360 images, also called VR images or spherical panorama images, are one of the coolest things ever invented. 360 images give viewers the illusion that they are within the experience, instead of viewing it from afar, removing the detached, remote element of traditional photography. While previously, photography always had to pick a specific point a view, now 3D offers all points of view simultaneously! Once we contented ourselves only with passive, flat photos, and now we’re enjoying immersive, interactive ones.
There are lots of differences in the way 3D photos are taken, compared to traditional photography. But since 360 photography is still a new field, there aren’t any Golden Rules to follow, so experimentation is the key to understanding your VR gear, its capabilities and potential. Nevertheless, whether you’re an experienced or a beginner photographer, here are some invaluable tips for creating astounding 3D images that might help you get you 360 game started.
- When using a dual-lens 360 camera (such as Ricoh Theta or YI 360) on an outdoor daytime shoot, try to align the sun with the part of the camera that’s between the lenses. This way, the sun won’t be positioned directly before the lenses, which will support the camera software’s efforts to overcome the white-balance and exposure. So instead an uneven half-light/half-dark photo, you’ll enjoy more evenly spread lighting.
- Use an elongated tripod with small legs. When shooting 360 you’re obviously trying to capture some breathtaking view in all its detailed splendor. But that doesn’t mean you want ALL the details – like the filming equipment – to appear in the photo. The smaller the legs of your tripod and the taller it is, the easier it will be to hide beneath the camera. Just make sure the legs aren’t too small, otherwise the tripod will just collapse.
- If you need to use a normal tripod, or if the ground isn’t important enough to include in the shot, consider placing a green piece of cardboard beneath the camera on top of the tripod. This way you can simply edit your company’s logo or the logo of your customers at the bottom with Photoshop.
- Another option is taking a picture of the ground and combining the two shots to make the tripod disappear.
- The same could be done for the sky. Were you planning for a beautiful sunny day but got a heavily clouded one instead? You can just take a couple of good photos of the sky on a clear day (the less cloudy the better) and use that sky in other shots. This is also great for eliminating the rotors of a drone if you’re using one.
- Have you ever wanted to be invisible? Finally, your dream can come true! Just like with the tripod and rotors, when shooting 360, you shoot EVERYTHING around the camera, including yourself. Whether it’s a bustling urban scene or a desolate desert with nothing around, you don’t want to just stand idly next to the camera, appearing to twiddle with your gadgets. Most people would advise you to hide around the corner or behind a tree. But maybe you’re afraid something might happen to your gear, or maybe you don’t want to be away from your precious camera for too long. The smartest thing would be to ghost yourself by taking two different shots and overlaying them to make yourself disappear. That way you can keep your equipment, while being effectively invisible. BTW, this works best in static environments.
- Sometimes it can be challenging to get your tripod into small or closed places. On the inside of a car or a machine, it might be difficult to keep your camera steady without a tripod. The solution? Just use a string! Tie your camera (tightly) to a strong piece of sting and just let it hang. Gravity will do the stabilization work for you, so all you’ll need to do is activate the camera from your phone or any other distant remote you might have.
Most importantly, have fun, try out your own ideas, and take amazing photos!