iGUIDE Camera Led to a Lucrative Career in Real Estate Photography

Most real estate photographers buy an iGUIDE camera so they can offer a new product that makes them stand out from the competition.

Shannon Ross is different. He bought an iGUIDE camera about five years ago and started an entirely new business.

Shannon was a commercial photographer for more than 20 years. But it became increasingly difficult to find work, and he had a new family to support. He was down to $20,000 in the bank.

“I was beyond the end of the runway,” said Shannon.

While feeding one of his twin babies late at night Shannon was looking online for photography-related opportunities. He saw an ad by Planitar, the maker of the iGUIDE camera, that said: “Real estate photographers wanted.”

Shannon clicked on it and the following day he had a telephone conversation with an iGUIDE representative. The day after that, Shannon drove to Planitar’s home office in Kitchener to buy his first iGUIDE Camera.

“It started out with just me and I quickly realized that I had more shoots than I could handle,” said Shannon. “I was so sleep deprived I was bleeding from the brain.”

In his second year of business, Shannon bought another iGUIDE camera and hired a full-time office administrator.

“Five years later I have seven photographers, keep them all busy, four editors, and the full-time office administrator,” said Shannon. “In the peak season, we are doing 20 shoots a day, easily.”

He called his new business, iGUIDE Durham Region. Later, he changed the name to Cool House Media. It is based in Bowmanville, a town east of Toronto that is surrounded by a booming real estate market.

Shannon had never seen anything like the leading-edge property tech that creates virtual tours, 3D tours, 360 degree tours, and floor plans with square-footage measurements for every room. The pictures and floor plans are delivered to the client within 24 hours.

“I just thought it was super cool–to see a space in 360 degrees is astonishing to me. I loved it. I still love it. I still think it is the coolest thing out there,” said Shannon.

“We shoot a tonne of video and all the other stuff, but come on, 360 degree panorama is so cool,” said Shannon. “My excitement is part of my sales shtick.”

Individual real estate agents are the biggest source of business for iGUIDE photographers. That’s true for Cool House Media as well, but Shannon also likes to sign up the brokerages the agents work for. He has six brokerages signed up now.

“This is the way to spend the same amount of sales effort and get five or ten times in return,” said Shannon.

When making presentations to potential clients, Shannon marvels at the reactions to the 3D tours created by the iGUIDE camera.

“Then the eyes would pop open, they lean forward in their seats and the questions started flowing. And it was all over the 3D tour,” said Shannon. “It immediately became apparent that’s what I needed to push.”

The 3D tours created by the iGUIDE are easy to use. Cool House Media also offers Matterport tours, but the doll-house graphics simply can’t compete with the 3D technology in an iGUIDE package.

“People buy the iGUIDE in droves,” said Shannon. “Do I think iGUIDE is the single best piece of virtual tour tech? Yes, by far, and I looked at all of them.”

Cool House Media is a real estate photography business that offers everything from drone pictures to videos and iGUIDEs. During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic laid waste to many sectors of the economy, but Cool House Media had a 30 percent increase in business.

The iGUIDE cameras are responsible for nearly all of that growth, said Shannon, and the enormous success his company has experienced. Real estate agents and brokers seem to have insatiable appetites for iGUIDEs.

“They want the floor plans, they want the square-footage measurements, they like how it is simple and easy to use, they like the customization,” said Shannon. “You get a real sense of how the house is laid out, you are moving through it.”

He plans to expand in 2021 by adding more brokerages to his client list. The iGUIDE will always be a central part of his growth plans.

“We have had good fortune, I see more growth,” said Shannon.