The beauty of shooting with your 360 camera is that with a single click you can take a complete panorama of the setting. However, in order to shoot 360 like a pro, there are several issues which must be accounted for.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome with 360 photography is how to minimize the distortion in your images where the camera connects to your device, or the dreaded “lobster claw” effect, which occurs when taking handheld shots.
Another issue is how to avoid the big head effect when including yourself in action or completely removing yourself from the picture when for artistic reasons or otherwise you don’t want to be a part of the composition.
Below are our pro tips on how to overcome these obstacles and step up your 360 photography game.
Get an Optimum 360 Selfie Stick
Using a selfie stick is the easiest way to avoid the “lobster claw” distortion. When choosing a selfie stick, make sure that the mounting clip does not have any elements that stick out, as they will be visible in your photos. Picking a selfie stick with darker, neutral colors, will also make blending it into the background much easier.
Another key feature to consider in a selfie stick is one that doubles down as a tripod so you don’t have to carry additional equipment. Choose a pimped out version with a remote control, which will enable you to release the camera shutter from a distance.
When using a camera-tripod setup, dark areas with “busy” texture such as grass, bushes, or flowers make ideal locations to camouflage the tripod in your photos.
Utilize Different 360 Views
The unique viewing modes available for 360 images provide great freedom to manipulate the perspective in order to hide unwanted objects or distortions from your composition.
The inverse asteroid view is a great way to hide your camera and to frame your picture with interesting texture, creating an immersive effect, guiding your audience to the center of the image.
The crystalball view allows you to focus attention on the most interesting part of your image while discarding the rest.
No Drone’s Required – Create a Bird’s Eye View
Another cool trick you can use to hide your camera is creating an illusion of a photo being taken by a drone. For this type of setup, people are the best subjects.
For the bird’s eye view effect to work, the photo needs to be taken hands-free. Position your camera between 15 to 20 centimeters over your head. If your tripod’s arm extends this high, place it on the ground and stand very close to it, almost touching it with your torso. Alternatively, use your selfie stick by tugging it behind your belt or under your t-shirt. Make sure that the selfie stick is securely fixed not to damage your equipment.
Use the remote control to release the shutter, or set a timer on the camera. Lean your upper body slightly back, at roughly a 20° angle. Look up to the lens and spread your arms or wave to the camera for the best effect.
To further better your chances of taking a perfect shot, wear dark clothes that will obscure the selfie stick and its shadow. Pay attention to the position of the sun – you don’t want to end up with unflattering shadows showing across your face.
The Houdini – Removing Yourself from a Photo
The easiest way to exclude yourself from a 360 photo is to mount your camera on a tripod, set up a timer, and hide behind a tree or other large object. However, it is not always safe to leave your camera unattended or to place a tripod on a ground.
If setting up the camera on a tripod is not an option, hold the camera directly above your head, tuck your elbows in, and use the remote button on your selfie stick to snap away. In post processing use the clone stamp tool to remove the bits of you which may have sneaked into the picture. There are a number of free image editing programs you can use, such as Gimp or Photo Scape.
We hope you found this short tutorial to be of use and helps you on your way to shoot 360 like a pro. For regular 360 updates and more tips – follow us on Facebook!