Google Maps Business View

Children's Family Harbor - Commercial Photography - Birmingham, AL by Tommy Daspit

 Tommy Daspit is a Birmingham AL based commercial, architectural, real estate, and Google StreetView Trusted photographer.

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They say word of mouth is the best form of advertising. However, before you can get good word of mouth, you must first do good work. For those giving you that recommendation have to trust that you will do a good job for their friend, client, or coworker. After all, it’s their reputation that is most on the line in this situation. That’s why I’m very proud of the fact that the overwhelming majority of my business comes from referrals. I actually do very little in the way of advertising and marketing. My former clients, and business parters are my marketing and sales force. It’s something that I a humbled by and always drives me to do even better so that trust might be kept.

This shoot is one that I’m doubly proud of. One, it was a referral from fellow Helena Business Association member Jason Oits, owner of Perk Brands. His company does search engine optimization, marketing, social media, websites, branding, and email marketing. Children’s Harbor Family life center is one of his clients. He’s creating a new website and marketing campaign for them. Their mission is to create a place where very sick children, ones living in Children’s Hospital long term, can go to get away from the daily hospital existence. There’s a game room, computers, basketball court, family kitchen, learning resource center, fitness center, salon, quiet spaces, library, and much more. There’s no cost to the families and the benefits to the children can’t really be measured.

Driven by private donations, Children’s Harbor is constantly needing to market to potential philanthropists, while also increasing awareness of families and children to its existence. Jason knew that I Google 360º virtual tour and my commercial still images would help accomplish both of those goals. Donors could walk through and see all of the facility and see how professional, beautiful, and comprehensive Children’s Harbor is. Parents and Children could see all the offerings and be all the more comfortable once there.

Having spent a lot of time at the Dallas Children’s Hospital with my sister many years ago I had a special appreciation for the mission of Children’s Harbor. I was honored that Jason would refer me to this important client, and that Children’s harbor would choose me to showcase their facility. I’m proud to show off the final results and I know it will serve them well in both goals!

To learn more about Children’s Harbor visit them on their website!

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Pathway Pediatrics - Birmingham AL Commercial Photography by Tommy Daspit

Tommy Daspit is a commercial, architectural, real estate, and Google Trusted Photographer in Birmingham, AL

I recently created a Google 360º virtual tour for a newly opened pediatric clinic in Chelsea. They were working with Vehicle Media, a local web design company that I’ve partnered with on several projects in the past, to develop their website. They recommended that I create the Google tour and photos for the site design. I have always enjoyed working with Paul and Greg at Vehicle Media. They do great work and it’s nice to know that they trust me with their clients. I make it a point to only refer my clients to businesses that I know will take good care of them. After all it’s my reputation on the line as well!

I met with Megan, the practice manager and lactation nurse, before construction on the office was complete. Even in it’s unfinished state I knew it would be a great looking place and I was looking forward to photographing it!

In addition to the 360º tour and conventional commercial photos, I also created an interactive version of the tour with HotSpots. This is a new thing I’m offering on the Google tours (see this page to learn more). For the version of the tour embedded on the client’s website and Facebook pages, I can make it interactive. It can be customized with a navigation menu, automatic information when specific areas are viewed, and icons placed throughout that viewers can click on for more information. For example I can embed photo galleries, videos, links to websites or files, more details, etc. It helps a business engage more with the client, keeps them there longer, and helps them feel more connected to the business. It really takes the Google tour to a whole new level!

I’ve embedded the interactive tour below so give it a spin! Let me know what you think in the comments below or send me a message if you'd like to learn more about how this can benefit your company!

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Learn more about what the Google Street View Trusted Program can do for your business.

Ridge Crossings - Birmingham AL Google Maps Business View Photography by Tommy Daspit

Recently I created a Google Virtual tour and commercial photos for Ridge Crossings, an amazing luxury apartment complex in Hoover. This was easily the largest complex I’ve ever seen and had the most amenities that I’ve ever seen. There’s a nature trail, a huge exercise facility, movie theatre, racket ball court, playground, tennis courts, grill pavilion with three grills, a huge clubhouse with free coffee, a dog park, a carwash facility, and two swimming pools! I’ve never even heard of such an apartment community, let alone photograph one!

Needless to say I had a lot of fun with this one. The Google tour covers the clubhouse and pool area, while the conventional still images cover the other areas, including a couple of model units. Out of all the features I will say that the movie theatre was my favorite. It was a special challenge to photograph. The black ceilings and windowless walls meant that it would be difficult to light in a way that wouldn't be harsh. I also wanted to convey the feeling that a movie theatre should provide. You don’t want a bright room for movie watching but I still needed to show what it was. The solution was to combine many exposures into one. I did an existing light image of the room as the base image. It was dark of course and you couldn’t really see much detail. That was ok, the next part of the process would fix that. I attached a speedlight (small flash unit) to a stick. It had a grid mounted to the front. This kept the beam of light from the flash narrow and only on the parts of the scene I wanted to light. I then lit each chair and each photo on the wall with individual flash bursts. All total it was about 20 photographs combined into one final image. The result is a photo that lets you see what the room is without compromising the mood of the space!

This is just one of the things that I do to create unique images to help my clients separate themselves from their competition. It’s a more time consuming process, both during the initial creation of the image, and in the computer post processing. I feel that the results speak for themselves!

Learn more about Ridge Crossings on their Google + page where you can see more photos and the virtual tour!

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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.

Introducing Hotspots for Google Virtual Tours by Tommy Daspit

After much tweaking, testing, and perfecting, I’m excited to announce the new HotSpot option for Google virtual tours!

A Google Maps Business View 360º virtual tour is one of the best ways to improve your businesses visibility on Google, connect with potential customers in a unique way, and stand out from your competition. There aren’t many marketing platforms that can provide the return on investment that the Google tour provides. 

The HotSpot feature takes that value to a whole new level. It allows businesses to make Google tours embedded on their website and Facebook pages into guided, interactive tours. Potential customers will be able to “jump” from one part of the tour to the next with a navigation menu. Strategically placed markers will allow them to see YouTube videos, photo galleries, restaurant menus, product information, links, reserve specific tables, purchase specific items, get additional information, call, and directly contact the business right through the tour! 

Each HotSpot is customizable and tailored to each individual business. They can decide what to say, what kind of interaction, and where to place it! I work with each business to create an experience their customers can find nowhere else. With a low monthly rate and no contract, it’s an incredible value as well!


Check out the example I created for Cocina Superior Restaurant. Click the icons to see photo galleries, menus, reserve tables, inquire about catering, and more!

Learn more about the HotSpot option here. Can your business benefit from a Google Tour with HotSpots? Contact me today to find out what works for you!