OTTAWA -- A local start-up company specializing in digital photography and imaging has seen an unexpected boon in business since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, touring people through homes without having to leave theirs. 

Like any business, Point3D Commercial Imaging was born out of passion. What started as a photography business, brothers Logan and Spencer MacPherson developed their love for pictures and technology. Using infrared cameras, they create interactive and immersive 3D tours for retail spaces. 

"A lot of these businesses they pour their heart and soul into their business and they want to show it off and help attract customers," says Logan MacPherson, co-founder and COO. "By creating a 3D tour they can have it on their website exactly like a YouTube video and explore the space and get comfortable with the space prior to visiting in person."

They also use laser scanners for larger commercial developments to create models with ultra accurate measurements. However, as the pandemic spread, causing businesses to close their doors, people weren't visiting shops anymore.

The two-and-a-half year-old start-up was facing some declines in sales. MacPherson says it was scary at first but as they continued to put out work and showcase their product they began to receive calls from real estate professionals. 

Housing developers and property managers were looking to upload their entire library of homes to the web providing virtual walk-throughs. 

"The pandemic has changed a lot of stuff for us," MacPherson says. "Our business was targeted in those retail channels, we have since transitioned to a majority of real estate. We are about 80 per cent real estate right now just because there's no open houses anymore, you can't show properties in person."

Virtual tours aren't new to real estate and with a recent spike in the market, they weren't always necessary to sell homes. Where Point3D saw big gains were from commercial developers and companies holding rental properties.

MacPherson explains that with the houses online, and with the model homes closed, sales agents can guide customers through the house at the same time, while still providing the same presentation. 

The brothers are thankful for the boost, in a time where many businesses are fluttering due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are looking to hire more staff. 

"It makes us feel very fortunate for what we're doing and how we are also able to help other people continue their work their business that way they can succeed as well as ourselves."