Why universities are adding 3D virtual tours to enhance their promotional photography

Mar 20, 20193D virtual tours

With UK students now paying their own university tuition fees, the competition to fill places means that universities are having to make much more of a business case in order to attract new talent.

Fortunately, in this increasingly digital age, the opportunities to gain a competitive advantage are also growing exponentially.

And just lately, this has included some forward thinking universities adding 3D virtual tours to the still photography on their websites in order to better showcase both their teaching and student living accommodation, allowing prospective applicants to ‘step into’ a photograph and then explore the immediate areas in huge detail.

ACT studios photography takes a closer look.

Why has the competition amongst universities increased?

In 2012, the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government trebled the amount of tuition fees that universities could charge, taking the full amount up to £9,000 per annum.

And in 2014, it lifted a previous cap on the number of student places each institution could offer.

Where once students had competed for a finite number of university places each year, instead universities found themselves competing to enroll as many students as possible in order to secure much needed finances.

What is 3D virtual photography?

Imagine creating an image that looks just like a photograph. Until you click on it.

At which point, you are taken right into the picture itself, giving you a 360 degree view of the room and the ability to actually walk around it and explore fully. Along with the ability to zoom into any part of it you like.

3D virtual tours not only allow you to connect with your prospects, they also help speed up the decision making process as well as increase customer confidence that what they are about to commit to will meet their expectations on arrival.

How can 3D virtual photography help market university places?

At ACT studios, we know that great photography should capture your prospect’s attention, encouraging them to spend more time on your site before converting to make a sale – whether that’s booking a hotel for the night, or applying for a university place.

When it comes to engagement, Act Studio’s three dimensional virtual tours take photography to another level. And they are perfect for helping universities with their digital marketing:

360 degree views of student accommodation

Perhaps a would-be student would like to explore the university’s halls of residence in more detail? What will their room look like? What’s the view from the window? How many plugs are there and where is the bathroom in relation to their bedroom?

Reassurance for parents

Or perhaps it’s their parents who want to browse the location in more detail, in order to seek reassurance that their child will be well provided for if they take up a place.

Virtual tours for overseas students

3D virtual tours are particularly helpful for overseas students, many of whom will not otherwise have the luxury of visiting their chosen university in advance of the start of term.

Help for less mobile student with access concerns

For those students with mobility issues, queries about access are a very real concern – and easily answered by this kind of ‘step in photography’. 3D photography can be really useful to give context to a viewer – so that they know not only where their room is but how far it is from communal spaces and cooking facilities.

Present 3 different views of the same building

Alongside being able to step into a photograph of an individual room, 3D virtual tours also allow you to present an interactive 2D floor plan of a building, which can then easily morph into a 3D, ‘doll house’ view of the property itself, allowing the viewer to zoom in and out of every room at their leisure.

3D tours photography is inherently honest in its portrayal of a location: a world away from carefully staged, static images, which can often focus on the sweet spots and hold back on some of the bigger details of the surrounding area.

How the University of Birmingham brought their student accommodation to life with 3D virtual tours photography

ACT Studios has long been a pioneer of 3D virtual tours photography, seeing it as a natural extension of its professional photography services.

So it was a pleasure to photograph the halls of residence and student accommodation at The University of Birmingham when they recently requested help with their digital photography.

The result is a fully immersive user experience, which allows prospective Birmingham University students to browse all the main halls of residence, including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and communal areas.

What’s involved in booking a 3D tours photography shoot?

Photographing a location for the production of both still imagery and 3D interactive tours is a remarkably smooth and effortless process.

ACT Studios photographers are highly trained in the operation of all our camera equipment and carry the specialist Matterport cameras for creating 3D tours as standard when attending a shoot.

From this standard shoot, we then produce a series of high resolution still photographs as well as the Matterport 360 interactive files for the 3D tours.

Our team of post-production editors carefully edit all shots and can assist with the straightforward process of uploading both stills and virtual tours to a client’s website.

When is the best time to book a 3D tours photography shoot?

Undoubtedly, the best time of year to book a 3D tours photography shoot for a university is during the spring or summer, when students are away for the Easter break or off for the whole of the summer holidays.

Not only is the university campus likely to be much quieter during this time, making is less disruptive to all concerned, but the local surroundings and university grounds will be in full bloom, including the trees, which generally produces a much more positive image of an area than one taken in the middle of winter.

How to book 3D virtual tours hospitality photography

If you would like to find out more about how 3D virtual tours can help improve the marketing of your educational establishment, then please just get in touch.

We’re a small and very friendly team who are committed to producing the very best in high resolution, hospitality photography. It’s all we do and we have spent a good number of years honing our craft.

ACT Studios operates throughout the UK, from the far north of Scotland, right down to the southernmost tip of Cornwall. And everywhere in between.

We are always more than happy to talk you through any aspect of our professional photography services, without obligation.

And what’s more, we know that our work makes a big difference. (Ask us about the time just one photography we took resulted in a holiday cottage selling 40 weeks of bookings within 2 weeks of it going live!)