How To Get Started on 360° Panoramic Photography

What are These Photos on

So, you are on to some 360 panorama. those also can be called 360° panoramas, 360-degree panoramas, omniviews, VR photos, virtual reality panoramas, sphere panoramas, etc. But we prefer to call them “panos”.

THose kind of finming has exited the humanity for as much as a century. But just nowadays, it become of a great interest due to the ever-reducing cost of the technology, availability of software, abundance of publishing tools.And of course internet makes that easy to spread the word about what you have though communicating and sharing.

Four Flavors of Panoramas

If you look at the panoramic photos you can see that some of them are differ from the others. Basically there’s four main types them:

  • Partial Panoramas – usually used for the traditional landscape filming. They are created by stitching (assembling) of multiple normal photos together side-by-side, which creates a photo with much wider angle that would be possible with a normal lens.
  • Cylindrical Panoramas – the way of photo shooting when you capture the whole field of view in all directions around the photographer. They cover a nice part of the scenery around the camera, but nothing that goes up or down. These are too created by stitching multiple photos together. The only real difference from partial panoramas is that you need to make sure the first and the last photos overlap. There are also so called “one shot” 360-degree lenses but they are by definition very low quality compared to the traditional stitched panoramas.
  • Spherical Panoramas – the ultimate “panos”, that capture everything the previous on does but also with the ability to look up and down the hill. They can even be taken in a way that you can’t see the tripod nor the photographer’s shadow in the picture.
  • Sterioscopic Panoramas – those can be done in the cylindrical or spherical manner. the difference comes on the stage when you notice that the view have an illusion of the depth and actual “being inside the photo” simply saying the 3D effect

The Secret of Creating 360 Panoramas

But is with the processing of that – what is the secret of doing such a shooting? In fact that’s can be done really easy. The simplest possible way is to find a spot from where you want to take the scene, and start shooting, moving the camera all around itself. t does not really matter what camera or lens you use, you can even use a cell phone, as long as the photos overlap. The easiest, though, is to use a digital SLR camera with a fisheye lens. The wider the viewing angle of the lens is, the less photos you need to cover the entire field of view. But wait, even cell phones nowadays can make that with the help of the software installed, of pre-installed on board.

How to create 360º panoramas

Of Course there is way above the only way to make a 360° panoramas. Large number of accessories available, different workflows and even “how to do” guides in the Web. By the way we created Youtube Playlist with some tutorials that you can learn from.

Equipment You Need

When in comes to a some bacis you will need to start with the filming – it does not really matter. I mean you can test your own thoughts, or do something you think will end up epic. ANY camera will do.  As with any craft, the right tools can help you get the job done faster, easier, and better. Once you’re hooked, then you can think about getting the best tools for the job! For example, we recommend you get a digital SLR with a fisheye lens (e.g. Sigma 8mm f/3.5 or Samyang 8mm f/3.5). Once again. To start and to try it out, it doesn’t really matter. Just make sure you take photos that overlap and try it, go out there and take some panoramas!

Nevertheless, here is some useful tip s for you not to drown into the variety of choices:

  • Mind about no-parallax point. If you start making panorama you have to make all the photos from exactly the same position, to avoid a lot of troubles on a part where you try to hook them all together.
  • Shot the RAW format to get maximum from the picture
  • Use mostly the full manual mode – you’ll thank us late

If you are using cellphone for the panorama shooting, the app Microsoft Photosyth panorama creation app for the iPhone will be of a great help to you.

Stitching (Assembling) Photos on a Computer

And that’s it filming is done, everything is stored on the harddrive ready to become one heck of a panorama.When the shooting and stitching is done properly the result is a completely seamless, smooth image (without borders between photos), which can be viewed in any direction. You can truly enjoy the viewing experience that is close to the actual experience of being at the place where the photographer shot the panorama.

Here’s the list of recommended tools for stitching your photos together:

  • PTgui – Absolutely great program for stitching panoramas (paid)
  • Kolor Autopano Pro / Giga – Awesome stitching software (paid); Kolor also makes great virtual tour creation software called Panotour
  • Hugin – An alternative to PTGui (a bit more difficult and less convenient to use but free)
  • Ideally, you will also need any photo editor (Photoshop or any other) for processing your photos

The Final Step – Publishing Your Panoramas on 360Cities

Once you are done taking and stitching photos it’s time to create your 360Cities account and publish your panoramas