Google Business Photos

Scandinavian Furniture & Design - Birmingham AL Commercial Photographer by Tommy Daspit

As I’ve mentioned before, referrals are the life blood of my business. I’m honored when a client is so thrilled with the results of my work that they recommend me to their own clients, friends, and family. This is an especially high honor when the referral is coming from a fellow photographer. That was the case with this shoot. Alanna Rose, a senior portrait and commercial head shot specialist, shares a building with Scandinavian Design Gallery a furniture store in Hoover. She recently expanded her senior portrait work (she is contracted by Hoover High School for all of their photos) and wanted to make here incoming clients feel more comfortable and find the studio more easily. So she had me do a Google virtual tour of the space. She was so happy with the results that she sent me over to see Theresa at Scandinavian Design! 

I will confess that there is an added level of pressure to make sure everything is perfect when you know another photographer will be scrutinizing the result. This was true when I did her studio and was true again when I photographed the furniture showroom. Not that I ever “slack off” when doing any shoot. I’m nothing if not a perfectionist and strive to always improve my work and do the best job for each and every client. There is just a little more anxiety when you know the results are going to be looked at that more closely!

So here are the end results. I created the Google tour and conventional commercial photos of the showroom. I did a little extra thing as well… You can see below a quick behind the scenes video. My process is a little unique in comparison to many other photographers. The conventional still photos are actually a composite of many individual photos. I will “light paint” the scene with a strobe. The end result is something that would be difficult to achieve in a single image. See for yourself by checking out the quick timelapse video of the process!

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Check out this quick YouTube video I created showing a little behind the scenes on how this shoot was done.

Diamonds Direct - Birmingham AL Commercial Photography by Tommy Daspit

Birmingham Alabama Interiors Photography

There’s an interesting, and as of yet, unexplained phenomenon of the Google Maps Business View program. Any business, that wants people to come to it, can benefit from a Google tour. Restaurants, bars, cafes, clinics, dress shops, dentists, doctors, hospitals, car dealerships, daycare centers, attorneys, event venus, and you get the idea. I work with a wide variety of businesses to help them stand out on Google. The mystery is why there will be streaks of one particular type of business. I might do 3 or 4 restaurants in a row and turn around and it’s 3 or 4 dentists the next month. It’s not like I’m going out and specifically targeting those types of business. All of a sudden I’ll be getting inquires from nothing but lawyers and nothing else. Here lately it’s been Jewelry stores. A couple of weeks ago it was Bromberg’s and this week Diamonds Direct.

I’m not sure if they’re keeping close tabs on the competition and they want to make sure they don’t fall behind or if it’s the universe bringing them all in line at the same time. Whatever the root cause I won’t question it! The truth is that the business world, especially the retail environment, is very competitive. The landscape of what appeals to potential customers is constantly changing. Once upon a time a business without a yellow pages ad was soon headed for the liquidation sale. Then it was websites (I can’t understand businesses that don’t have at least this), next came social media (no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn? Good luck!). 

Today it’s the mobile device. Consumers aren’t waiting to get home to then fire up the computer to find what they’re looking for. We are using our phones and tablets on the go to research where to go and what to buy. The business that understands this, and maximizes their presence in the online mobile environment will have a competitive edge on their competition. Here’s some interesting statistics that bear this out:

17 Billion - Number of unique searches in the United States each month.

66 - Percentage of those searches done on Google.

85 - Percentage of consumers searching online for local businesses.

500 - Percentage growth in mobile phone searches on Google in the past 2 years.

200 Million - Number of searches each month on mobile Google Maps.

By 2016 mobile searches will exceed those on desktop/laptop computers. 

Soon, if not already, your businesses presence in Google local/mobile search results will be as critical as the yellow pages of old. Google local is becoming the new go to directory for people looking for businesses in their area. The virtual tour that I create goes a long way in making that presence as good as possible. When consumers see a thumbnail image that says “see inside” they click it. They are intrigued and take that virtual tour. If they like what they see they may never hit the “back” button. Even if they do, if your business has they virtual tour and the next one doesn’t, which one are they more likely to view favorably?  The equation is pretty simple. Google Virtual tour + your business = more customers.

Back to Diamonds direct… I didn’t know that they had locations in North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama, and Texas. They contacted me about getting the Google tour done for Birmingham because they’d already had it done for the other locations. They already knew what a great marketing tool it was and wanted to make sure all of their stores had it. I think that in of itself is a good testament to the value of the program.

This was the first time I’d been inside and I was very impressed! Of course you hear their radio commercials a lot but I really didn't have any concept of what it looked like. Diamonds Direct is one of the largest jewelry stores I’ve ever seen. The selection and amenities were impressive. Even more impressive was the quality of the staff working there. Everyone was exceedingly friendly, well organized, and had great attention to detail. It truly is a pleasure working with people like this in creating photography of the business. I can see why they’ve been so successful with people like this working there!

So check out the still photos and virtual tour that I created. You can learn more about Diamonds Direct in Birmingham on their website!

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Learn more about the Google Maps Business View Program here. Have a business that could benefit from a Google tour or high quality commercial photography? Contact me today to see how I can help you stand out from your competition.

Bayshore Addiction Treatment Center - Destin FL Google Maps Business View by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

A drug and alcohol rehab facility isn’t normally what people would normally think of as a good candidate for the Google Maps Business View Virtual tour. Fortunately Alli Denning from denning e-solutions has the ability to see outside the norm and find ways of promoting her clients in creative and effective ways.

Alli designed the website and does SEO (Search engine optimization) for Bayshore Retreat a small but very unique, drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Destin Florida. She asked me if I would be able to create a tour of the facility. Of course I could! I coordinated with owner, Judy, who has been amazing, and drove down to Destin.

I will say that Bayshore is not what I would normally think of when it comes to a treatment facility! First off, it’s a beautiful home. It has a home feeling and atmosphere. You don’t feel like you’re in a bad place. It doesn’t feel medical or austere like so many similar places. Then there’s the view! Located right on the water you can look out any bedroom window and see the bay. I was very excited to be able to create this tour. Not only is it an amazing place, but they do great things in people’s lives. I love being able to help a business that helps others!

Check out the virtual tour and conventional, commercial still photos that I created below. You can learn more about Bayshore on their Google + Page and website (be sure to check out the website, Alli did a great job embedding the tour seamlessly into the homepage!)

Learn more about Denning e-solutions on their Google + pageand website.

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B&A Warehouse - Birmingham AL Google Virtual Tour by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

I’m very excited and proud to show off the 360º virtual walk through tour and commercial photography I created of B&A Warehouse in downtown Birmingham, Alabama!

I’ve been to several events at B&A and I’ve known Susan Mason, the owner, from my days as a wedding photographer. I knew what an amazing space it was and I wanted to show it off in my portfolio. B&A is in an amazing location. They are right across the street from Railroad Park and right next to Regions Field. They are really in the heart of Birmingham’s downtown revitalization. I felt that they could really benefit from the Google tour, especially as a sales aid. Often people are planning events from afar. Weddings, rehearsal dinners, parties, corporate events, etc. come with different needs. It can be hard to know if a venue is going to be a good fit or not. By having the 360º tour, event venues can help people save time. They can avoid going to places that will never be a good fit or allow them to secure the needed space without physically going in first.

However, I did have a bit of a challenge convincing Susan! They had already had a 360º tour done by a competitor and they weren’t getting the results they expected. I can definitely understand this but there are some major differences between that product and the Google one!

As compared to the competition here are some advantages Google offers:

  • It’s on Google. Instead of being limited to the tour providers website, the Google tour comes up everywhere your business appears on Google. Google Maps, Google StreetView, Google Local, and Google search results.
  • You can embed it live directly on your website and Facebook pages. The other tour is a link to the provider’s website. When potential customers view the tour they actually leave the businesses website. With the Google tour it can be embedded seamlessly!
  • It’s mobile friendly. The other tours are Adobe Flash based. This means that they’re incompatible with most mobile phones and tablets. The Google tour not only works on those devices it also recognizes and optimizes the tour for the best user experience.
  • There’s a n SEO (search engine optimization) benefit. I verify the businesses information to Google and the tour is embedded right on the Google + Local or Google My Business Page for the business. This helps with the search result rankings.
  • Much higher quality. The Google tour looks great at full screen on a 27” monitor or a smart phone screen. Other tours are much smaller and pixilated by comparison.
  • Commercial still images are included. Along with the 360º virtual tour, up to ten conventional commercial still photos are created. The business has the rights to the images, allowing them to be used in print materials as well as digital media.
  • One time cost. Other tour options have a monthly or annual cost. They must be renewed or they go away. Once created, the Google tour never expires.
  • Money back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you get your money back. It’s as simple as that!

Once we were able to fully demonstrate the differences and how it looked Susan and her team could see the value. I’m so glad too because this is one unique and amazing venue!

Take a look at the still images and virtual tour below. You can learn more about B&A Warehouse on their website.

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Agoge Fitness Systems - Birmingham AL Google Business View by nikonic1976@yahoo.com

My good friend Greg Boggs of Vehicle Media works out at Agoge Fitness Systems in Birmingham, Alabama. We've worked on a few projects together and he mentioned to Dave, the owner that what I do with the Google Maps Business View virtual tours could be a really big help for his gym. Agoge is a little unusual. It's in the same building and behind another fitness facility. There's no outside signage. If you didn't know it was there you'd never have any idea. This obviously poses some challenges. Even when people do know about you it could be hard for them to find. The Google 360º tour and photos are perfect for this. Now, everywhere Agoge comes up on Google potential members can see not only the surrounding area (like street view), but inside as well!

I knew that if Greg was friends with Dave that he must be a good guy. However, I didn't know just how awesome he was until his phone rang! I was setting up when all of a sudden I heard the Dr Who theme song! For those of you who aren't familiar (see what I did there), Dr Who is a Sci Fi series that's been running on BBC since the late 60's. Fans of the show are a small subset of the Sci Fi geek community. I happen to be one of them. I even went as the shows main character (The Doctor) for Halloween. I knew then that Dave and I were kindred spirits and I enjoyed talking Dr Who with him as much as photographing his business!

Another geeky note, the name of the business comes from ancient Greek history. The Agoge was the training facility for Spartan warriors. It was the crucible that formed not only their bodies but their minds as well. This is the philosophy that Dave has adopted for his training. It's different from the normal cross fit or gym. You can tell from the people who are member that this is much more of a total experience than just a workout!

So if you are looking for something like that, want to work with an awesome Dr Who geek, and live in the Birmingham area, then you should give Dave a call! Learn more about Agoge on their website and take the virtual tour below!

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