iGUIDE: Unlocking the door to full-time success as a Real Estate Photographer

Six years ago, you could find Tom Sparks lugging around his photography gear on weekends. Tom is passionate about shooting a variety of events. Capturing images of models, musicians, and weddings fills the desire to create incredible and memorable photos for his clients, but Tom soon discovered it didn’t bring in enough revenue.

Like many self-employed business people, Tom is passionate about his career choice. The problem was that he needed a little extra something to boost his income. He sought out a few different angles and then discovered real estate photography.

His introduction to real estate photography was while working for a real estate media company. It was easy enough to grasp the concepts but he noticed a “huge gap in customer service and quality of the overall work”.

The tedious and time-consuming process of capturing 3D tours and real estate photography was not what he expected.

“My first intro into 3D virtual tours was with a Matterport camera but found the process to be time-consuming… auto aligning can be a pain at times.”

Tom explains, “This plus many more reasons was why I went with iGUIDE.”

As a real estate photographer, Tom notes two important requirements of the job: speed of scanning and quality of deliverables.  

Tom found a way to increase his income and decrease the number of hours spent on each job with the discovery of iGUIDE’s Camera system. Not only could the cutting-edge camera capture 360 degree images, but it simultaneously measured spaces for accurate floor plans. 2019 was a pivotal year for Sparks Media Group and this was just the beginning.

A slow start

2019 started a little slow. Between April and September, Tom only managed to get enough clients to do 12 scans. He was beginning to re-think this whole new real estate photography venture. As a burgeoning real estate photographer, Tom needed to find a way to get more business.

iGUIDE increased his business

Sparks Media Group’s office is located in an area surrounded by industrial buildings, so naturally, Tom saw an opportunity there. A local property manager requested his services for a 3D tour of a 23,000 square foot space.

After spending 5 hours capturing the tour with his Matterport® camera, Tom thought “maybe I’ll give this new iGUIDE® camera a go” while he was there.

That was the clincher. He not only impressed himself, but also the building manager by capturing the 23,000 Square Foot space in ONE hour! It was this moment that led to an increase in business and demand for Sparks Media Group 3D tours and real estate photography.

And then came COVID. Everything came to a sudden halt.

Undeterred by the sudden lack of business, Tom used a strategic marketing plan and sent out an email blast to 60,000 Realtors in the Bay area hoping to snag the attention of his target audience. The campaign proved to be successful and from March 2020 to the end of December 2020 Tom and his team completed 270 iGUIDE® scans. A substantial increase from 2019.

Less time, more services

When asked what difference the iGUIDE® camera has made in his business versus the competitor cameras, Tom explains “it includes a floor plan, and it’s faster”. This allows him to save a tremendous amount of time, work on multiple projects in a day, and scale the business all with iGUIDE’s cutting edge technology.

He keeps his clients happy by charging less as a result of the decrease in hours worked. Not only does he offer real estate photography, but a multitude of services including 3D tours and accurate measurements to satisfy agents’ listing requirements. It is the perfect combination, all from one provider.

Scaling upwards

The business continues to scale upwards for Tom and his iGUIDE® camera(s). He has ongoing work with rental property owners of residential apartment buildings and commercial units. He started with shooting 8 iGUIDE®’s in a day, then 16. Currently, he is averaging between 11 and 30 in a single workday!

Increased demand from top real estate agents

Now, Sparks Media Group works with one of the area’s leading real estate agents focused on multi-million dollar condominiums. The agent first requested Tom’s Matterport® services but after seeing the results of iGUIDE®’s all-encompassing package of 3D tours, advanced measurements and floor plans, she was extremely impressed. It was iGUIDE® services from thereon.

What started as a need to fill gaps in the real estate photography industry has turned into a growing and profitable venture. Tom has expanded his equipment inventory to include four IMS-5 cameras and one PLANIX camera system to support the increase in demand for iGUIDE® services from local real estate agents.

“I did this scan yesterday https://youriguide.com/1501_university_ave_san_jose_ca 8,100 sq ft in 4 hours including the huge back yard using the PLANIX Pro on HDR 5”.

Not only does Tom now have the competitive advantage over other real estate photographers, but his passion now pairs perfectly with his purpose.