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Why you'll be taking a ton of 360-degree photos next year

Why you'll be taking a ton of 360-degree photos next year
© Marbenzu | Dreamstime

If you’ve ever seen a photograph that gave you an all-around view instead of just from a single camera angle, you’ve already experienced how immersive 360-degree photos can be. Especially for showing you what it would have been like if you were standing in the scene instead of just looking at a static picture.

YouTube features a dedicated channel for 360-degree content, and you can also broadcast it via Facebook 360.

Although it looks cool enough on a computer or gadget, the experience is especially fantastic when viewed through a virtual reality (VR) headset.

Because VR technology is easier than ever for ordinary people to get without blowing their budgets, and since major websites are making it simple for users to show off 360-degree material, learning how to take 360-degree photos is becoming a popular pastime.

If you’re interested in getting started, the information below can help.

Finding an Appropriate Camera or App

To get into the next evolution of photography, you can get these popular 360 cameras right now at Amazon.com -  Ricoh Theta S, Samsung Gear 360, or the Giroptic iO 360 iPhone lens attachment. Follow the links to take you straight to the products' Amazon page.

If you can’t afford a camera yet, do the next best thing and download a specialty app for your smartphone. Spincle is a free iOS app that takes a 360-degree photo after you spin your phone. It can also handle 360-degree videos.

There are also numerous comparable Android apps, such as Panorama 360 Camera. After tapping the “Capture” button within the app and moving your phone slowly from left to right, the app grabs the shots and stitches them together into a single, panoramic scene.

Note: You can soon use Facebook's iOS and Android mobile apps to capture 360-degree photos. The feature is currently rolling out.

Because there are so many possible cameras and apps to use, don’t choose one hastily. It’s worth your time to do research, read user reviews and learn about the pros and cons of each option. It’s even better if you know at least one friend who has a 360-degree camera or video and is willing to let you try it out.

There are also companies that allow you to rent cameras for daily rates and send them back at the end of the rental period. That arrangement could be useful if you’re getting ready to go on vacation and want to try out a 360-degree camera during your time away.

Tips for Shooting Amazing Photos

Once you’ve got the gear, the next step is to start experimenting with how to get the best results. The tips below should help.

Since a 360-degree camera shoots everything around you, it’ll be necessary to use a tripod and a timer setting, so you’re not in view. A selfie stick can also help — even if hand holding the stick stays in the shot, the selfie stick creates enough distance between yourself and the camera, meaning your hand won’t look abnormally large.

Take time to find exciting and interesting scenes. That kind of source material should give you the impressive results you seek, helping you gain momentum as a photographer. Look through the viewfinder on your camera or smartphone and slowly rotate your body at the same time. That technique gives you an idea of the kind of photos you might end up with.

If you purchased a 360-degree camera, there’s a good chance it has an accompanying app. Download it and learn the basic features before getting too involved in taking pictures. Most apps allow you to change camera settings from afar, which makes it easier to shoot only the things you want to appear in the photo.

Before uploading your 360-degree photos to a site that accepts that kind of content, such as Facebook or Flickr, find out whether you need to do anything extra to ensure everyone sees the images the way you intended.

With Facebook, for example, you only need to upload the photo the same way you would if it were a standard picture, and Facebook’s team does the rest to get it ready for the world to see.

Although this information will get you off to a strong start as you explore the exciting world of 360-degree photography, taking a professionally taught class is a good way to go beyond the basics. That kind of instruction also allows you to ask questions immediately and get feedback about how you’re doing and whether there is room for improvement.

No matter which route you take, always give yourself a chance to be creative and don’t get too stuck on rigid rules.

Printing 360 photos

Printing panoramic and 360-degree photos seamlessly can be a challenge. You can either get specialized equipment that prints spherical photos, have a third company do it for you or go DIY by using a regular printer and stitching the images yourself.

Note: Don't forget that Epson offers a wide range of printers, including the brand new EcoTanks. These printers use tanks instead of cartridges so you won't waste a drop of ink when you print. Click here to learn more, and start saving on ink today.

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