The Easiest and Fastest Way To Create a 360 Virtual Home Tour

I used to think that creating virtual tours required thousands of dollars on gear and a subscription to expensive hosting platforms. In this video, I'm going to show you how to create one with a pocket-sized camera, a smartphone, and affordable software.

The Camera

There are a ton of 360° cameras on the market that vary wildly in price. I'm going to be using the RICOH THETA X, which currently costs over $700, but it possesses unique features that justify the price such as GPS capabilities, a replaceable battery, an SD card, and a large touch screen. For a budget-friendly option, you can also get the RICOH THETA SC2. If you're planning on grabbing 2D stills from your 360° photos, you may appreciate the 60-megapixel file sizes out of the THETA X, but for your average virtual tour, the THETA SC2's 14-megapixel files will be sufficient.

The Software

To control your camera wirelessly and create and host the virtual tour, you're going to need the RICOH360 Tours smartphone app. For a short term trial, the app is free for two weeks, but if you'd like to use it for a longer period of time and create more complex tours, it will cost a monthly fee. 

The RICOH360 Tours app is capable of uploading the photos, building the virtual tour, creating the listing, and keeping tracking analytics, all from your smartphone. This means that you should be able to photograph and create a virtual tour of an average-sized house in less than 30 minutes.

Creating Your Virtual Tour

Now, let's dive into the actual process of creating your virtual tour:

  1. Position the camera at an ideal height. Experiment to find the best height for your space, but a chest-height setup is often recommended.

  2. Leave the room so that you are not in the shot. Use the Theta Tours app to control the camera remotely. Ensure each shot is well-framed, as this is how your clients will first see the images.

  3. Capture the 360° images, and the app will automatically upload them to the cloud as you go.

  4. Label each photograph to keep things organized.

Once you've captured the necessary images, you can view your tour within the app, and it's already shareable. You can also add a floor plan, location markers, and descriptions to enhance the tour's depth.

Showcasing Your Virtual Tour

The best part is that the app keeps track of views, offering valuable analytics for your virtual tour. You can also generate a listing paragraph using AI, simplifying the listing process.

Another fantastic feature is the ability to export 2D photos from any part of the 360° shots while creating the virtual tour. This means that you can simultaneously capture images for your listing which will save time and reduce costs.

Additionally, Ricoh's unique AI image enhancement technology automatically improves the quality of your 360° images, making it even easier to create a high-quality virtual tour. With AI Video Maker, select up to 15 of your top 360˚ images and Ricoh’s AI technology will auto generate a realistic marketing video of your property. Auto Image Cropping allows AI to automatically create attractive 2D images from 360˚ images uploaded to RICOH360 Tours that can be used to promote your property. And the AI Virtual Staging Beta feature automatically arranges virtual furniture and accessories on 360˚ images in vacant rooms to make the space more attractive and allow clients to visualize themselves living in the home.

The Real Estate Photography Opportunity

Real estate photography is extremely accessible and by offering virtual tours, it will easily set your services apart. 

Realtors are often willing to pass on the cost to the homeowner, making virtual tours an extremely easy sell. If you're already shooting photographs of homes, there's no reason you shouldn't have one of these pocket-sized cameras in your bag. If you're considering getting into real estate photography, virtual tours could help you break into the industry.




RICOH360 Tours


Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of

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I use a Theta V for real estate, including the Zillow floor plan. If I'm adding a custom virtual tour, I edit color (Zillow doesn't allow post processing) in PS and host the tour with Kuula. I also shoot hotels, using a Nikon D500 crop sensor camera, a Sigma 8mm, and specific Nodal Ninja pano head made only for that lens, bracket in manual exposure, then stitching in PTGui. Sound like a PITA? It is. The Theta is a no brainer, and is more than adequate for real estate. The bracketed, edited, D500/Sigma 8mm/Nodal Ninja gives vastly better pics, but is labor intensive, and overkill for 99% of real estate.

I had a Theta Z1 for a little while, but the quality was terrible, unless you had nice, even light (what home has that?). Decided to do them with a Sony a6000 and an 8mm lens. The nice thing is I can add flash if I need to. The quality is tons better.