus you can tie in other marketing tactics like special offers placed as Easter Eggs in the virtual tour’s point of interest tags.

Restaurant Interior
8. Restaurants – If your restaurant is on Google, then you need a virtual tour to show up in your search results. It’s easy for us to export a virtual tour of your restaurant right to Google My Business.

Remodeled Kitchen
9. Remodeling Projects – No matter if you’re remodeling a kitchen or a whole building, virtual tours of as-built conditions can be super helpful in determining the scope of the project. You can show sub-contractors what they’re working with without a site visit. Plus, data collected can be converted into as-built drawings such as floor plans, elevations, cross-sections, and more.

Humanitarian Causes
10. Humanitarian Causes – A virtual tour could be used as a powerful example of a need for humanitarian non-profit organizations. Showing existing conditions in 3D can help drive donations and support.

There are just a few of the useful ways virtual tours can be used. But there are so many more creative ways a virtual tour can change how you share your projects.

If you are in need of a virtual tour for your business, please contact us today for a free estimate. With 18 years of architectural imaging experience, we guarantee you will be well taken care of and get the best virtual tour possible.


UPDATED: Coronavirus Photoshoot Policy as of 8/3/2020

MoPOP Seattle by Frank Ghery
As a small business owner, I’m writing you today to let you know we take the current events of COVID-19 very seriously and want to outline what we are doing to protect you, your team, your clients, as well as myself and my team members.
I also understand the current economic situation may impact you in the short or long term and want to offer some flexible terms for your upcoming shoots.

Coronavirus Photo Policy

As of today, we can only perform shoots on assignment from media or real estate related photography (architecture, exteriors, and interiors with people at appropriate social distance.)  Here are our guidelines:
  • Photographer, crew, talent, and client must wear facemasks during the entire photoshoot. If talent is on set, talent may remove facemask as long as they are 6ft from anyone else.
  • Temperature check on set the day of shoot of all crew and clients.
  • All equipment shall be wiped down with antibacterial cleaning agent prior to use.
  • Hands washed and/or sanitized on arrival to location/set.
  • Shoes off and stored outside on all residential shoots.
  • Temporary no physical contact policy (handshakes, high fives, etc).
  • Photographer and crew must remain 6ft apart as much as possible
  • Remote art direction can occur but will limit the scope of shoot.
  • Hand washing before and after all meals and snacks.
  • Meals are to be eaten outdoors and with 6ft of space between people.
  • 24-hour cancellation fee waived if illness occurs.

Flexible Payment Terms

Because of the uncertain state of the economy, I am offering the following terms to reduce your upfront expenses on future photoshoots.

  • 12 Month Interest-Free Payment Plan – You may opt to spread the costs of a shoot over the next twelve months interest-free. After twelve months, payment is due in full or a 10% finance charge will be incurred on the balance every month.

  • 2, 5, & 10 Day Retainer Packages – If you know you have multiple shoots to do over the next year, I can create a custom retainer package and discount all fees by 20% (except travel costs).

  • Subscription Package – If you need ongoing photography, you can subscribe to a monthly service plan and pay a flat amount each month. The Monthly Subscription Fee ranges from $5000 to $500 depending on the number of shoots and usage. Feel free to contact me to set up a time to discuss.

I am watching the situation closely and will be sure to let you know if anything changes with our policies.

All the best and stay healthy,


Back to Work

Me on set for Hunter Douglas. Photo by Anna Yumul
Me on set for Hunter Douglas. Photo by Anna Yumul


The move back to Portland is complete and what a journey it’s been! Today is my first day in my home office and it feels great. Since May 20th, I’ve either been packing boxes, flying across the country with my family (including three cats), living out of suitcases in multiple AirBNBs, unpacking boxes, building furniture, or have been on location for a 9 day photo shoot for Hunter Douglas in the Bay Area. It’s been a little crazy to say the least.

I am so happy to be back and my return has been well received. On top of a long photo shoot next month for Hunter Douglas, I’ve also booked three architectural shoots this month and have had over a dozen inquiries. It’s almost like I never left.

Okay, I’m off to it! Have a great day!


PS: If you have any projects you need photographed, please reach out to me.

Tailoring Thomas – Portland Monthly November 2013

Tailoring Thomas - Portland Monthly November 2013

Here is a really cool shoot I did for last month’s issue of Portland Monthly. Thomas Lauderdale, of Pink Martini fame, has this amazing house/building right in downtown Portland. It recently went through a huge restoration and remodel led by artist and designer Philip Iosca. It’s a pretty stunning place to call home, but I could see how fun it would be live here. Thomas and Philip were both really wonderful to work with on the shoot. The three story building made for some logistical problems, but nothing you can’t fix with a pair of assistants. Art directed by Michael Novak, he used a lot of my photos for the final piece and I love the big spreads he designed. One of my finer shoots for Portland Monthly.

The rest of the spreads are below and a gallery of the images on their own. If you missed the print version, you can read it online here. Rock on!

(Note: I didn’t gray out that one ad on the bottom right because it’s one of my shots I did recently for my great client Green Hammer. Advertising and Editorial living in harmony.)



Portland Monthly July 2011 – Season’s Eatings

Man, do I love shooting food. I love it almost as much as eating it. And I feel really lucky because there’s no shortage of truly great food in Portland. In fact, the most difficult thing about food here is deciding what to eat. That’s why this story by Allison Jones was so great to photograph. It’s only a small sampling of the food choices here, but these 10 dishes were all so good that I would shoot this story over again in a heartbeat.

The tricky part of this shoot was getting everything to go together in layout. Jason Blackheart’s art direction was key in dealing with the various angles, shapes, and sizes of food. His goal was to keep it simple and about the food. We decided early on that we couldn’t shoot this in studio, but wanted to make it look like it was. It was going to be too challenging to set up a traditional table top setup inside all these restaurants, so Jason’s solution was to go light and shoot everything on white foam core. To keep the lighting consistent, we always shot with natural window light coming always from the right. My processing did the rest and the spread looks fantastic. One of my favorites this year. [Read more…] about Portland Monthly July 2011 – Season’s Eatings

ReadyMade – June/July 2011 Cover & Feature

UPDATE: Sad news to report. ReadyMade is folding and this will be their last issue. Best wishes to all the staff and contributers. May you find new work and many more great adventures.

I did it. After 9 years of hard work, thousands of hours of shooting, huge career highs and huge career lows, I have finally achieved one of the first goals I ever wrote down when I decided to become a photographer: I have the cover shot of a national magazine. Not only that, but the shoot is one I’m tremendously proud of and ReadyMade has been one of my top 10 editorial clients I’ve wanted to shoot for. It’s like icing on the cake.

Shot in Portland, OR, the Eyebrow House is an amazing remodel by architect Edgar Papazian of Doon Architecture. It’s curved, modern, and organic asthethic blew my mind. I’ve never seen anything quite like it (and I’ve shot a lot of houses). Edgar and his family were also really sweet and welcoming. The shoot was superbly art directed by Renda Morton of Rumors Studio and styling credit goes to the über-talented Bergren Rameson. The article was written by the brilliant Amara Holstein (who I’ve worked with many times before).

[Read more…] about ReadyMade – June/July 2011 Cover & Feature