You work in real estate, hotel industry, car rental, news... and want to put 360 photos on your site to highlight an apartment, a vehicle or an event for example? Here are some tips to make beautiful 360 pictures and publish them on your website / blog.
1. How to choose your camera or 360° application
You have 3 possible options to make your 360 photos: use a stand-alone camera, a camera for smartphone, or mobile application.
autonomous cameras: they have a major advantage: they make very good quality images, and are therefore ideal for professional use. All the more so as one finds them today at very reasonable prices. For a good quality image (4k), count 250 to 400€ (our favorite: the Ricoh Theta, but there are many others). For an exceptional image quality (8K) even in a context of low lighting, it will rather be necessary to count between 4 000 and 10 000€ (ex: insta360 pro).
smartphone cameras: they have the advantage of being cheaper than stand-alone cameras, but they have two drawbacks: a battery that runs out quickly (or depletes your mobile's camera), and the quality is often poor. (Ex: insta 360 nano)
mobile applications: free for most, they are ideal for leisure use (holidays, travel...) when you do not want to buy a camera or take it everywhere with you. Disadvantage: since our smartphones have a single lens (whereas 360 cameras have double or even triple lenses), taking a picture will require a little patience and will often have some defects. (ex of applications: FOV for iOS, Google Street View for Android...)
2. How to take a perfect 360° picture
Always keep the camera or smartphone upright. If possible, use a tripod and make sure the camera or smartphone is never tilted. If ever this is the case, the visualization will produce a very unpleasant undulating "wave" effect to look at. Here is a good example.
Do not point any of the optics at a light source. If you put one of the lenses facing the sun or a lamp, and the opposite lens in the shade, the result will most likely be bad. Since a 360° picture is by definition composed of several images taken by the different lenses of the camera, the picture taken by the first will be overexposed, and the other underexposed. As a result, the stitching (assembling the different images) will be missed and the demarcation line between these images will appear at first glance.
Light up the space as much as you can. Given the constraints related to 360 photography (very large pixel volume and several optics), current technologies have difficulty overcoming an eternal obstacle of photography: the lack of light. It is always much more difficult to make a beautiful 360 photo in a nightclub than on a beach...
3. How to put your 360 photos on a website
360 images have a particularity: they need to be displayed in a player, because you can't look at them flat (or it's a bit strange, it looks like that). So you need a tool to upload your image, view it and put it on your website.
For that, we want to recommend 360player.io: it's free and we are pretty sure it's also the easiest solution that exists today.
- upload the image
- see the image instantly
- copy/paste the html code of the image on your site to display your 360 player.
But for the more adventurous, there are also plenty of online tools that allow you to build your own viewer! or create virtual tours with hotspots and many options.