We recently had the opportunity to connect with Yuriy Divonchuk, a professional photographer, with a focus on real estate and property listings. Read on to learn about his experience capturing 360 images and virtual tours with RICOH THETA.

Hi, Yuriy! We’re so excited to speak with you today. Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into photography? 

I hail from Ukraine, but relocated to the United States in 2015 and currently reside in Chicago. My long-standing passion has been photography, especially when I travel. About four years ago, I was inspired to leave my stressful corporate job and pursue photography full-time. And I haven’t looked back – it has been very rewarding and I’m grateful I was able to turn my passion into a career.

We would like to learn more about you, Yuriy! Can you tell us a bit more about your photography business and the type of photography you specialize in?

I focus on residential, commercial, AirBnB, and short term rental photography and am completely self taught. I have been honing my skills for four years since I transitioned to photography full-time. My business, Three Nine Media, offers full media services to clients, including standard, 360-degree, drone, and aerial photography, as well as virtual tour creation. 

I conduct about 25-70 photography projects a month in Chicago and utilize the RICOH THETA Z1 to capture immersive photos of projects, which I then convert to virtual tours using RICOH360 Tours. This camera has been very helpful in helping me showcase properties at the highest level. Much like my training with traditional photography, I read many manuals, blogs and watched YouTube tutorials to master the RICOH THETA Z1 and get as much out of it as possible. I also recently acquired the new RICOH THETA X model to test.

That's interesting! We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the RICOH THETA X and RICOH 360 Tours. What are some aspects you enjoy about them? 

For capturing 360-degree images, the RICOH THETA X is my camera of choice because of its versatility, compact design, and ability to capture striking images. The large touch screen display is the THETA X’s strongest feature, as it's very responsive and helpful in viewing photos captured in real time. Additionally, I appreciate the convenience of the removable battery, which sets it apart from other 360 cameras on the market. This allows me to carry extra batteries with me, eliminating the worry of not being able to complete a project due to a dead battery. And with its impressive memory capabilities, there is no need to carry a backup camera on site. I look forward to the availability of the fish eye on iOS for my business in the future. 

About three years ago, I started offering  virtual  tours as an additional photography service for my clients.  I like how RICOH360 Tours incorporates artificial intelligence to enhance the user experience, especially the ability to generate floor plans and even virtually stage a space. Within my line of work, this aspect is very helpful and adds to my ability to visualize properties in different ways. 

360º interior views of a living room in Evanston, IL
using the RICOH THETA Z1

That's very nice! Have you tried any other platforms? Can you compare those against RICOH360 Tours?

I have tested other platforms such as Matterport and Zillow. While testing RICOH360 Tours, I was impressed with how easy it was to use, especially since it was my first time using the platform. The dashboard is simple and easy to operate when editing. As I tested, I was able to create hotspots within the floorplan seamlessly. Personally, I saw a big increase in the demand for 360 tours during the pandemic. This might change over time, of course, but I see them continuing to be an important service for real estate photographers in the future. They have certainly changed the game for me and what I am able to offer clients. 

360º interior views of a dining area in Chicago, IL
using the RICOH THETA Z1

We are so happy to hear that! Finally, would you like to share any tips or tricks? 

I don’t have too many to share because overall, the RICOH THETA is so easy to use, I didn’t need to figure out many shortcuts or time savers. If anything, utilizing the RICOH THETA app on my phone was really helpful and seamless. I recommend users take advantage of utilizing the app to shoot remotely and change shooting settings. I also think planning ahead and mapping out your shots whenever you can is helpful. Using a monopod to get the perfect height for a shot is great, too! 

Thank you so much for the wonderful photos and YouTube video that you’ve captured with THETA! You can follow Yuriy’s work via Three Nine Media on Instagram. For more details, please visit the product page on theta360.com.