[ ABOVE: One of Kelly Marshall‘s shots for Stella’s Southern Bistro’s virtual tour. ]
Kelly Marshall, owner of We Shot That LLC and a professional photographer for more than 10 years, recently transitioned from shooting weddings and portraits to more of a niche area: creating virtual tours of businesses for Google.
Google Business View works much like the popular Street View on Google Maps. But rather than seeing only the outside of businesses, viewers can go inside.
Marshall creates the tour by setting up a tripod in different areas throughout the business and taking photos from 360 degrees at each location. Afterward, she selects the best shots and uploads them to software provided by Google that stitches the photos together.
She says she does only minimal editing to the photos because the images are not supposed to distort the businesses’ appearance. “So whenever you see a tour, you can really know that is what is looks like inside,” she said.
Jason and Julia Scholz, owners of Stella’s Southern Bistro, recently asked Marshall to create a tour for their business. Choosing to do the tour “really was an easy business decision to make,” Jason Scholz said. “It’s got … a sense of permanence about it.” The couple liked the fact that anyone searching for their business on the popular search engine could instantly get an inside view.
Meric Gambel, director of business development for We Shot That, said the tours typically cost businesses about $650, though prices range from $350 to $2,000.
Google doesn’t pay We Shot That for creating the tours, nor do businesses pay Google to put the tours online. We Shot That charges a onetime fee to create the tour, upload it to Google and help the business owner embed the tour on a website or Facebook page. We Shot That also produces royalty-free images for businesses.
Marshall started training to create Business View tours back in 2012 after Google representatives contacted her in a search for professional photographers. She launched her business in early 2013, and now creates virtual business tours full time.
Gambel said We Shot That is “putting Greenville on the map” by showcasing interesting businesses in the area.
He acts as a scout for businesses and looks for ones that have an “awesome” ambiance and are locally owned.
“We’re not going to Applebee’s and Church’s Chicken. We’re looking for the cool factor,” he said.
Marshall has made a name for herself as a Google Trusted Photographer. She is listed on Google’s website as the top-performing photographer in the state. And Gambel said in the two years they’ve been in business, We Shot That has done over 600 total tours in South Carolina.
But one tour stands out among the rest.
Marshall recently won the Most Creative Tour Award for 2014 for the tour she did of Clemson University’s Memorial Stadium. Google representatives chose that tour out of the thousands of Business View tours published throughout North America.
For the tour, Marshall said she spent a week snapping an estimated 7,000-10,000 photos throughout the stadium, getting behind-the-scenes looks at places fans can’t usually go, such as Dabo Swinney’s office, the president’s box and the weight room.
The whole process took about a month to complete, Marshall said. “It was a very tedious job – but very rewarding too,” she said.
See some of Kelly Marshall’s Google Business Views
Memorial Stadium, Clemson: goo.gl/hBPF6I
Stella’s Southern Bistro: goo.gl/maps/F3Qzj
Find more at weshotthat.com/see-inside