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360 photography technology is here to stay and now is a very good opportunity to enjoy this new trend. Whether you run a business or are an amateur, harnessing its power now is a good move. Since you might be new to all this, we’ve decided to help you out to make the most of this exciting technology. Don't believe me ? Take a look to this great - straight to the point - beginner guide to VR and 360 photography.

Let's go!


What is 360 photography and why you should care


VR/360 photography is the art of shooting a location from many angles, creating a full spherical view. You can shoot one from your smartphone, from a dedicated 360° device or from a DSLR . I will get back to this later on.


The raw - flattened result of a 360 photography looks like this :


Flat 360 photography


It wouldn’t be accessible to us if there was no technology and software to support it. But thanks to technology ( and Panoraven :-), we are now able to view those great 360 images in this VR viewer below :

 


You can navigate the picture in all direction. Great isn't it ?


Now let me ask you a simple question : why do we take classical photos ? Of course your answer will depend on your job but here are some most common answers :

  • To present a product or a service.
  • To capture a souvenir.
  • To share them with friends.
  • To describe your environment.


Now for all those points, which do you think is better : a flat image or a 360 view ?

Please make your choice with this little comparison :


Mountains 360 picture



Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying bye bye to classical photo. It will always be here as an art and for specific needs. But for the rest, won't it be easier to rent your flat with a 360 view ? Won't it be easier to describe where you are to your friends ? Won't it be easier to remember those great moments in your life?


Let's face it, 360-degree images are awesome. And leverage them if you run a business is a killer idea.

Let's take a look to some business use cases.


Some great use cases for 360 photography


Because 360 images are so rich, they can help any company to promote their brands.
First, by the fact it's a cutting edge technology, using 360 images to promote your brand is a good move. Indeed, it conveys a good first impression because it's new and shiny, known as "WOW Factor". Beyond that, every business would win from achieving immersion of their customers. Easy examples : if I choose to eat outside tonight, I would be glad to see the dining room of the restaurant. Or imagine now that I want to rent an hotel room. I will definitely love to inspect the room before I pay for it. Now a less obvious one to show you that it could benefit all businesses. Let's say I need to go to the dentist but I'm afraid of it. It would be a pain reliever for me to see the clean room with brand new material. Do you see the point ?

There are endless possibilities to raise your brand awareness from 360 photography.


Tourism Industry

Hotels and travel agencies around the globe are already using it to get a competitive edge. Imagine being able to experience destination or accommodation you are planning to visit? This helps travelers make smarter decisions about their travel plans.


Blogging Sphere

Sharing authentic experiences with the audience is in general a fair part of a blogger work. With VR and 360-degree imagery, you can be more creative and experiment with this new medium. Whether you are writing about your last travel or a new food recipe, it will help your audience to feel closer.


Real estate - Home building

Imagine the time and money all parties involved in the home building process can save with this tech. Capturing the look of all the completed housing projects is a cash and time saver. No more frustration for customers - and more sells for the real estate agencies.


Rental market

Thinking about renting your flat or house ? Renting a meeting room ? Then like for the real estate industry you should definitely use 360 photos.


Scouting

For film makers, 360 tech could be used for scouting interesting places to shoot from.


Photographers

Being Pro photographer is more competitive than ever before. Everybody with a DSLR feel like they can do the job and sell their services. To stand out from the crowd, leveraging 360 photos could delight your customers.


What material do you need ?


 Option 1 : a smartphone

360 pic with smartphone You can take one with your smartphone using street view app. The process is to take several photos of the same location and let street view stich them to make a 360° view.


Pros : 

  • Do not need investing in a dedicated device.
  • Can generate better quality than a dedicated 360 camera depending on your smartphone.


Cons : 

  • Non adapted to capture something moving. For example it's hard to take a great 360 of the sea with your smartphone.
  • Non adapted to tiny spaces. For example, it's hard to take a good 360 of a bathroom.



Option 2 : a 360 camera


ricoh theta

If you don't have already one, you can consider about investing. We selected the 3 best 360 camera for 2018 here. Choose Ricoh Theta V for commercial use. Samsung 360 gear 2017 for personal use and Garmin Virb 360 for adventurers.

Pros : 

  • Can take something in movement (only one shot compared to several with a smartphone). Can take even confined room for the same reason.
  • Press one button to shoot. Very easy to handle.

Cons:

  • Need to invest in a specific camera.
  • Can be very expensive for a high quality device.

 

Option 3 : a DSLR camera


360 DSLR gear


But what about those of you who want to stick to your DSLR? you will need to set your DSLR on a tripod and shoot dozens of overlapping photos of the area. You'll get a good quality but you will have to stitch them in post-processing yourself though.


Pros : 

  • You will get the best quality possible.


Cons:

  • Expensive + need specific gears
  • Heavy post processing
  • Skill required
  • Hard to take something in movement
  • Hard to take close objects


How to shoot a 360 photo ?


From your smartphone

You will find here our full tutorial to make it perfect.


From your 360 camera

Two options here. First one, you can hold the device and push the button yourself. In this case, your arm will be on the pic and you will be very close from the lens. While you can do great photos and souvenirs this way, for better photos we recommend to use a self-timer. Most of 360 cameras have this option through the furnished app that controls the device. At this point, you don't have to be close to the device. The first thing you should pay attention to is the height from which you are going to take the photos. You can achieve this by using a suitable tripod. We recommend to get a microphone stand as it's less expensive than specific tripod. Plus the stand will be less visible on the pic than the tripod.

Once your device is on your stand, now it's all about placement. Photography is an art, and it's more true than ever with this medium. First, you should note that standard photo advices still applies. But you can be now more creative, hide something on the photo, and display much more details.


Be creative and have fun!


From your DSLR


Follow this great guide about how to shoot a 360 with a DSLR here.


How to share your awesome pictures ?


Ok so you made some great 360 photos ? Now it's time to share the world!

Upload your 360 photo to share it .Note, that you can upload several images to make it a slider. Once the upload is over, you will get access to the 360 viewer and a dashboard.

From here, you will be able to share or embed your 360.


Embed a 360 on your website.

On the dashboard, click on the code icon. You will need to paste this code in your HTML where you want this code to appear. The 360 images of this pages are embedded this way. If you do not have access to your HTML, you will be able to easily find some info by typing some google keywords as your CMD eg "Wordpress" + "paste embed code".



Share them by email, WhatsApp, SMS, Facebook, twitter...

You can also share the world by hitting the twitter, fb, WhatsApp, SMS or email button depending on your needs. You can also hit the link button and share the direct link by any other way. The receiver will have a direct access to your great 360 view !



Wrapping up


360 photography is the art to shoot a location from many angles creating a full sphere view. You can create one from a smartphone, a 360 camera or a DSLR. Now we are able to embed a 360 viewer on a website or easily share a 360 view .It all starts here. This cutting edge tech provides great new marketing opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. For amateurs, it's also a new rich medium to share your world.

We hope you liked this beginner guide, you have now all information you need to start !