Virtual Tours in a Visual World

We all know that people think visually. Expressions such as “A picture is worth a thousand words”, “Don’t tell me, show me.” or “I see what you mean” have been part of our vocabulary since as far back as can be remembered. And from the time we are infants, our eyes are drawn to pictures. That has certainly not changed in this digital age. In fact, it is even more pronounced now, where we are surrounded by imagery of every kind, everywhere we go. But the digital age has also made it easier for the average person to produce images themselves. Just look at how many people you see snapping ‘selfies’ and posting them to social media. So why should you actually seek out a professional photographer nowadays?

It is true: More people have the tools to create better quality photographs now. Stores sell top of the line, professional DSLR’s to anyone willing to part with their pennies. Then again, Home Depot, and Lowes sell all the lumber and tools you would ever need to build your own house from scratch. But how many people would run right out and try it? How many people would buy several tons of steel, sheet metal, and fiberglass and then build their own car? Not many. Because there exists the idea that a real house, or a real car are projects best left tackled by those who have the training and experience for the task. Yet they feel that “anybody” can take pictures, so a trained photographer is no longer needed. They may argue that, unlike building a house or a car, there are no safety or building code issues involved with photography; and no lives at stake. After all, what’s the worst that can happen if someone’s iPhone photos do not come out as well as those of a professional? Well…If you are involved with marketing on any level these days – whether part of a large corporate team, or in a single-office start up – you know that “image is everything.” If you are perceived as up-to-date with some shine and polish, it creates a level of professional trust that will draw people to you. Often this will have much to do with the way you show yourself to the world. In other words: How professional your image is.

It turns out that this ‘democratizing of photography’ that we speak of is really a double edged sword: Now that “everybody” can produce photos, the average person will expect to see better work coming from corporations, businesses, and facilities than what they think they could create. If the photos on your website or in your brochure look like something they feel they could have done equally well with their personal camera, your corporate image falters. Hence the need for a professional photographer. This is especially so with things like architectural or high-viewpoint photography, where that extra showing of polish and skill go a long way toward creating a positive feeling. Most professional photographers have spent years learning the technical end of the craft, honing a style, and focusing on a particular type of image production. The ones who work in commercial photography and architectural photography have made it their goal to see that what you offer – the services you provide and market to your audience – are shown in most professional way possible. In short, it is their business to make your business look it’s best. An iPhone app does not know it’s supposed to do that.

We live in a visual world, and that is not only going to continue, but gain in strength as time goes on. If you need to reach the eyes, hearts, and minds of an audience, imagery is still – and will always be – the most powerful way to do it. So while it may be tempting to cut some costs and shoot the photos for the company brochures with a smart phone, or by using a volunteer from the break-room who takes pictures as a hobby, now is not the time to hold back from finding a professional photographer who can really bring your vision across. People are far more image savvy now than they were just a few short years ago. So don’t tell them why your company offers the best in its field; show them. And soon enough they will reply, “I see what you mean!”