360 Photos: A Whole New Range of Photography


Since the beginning of time, humans have been fond of freezing a moment. The Stone Age has known cave paintings picturing gods and goddesses and other objects from their daily life. Man has used paintings and visual content for many purposes such as sending messages, keeping memories, decoration, and many others. Even the oldest languages were composed of images which represented sounds and meanings. With the invention of photography, humans experienced a visual revolution. We are considered lucky generations now that we are able to watch history in photographs, videos, and movies. That was only a fantasy to those born before photography. The digital world is full of surprises. In 1827, the earliest known surviving photo was taken. Almost two centuries later, billions of photos are being shared daily on different social media channels. Nowadays, everyone is able to save a special moment, through a photo or a video, using their smart phones. Taking photos has never been easier than it is today. So what is new? The good old two dimensional photo has a new rival: 360 photos. Now, we are not only able to “save a moment” we can actually “relive a moment” in 360 degrees. This is taking photography to a new level. Although panoramic photography has existed about a century ago, we are now witnessing its heyday. Visual content is taking a leap with new concepts like 360 photos, 360 videos, and visual reality. This article is a detailed introduction to a 360 degree world.

Contents:

Getting Started with 360 Photography

Regular photography is narrow and lacks a dimension. One dimension less means a restricted experience. 360 photography gives viewers the “whole” experience in high quality resolution. The shot is presented through a wide range of angles which regular photography cannot compete with. The increasing popularity of smartphones and digital cameras gives 360 photos a huge potential of viewers. Ever since Facebook, the biggest social media platform, has introduced 360 photos, the concept has been rapidly spreading. In addition, many downloadable applications allow anyone to take 360 photos and be a part of the shooting experience.

Moreover, an extra dimension is not the only thing 360 photos have to offer. Authenticity is a valuable quality which the 360 concept offers. 360 photos resemble real life situations which is a brand new experience to viewers. As a viewer, you can swipe to the left and right, up and down, as if it is you standing in the center of the photographed location. This makes panoramic photos unique and genuine, in addition to fully inclusive.

 

What Are 360 Photos and Videos?

According to TechTarget, a 360 photo is “a controllable panoramic image that surrounds the original point from which the shot was taken. 360-degree photos simulate being in the shoes of a photographer and looking around to the left, right, up and down as desired as well as sometimes zooming. The viewer clicks any point on the image to drag it in the desired direction.” So, how exactly does 360 photography work? An adequate number of segmented panoramic photos are taken and then stitched together to form a full circle surrounding the center point. The right application should take care of stitching those pictures together. For this mission, one recommended application is Hugin. The application is free and does a great job collecting the photos together creating one 360 photo that embraces all angles. Meanwhile, some digital cameras can do the stitching process internally.

 

Four Types of Panorama Photos

There are four types of panorama photos. Each type has its own properties which distinguish its look. It is good to note that there is no bad type and good type. Your choice should be based on the purpose of your photo and the environment you want to shoot.

Partial Panoramas

This is the most basic one. Partial panoramas follow the technique of stitching regular photos side-by-side to form one picture with a wider view.

Cylindrical Panoramas

Cylindrical panoramas also follow the same technique of “stitching,” yet they are different from partial panoramas in that you need to make sure the first and the last photos overlap. These panoramas cover 360-degrees around but not up and down.

Spherical Panoramas

Spherical panoramas are those which capture the full 360-view in addition to up and down. The photographer and the tripod do not appear in the picture frame. This could be a bit challenging to beginner photographers.

Stereoscopic Panoramas

Stereoscopic panoramas “consist of two different images taken simultaneously with the lens centers about 65mm apart, so they give the viewer the illusion of depth/3D. The most popular stereoscope for viewing stereo panoramas is a virtual reality headset.”

 

What Kind of Camera Do You Need to Go 360?

Like typical photography, capturing 360 photos can be done using any basic camera. Smartphones work well for day -to-day use, and they are user friendly. However, exceptional photos need special equipment. For commercial use, you might need a high quality digital camera with at least 15 mega pixels. Professional photographers recommend using a DSLR camera with a fisheye lens. “A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide-angle lens that produces strong visual distortion intended to create a wide panoramic or hemispherical image. Fisheye lenses achieve extremely wide angles of view.” With a cell phone, you will need to take many photos to cover the whole 360 degrees, whereas a fisheye lens needs as little as three or four photos to cover the entire sphere.

 

Specific Cameras Recommended by Google

Ricoh Theta S & SC: Theta S: $350, Theta SC: $300

Samsung Gear 360: 350$

LG 360 Cam: 200$

NCTECH Iris: 2000$

 

How to: Tips and Tricks to Shoot 360 Photos and Videos

Shooting 360 photos and videos is not supposed to be complicated at all. However, there are a few things that you may need to watch out for:

What Should Not Appear in a Picture

Firstly, remember that 360 photos will cover ALL the surrounding; that includes you (the photographer,) and the tripod. Make sure that these do not appear in your photo at all. Keep in mind that you will have to stand behind the camera all the time. That will require you to move and change your position as the camera moves. Of course, you will find it way more comfortable to use a fish-eye lens since it requires a minimal movement on the photographer’s behalf. A smartphone camera on the other hand, will oblige you to be more flexible and move a lot while taking shots. That is because smartphones take more shots than a fisheye lens due to the former’s narrower view. Meanwhile, 360 videos are more challenging because, unlike photos, you will not be able to pause and change your position with every shot. The solution sounds funny but it is effective. “Most 360 cameras have a mobile app that allows you to hit record or pause remotely. If you don’t want to be in the shot, you have two options: run and hide, or blend in with the environment.” Blending in with the environment means becoming a natural part of the picture’s context.

Steadiness

Secondly, you will need to make sure that your camera is steady while rotating. If you are not using a tripod, pay attention to keeping your hand steady. This is especially important while shooting 360 videos. If the video is not steady, your viewers will probably feel dizzy watching and switch the video off.

Harmony

Thirdly, 360 photos are either two cameras attached or a number of photos stitched together. Therefore, a “parallax effect” occurs sometimes. A parallax effect is a difference or a displacement in the positioning of two neighboring shots. You should watch out for the gap between the photos and make sure they are all adjoining in harmony.

Placement

Fourthly, while capturing a shot, always think of its placement. A mesmerizing view is great, but the picture also needs to look good everywhere. For example, if you find a great view to capture, yet the other surrounding sides are not that nice to capture, then maybe a regular photo would do a better job.

Camera Mode

Last but not least, most serious photographers suggest that you should take 360 photos in RAW format with the camera in manual mode. This ensures perfect quality for your pictures.

 

More Advanced Equipment and Tools

A Small and Stable Tripod

360 photographers usually recommend a small and stable tripod to achieve high quality pictures. As mentioned earlier, stability is crucial during shooting 360 photos. For that reason, a tripod becomes a must to capture the moment easily and more efficiently. Furthermore, a “small” tripod is recommended because it is much easier to hide than a large sized one. A tripod also gives an extra “height” to your camera which is usually a good thing.

Remote Switch

This is another tool to achieve stability. A remote switch is specifically useful while shooting 360 videos. You can control all the movements of your camera or pause without even having to touch your camera. Photography Blog mentions that while a wireless remote switch may cost about 300$, a cable connected remote switch is only worth 35$.

Paid Applications for Stitching 360 Photos

PTGui: PTGui is a really nice program for stitching panoramas. It is fast, automatic, and powerful. The application is user friendly and it offers several packages that suit the needs of different types of users.

Kolor: Kolor is a great stitching software especially for creating virtual tours and 360 videos. Huge names such as DreamWorks and Apple are using Kolor. Their website is also rich with information and tips about creating 360 tours and videos.

 

360 Photo Apps for Smartphones

For those who cannot afford buying an advanced camera for 360 photos, there is no need to worry. There are several mobile applications which come in handy for the task. All you need is a smartphone and these apps will take it from there. ThinkMobile recommends some apps for shooting 360 images, here are some of them:

Sphere-360 Camera

Sphere is an outstanding free application specially designed for 360 photos and virtual tours. Users can surely capture 360 spherical images and share them right away through the app. It also works as a platform for sharing 360 photos. If you want to be closer to glaciers in the Antarctica, or get an inside view of Paris’s Opera House, Sphere makes it way too easy. You can search for 360 shots that you would like to take a look at by location, category, or events. Moreover, since the app is like a community of photographers, users can follow their favorite photographers and get their latest shots on the newsfeed. Sphere is available for both Android and iOS users.

Cycloramic

Cycloramic is a paid app (2$) which is available for Apple users only. There are multiple of special options which the app has to offer to its twenty million users. Firstly, it is fast. Taking a 360 degree panorama does not take more than 10 seconds, while a 180 degree panorama takes only 5! Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Secondly, it has a capacity for high resolution images, up to 42 Megapixels. Last but not least, Cycloramic offers a hands-free mode which allows an automatic phone rotation covering the whole 360 degrees. All you need to do is place your phone on a smooth surface.

Panorama 360

Panorama 360 is among the most popular 360 photo apps which is available on Google Play and the App Store. Why is it popular? It is user-friendly and free. With a click of a button, users can move around, capture the view, and voila. The panorama is made automatically; a piece of cake. Users can also share their photos on different social media channels via Panorama 360. The application offers more features such as HD Capture, Watermark Remove, and Dropbox Sync. Of course, users can choose to purchase these additional features or settle for the basic ones.

 

How Can You Use 360 Photos and Videos to the Benefit of Your Business?

Create a Virtual Tour to Your Business

Familiarize your customers with your business.

For many industries, 360 photos are a wonderful tool for visual content marketing. There is no doubt that visual content is more powerful and effective than written, or audible content; a picture is worth a thousand words. People will most likely remember what a picture looks like than remember some words they read while scrolling. If your business depends mainly on the actual “space” or location, a virtual tour is not something you should miss by any means. If a photo is worth a thousand words, a 360 photo is worth even more. 92% of internet users indicated that the ability to see a spherical panorama or a 360 degree photo of a viewed product is one of the most essential features when they are browsing online. Many businesses can benefit from showing off their internal design and architecture. Such businesses include real estate, interior designing, hotels, fashion, art, restaurants, cafes, stores, co-working spaces, or basically any business where physical location is a vital part of the service or product provided. Tourism is the perfect example of how a field can benefit from virtual tours. Since tourism depends on attracting tourists to eye-appealing spots, virtual tours have a great influence in determining a tourist’s destination. Who would not love to watch the blue Maldives beaches or the Champs-Élysées in 360-degree photos?

Apart from tourism, no matter what the size of your store is, or what kind of product you sell, the setting of any place takes part in forming the impression people make about it. Therefore, taking a 360 photo is a brilliant way to let people step inside your store, and experience what it is like to be there, before they even visit you. They become familiar with your business, which creates a bond between your business and your customers.

Expand on Social Media

Know where the largest amount of your viewers are.

Social media is a game changer. It has already changed the way people communicate, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that it has changed the marketing industry forever. Although 360 photos have been there for about a century, they have never been as popular as they are now. Facebook, in particular, has drawn great attention to the technology. 360 photos and videos are intriguing and it gives your viewers a more immersive visual experience than regular photos. For example, showing off your product from different angles in a gallery of photos is way less interesting than showing the same product in one single 360 photo. A 360 degree dimension lets your customer step into the shoe of the photographer, as if he or she is the one holding the product in his/her hand. Smartphones in particular mimic the exact action of having a product in your hand, keeping in mind that smart phone users represent more than 50% of online shoppers. If you have not included 360 photos and videos in your social media strategy yet, you should reconsider it. It has zero additional cost, and it is definitely a powerful tool to catch the eye of your audience.

Make the Most Out of SEO

Use 360 images as SEO techniques

In addition to social media, search engines pay specific attention to 360 photos. Later in this article, we will tackle how Google loves 360 photos and has special features for them as well. Meanwhile, this part focuses on the fact that 360 photos and videos affect your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs.) According to aardvark360, “Virtual tours increase page views by 40% and keeps visitors on-site for three times longer.” Search queries are one of the most powerful channels where your business can attract shoppers and customers. The gigantic number of search queries done on search engines every day is too large to be ignored. 360 technology provides something “extra” to the audience, and therefore your audience are more likely to choose your products if they watch 360 photos or videos of them.

 

Why Are 360 Pictures Important to Your Business?

 Trust and Transparency

Honesty is the best policy.

Over the last twenty years, photos have become accessible and very easy to get through digital cameras and smartphones. With that came so many programs and tools to modify, edit, and add filters to shots; in search for “perfect” photos. Everyone knows that in real life, things are not perfect. Soon enough, people realized that most of the photos they see, especially commercial ones, are edited, modified, and sometimes fake. Some industries in particular have even gained a reputation for faking photos, such as fashion and make-up industries. This is one of the reasons why people are looking forward to 360 photos. Despite the fact that they are also editable, they still have more credibility than regular photos.

When your business provides a 360 photo experience, you are being honest about your product or your place. Consumers appreciate transparency. You can build a relationship of trust with your viewers through 360 photos and videos. They will certainly give credit to your company for having the courage to take them “behind the scenes” and show them the real thing; the good and the ugly.

Engage Your Audience

Entertainment always wins.

It is true that amusing your viewers plays a lead role in keeping them engaged. People love to watch a beautiful landscape or a colorful interior design. A sneak peek of a new clothes collection, or a well-arranged shoe store. In fact, there are endless things that people would love to watch and react with just for the sake of entertainment. Interesting visual content is the best way to capture the attention of your viewers. Therefore, people are always curious to watch 360 photos because they provide an extra dimension of entertainment. In addition, combining content marketing with 360 photos can do magic. You keep hearing that “content is king,” but when you combine content with a new amusing technology, the results can be amazing. The purpose of content marketing is giving value and meaning to your viewers. However, that does not mean that it should be boring. If you can introduce a useful, yet entertaining visual content, you will definitely gain a loyal follower who looks forward to receiving information from your business.

Create a Memory

Trust, familiarity, and memory.

What does creating a memory mean? Let’s start with defining what “consumer buying behavior” is. “Consumer buying behavior is the sum total of a consumer’s attitudes, preferences, intentions, and decisions in the marketplace when purchasing a product or service. The study of consumer behavior draws upon social science disciplines of anthropology, psychology, sociology, and economics.” In other words, before a potential customer decides to buy any product, there are many factors that may influence his/her decision. Many of these factors are psychological. For example, if a potential customer visits your store on a bad day, or if he/she visits your website and does not like its atmosphere, they may decide to turn away in these cases. These little details affect the impression people get about your business, which consequently affects your revenues.

So, back to 360 photos and creating a memory. 360 photos are more personal and give viewers more details. When you capture the internal space of your restaurant for instance, you are not only saying “look, we have nice tables and chairs.” You are creating a memory with your viewers by allowing them to know exactly how it feels to step into your restaurant. This means that consumers will be familiar with your place before they even go there. By the time they actually pay a visit to your restaurant, they would not feel strange to it at all. Through using 360 photos, they have already become a part of your business. This makes your customers feel more comfortable about spending time at your place or visiting your store or restaurant more than once.

 

Google and 360 Photos

Anything that gets Google to send more people your way is a good idea.

Getting exposure from Google is one of the main reasons why 360 photos are important to your business. However, we have preferred to carefully explain how your business can benefit from what Google has to offer in a separate point. In fact, Google has designed special features and applications that have a lot to do with 360 photos. All these applications can improve your SEO and increase your business’s web traffic; they make it easier for researchers to find you.

What Is Google Street View?

In TechTarget’s definition “Google Street View is a feature of Google Maps that enables users to view and navigate through 360 degree horizontal and 290 degree vertical panoramic street level images of various cities around the world. The Street View feature can be used to take virtual walks, explore landmarks or find shops, restaurants and hotels.” 360 panoramas uploaded on the application come from two sources. The first source is users uploading 360 photos, whether businesses or individuals. The second source is pictures taken by Google’s “embedded” cars moving in cities which capture everything they see in 360 degree pictures. The latter is only available in some specific countries. By submitting a 360 shot of your business on Google My Business, you are making it way easier for researchers to find you. 55% of UK’s adults are regularly using Google Street View. In the United States, the 360 virtual tour is already considered an essential part of the business, akin to having a website, and the UK is catching up fast. This shows how 360 photos are becoming a main part of introducing your company to the world. All the photos you submit through Google My Business will be merged with Street View and Google Maps; thus making your business more appealing. 360 virtual images enable your offline store or shop reach a higher rate of visibility.

What Is Google Business View?

Google Business View is an indoor version of Google Street View. It deals with indoor mapping, the same way Google maps deals with streets. As long as there are no privacy issues, anyone can share images of the insides of a building; a local store, a library, or even a mall. Larger buildings usually use Google Business View in order to help their visitors not to get lost inside their place. This less popular Google tool is a great way to market your business. Whenever people find you on Google SERPs, they can click “see inside” and get a virtual 360 tour of how your place looks like. If your business’s physical space is cozy, inviting, and colorful, you surely want Google researchers to find out how pleasant it is. The nature of your store does not matter, as long as the atmosphere is nice and welcoming. People will know exactly what is inside your store with a click of button. Too good to be true, eh? Using both Street View and Business View, prospective customers will trust your business and prefer it over other obscure ones with only one or two blurry images.

How Can You Upload 360 Panoramas to Google Street View?

As previously mentioned, photos on Google Maps and Google Street View come from two sources. These are Google itself, or other contributors. Google has its own wandering cars which have cameras that can record whatever they see. In order to make sure no privacy policies are violated during the process, faces of people or inappropriate surroundings are always blurred. The second source is supposed to be anyone wishing to add 360 photos or virtual tours on Google. However, to guarantee a unique photo experience with high quality and authenticity to all its users, Google has created the Google Trusted Photographer program.

What Is a Google Trusted Photographer?

If you have ever checked out Street View pictures, you have probably wondered why they all look amazingly good. This is because almost all of them were taken by professional photographers accredited by Google. Good and professional photographers apply to be a part of Google’s trusted photographers (GDP.) As long as they can prove they are great with the camera, Google grants them an access to upload 360 Street View photos and business virtual tours. Business owners, individuals, or organizations who wish to have their photos featured on Google Maps and Street View should hire a Google Trusted Photographer to help them take marvelous photos. In addition, Google has a list of its accredited photographers where you can easily find photographers in your area, so you would not find it difficult to find a trustworthy photographer to make your business look great on Google.

 

SEO and 360 Photos

 Better Search Results

Stand out in a crowd of tough competitors on Google, the world’s leading search engine.

The significance of Google has become too huge to ignore if you are aiming to increase your traffic. It is by no means an exaggeration to say that Google is the largest global market to ever exist. With almost 90 percent of consumers using search engines, mostly Google, before purchasing, companies have realized the importance of ranking high in SERPs. This has made the competition brutal, especially for start-ups. Laughingly, there has been a joke that if someone wants to hide something, they should put it on Google’s second page of search results. If this says one thing, it emphasizes how hard the competition has become. If your business is not on the very first page of search engine results, people may never find you. This puts a pressure on organizations and businesses to do everything they can possibly do to get higher rankings. The couple of lines under your business’s name on Google may be less visible, and highly forgettable, among thousands of others. Meanwhile, 360 photos make you stand out in the crowd. There is a great chance that your competitors might not have added 360 photos or a virtual tour to their company yet. Therefore, if you add your own, you are one step ahead of your competitors.

Increase Local Exposure

Grab the attention of local shoppers.

This is relevant to the previous point, yet it highlights a different crucial aspect. Most businesses, start-ups in particular, make a mistake when they overlook location while setting up an SEO strategy based on their target audience. Your target audience do not only search for products by their brand name, they search for products or services using location too. For example, if someone is looking for a gym, he/she will most likely search with location in order not to waste a lot of time driving to and from the gym. The closer you are to your target audience’s location, the better. So that being said, adding 360 photos to your store on Google will surely improve your SEO results. If you are the only local business in your niche providing immersive 360 photos or a virtual tour, then you already grabbed the attention of local shoppers!

Introducing TourDash

 What is TourDash?

A brilliant Google tool that can take virtual tours to the next level.

TourDash is a new exciting software application endorsed by Google. The application allows multiple features and additions to enhance virtual tours and 360 photos and make them more efficient. TourDash allows business owners to embed their 360 panoramas on their website. This expands your high quality 360 panoramas to cover another place where viewers can find you. Furthermore, TourDash adds an extra layer to your 360 photos. By allowing you to add navigation drop-down menus which directly take your viewer to the heart of the department he is looking for in the tour, for instance. TourDash also gives you a chance to spice things up by putting on “hotspots” that direct your audience towards the most interesting spots inside your place. In addition, our favorite feature is the one that enables you to add clickable links on 360 photos. This means that while viewers are taking a tour, they can also click on their “liked objects” and it can take them to another page where they purchase your product, or reserve your service. Imagine you own a restaurant, and while you familiarize your audience with your awesome physical space, they can actually click on “a specific table” in order to reserve it! This is revolutionary. It mimics real life interaction where a shopper can grab a product that he or she likes while touring around a store. Absolutely brilliant.

How Can You Get TourDash?

Of course, you need to first create a virtual tour or 360 photos via Google Trusted Photographer. If you have already passed this step, getting TourDash follows the same rule as well. Google also offers a list of trusted TourDash resellers, where you can select one of them according to your location. The nice thing is that those trusted resellers are also professional photographers who can help you with creating a marvelous tour, and then add the touch-ups for your tour via TourDash. TourDash is provided as a subscription based service. There are three different packages that you can choose from when it comes to pricing: silver, gold, and platinum. Each one offers its own special options and you can choose the one that suits your needs best.

 

Where Can You Share 360 Photos?

360 panoramas are getting more and more popular. There is a great deal of platforms where you can share 360 images, react with other people’s photos, and exchange experience and tips with friends. Of course, the most popular community would be different social media channels. The next paragraph will explain in details how you can share 360 snaps on each platform. Other than social media, there are other applications, blogs, and websites, specially designed for creating a community of 360 photographers and enthusiasts. For instance, 360Cities and Kuula are two well-known websites where you can find the best and most creative virtual or 360 degree content. The two websites engage people from all over the world and build a multi-cultural space for sharing creative 360 photos. Such websites and applications are not only for those fond of photography, but they also come in handy when you need inspiration or you need an innovative concept for your next 360 project. In addition to websites, we have mentioned earlier some photo applications where you can share 360 pictures and also follow people and get their pictures on your news-feed. Besides the ones mentioned before, one interesting application where you can create 360 panoramas, share them, and interact with others is Roundme. All these places can give you ideas, tips, inspiration, and teach you how to create immersive 360 photos. Being a part of these communities will definitely improve your understanding of 360 images.

 

How to share 360 photos and Videos on Different Social Media Platforms?

Social media, again.

These are simplified steps to clarify the “how to” of uploading 360 photos on these two most popular social media channels: Facebook and YouTube

Facebook

The following steps are taken from Facebook’s easy guide to getting started with 360 photos. It includes the exact steps of what you should do to upload 360 images on your business page. Keep in mind that Facebook’s mobile application allows you to take 360 panoramas right away. However, if you prefer to use another application for that mission, make sure that Facebook supports that app in order to be able to upload it whether you are using iOS or Android.

On web

  • Click Photo/Video at the top of your Page’s Timeline
  • Click Upload Photos/Videos
  • Select a photo
  • Share it
  • Look around in your photo by clicking and dragging

On mobile

  • Tap on the Publish button at the top of your Page’s Timeline
  • Select Photo/Video
  • Select a photo
  • Share it
  • Look around in your photo by moving your phone or by dragging your finger
  • Tap on the photo to view it in full screen

 YouTube

Luckily, YouTube, the most popular video sharing website, supports 360 videos.  The first step would surely be creating the video itself. There are many 360 degree cameras which are compatible with YouTube. YouTube also supports some stitching applications that were mentioned earlier such as Kolor and Autopano. In addition, keep in mind that your video must include specific metadata in order to be identified as a 360 video by YouTube. You will find below YouTube’s instructions to make sure you are adding metadata the right way.

  • Download the 360° Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows.
  • Un-zip the file, then open the 360 Video Metadata app. If you’re on a Mac, you may need to right-click the app and then click Open.
  • Select the video file.
  • Select the checkbox for Spherical and click Save as. Do not select the “3D Top-bottom” checkbox. For more information, refer to upload instructions for virtual reality videos.
  • Enter a name for the file that will be created.
  • Save the file. A new file will be created automatically in the same location as the original file.
  • Upload the new file to YouTube.
  • Wait for the 360° effect to process. This may take up to an hour.

 

The Top 10 Coolest Business Views

You are probably wondering how you can take extraordinary and stunning 360 snaps for your business which can impress your potential customers. This part of our article is amusing, yet useful, since it can give you an insight about how other businesses are using 360 efficiently. This collection of photos includes a variety of places; some of them are touristic sights while others are local stores or businesses. The five images are selected from Econsultancy’s list of cool business views.They all have one thing in common: they are all indoor 360 pictures.

Chataigner Yves

Just look at all this lovely yellow cheese!

Chataigner Yves is a Parisian cheese shop! Believe it or not, even a small cheese shop has something to show off. This is worthy of admiration because many simple stores are discouraged to share 360 photos of their physical space on Google Business Views. Their owners may think they have nothing “that impressive” to share with the world. People would not expect you to have Disney Land in your cheese shop, however, they would expect your store to be welcoming and organized. So, yes, they would surely love to take a look at it before they pay you a visit. Just look at all this lovely yellow cheese! Irresistible.

Toy Joy

Anything that is “eye-engaging” works with children and teens.

As the name implies, Toy Joy is a toy store in Texas. Of course, toy stores are full of colorful and entertaining games that would seem even more interesting in 360 panoramas. The most significant thing we can really learn from this photo is knowing how to make the most of 360 photos in relation to the age group of your target audience. Children and teenagers are usually very much influenced by whatever they see on a screen, whether it is TV commercials or pictures. Therefore, if your business has something to do with children or younger people in general, you should already know that 360 photos are for you. Anything that is “eye-engaging” works with children and teens. For some industries, it may be confusing whether or not 360 photos are effective, this is not the case if you are selling toys or band t-shirts.

Sarastro

It is crucial to give your interested customers a glimpse of what they should expect at your place.

Sarastro is a fancy, cozy restaurant in London. This is a genuine example that portrays the concept of “creating a memory” mentioned earlier in the article. The owners of similar businesses such as restaurants, cafes, gyms, show rooms, or any service that depends on a physical space. It is crucial to give your interested customers a glimpse of what they should expect at your place. This is exactly what we can see in this perfect 360 shot; all the details. Take a look at all the tables and chairs, the shot covers all the possible angles, so that it can immerse the viewer right in the middle of the restaurant. It makes your viewer feel as if he/she is there already. This is surely a successful 360 capture which managed to leave a strong memory to its potential clients.

Emirate A380

This 360 photo is a proof that 360 images can take you anywhere.

Unless you are an aeroplane geek, you probably would not figure out from the name that this an aeroplane. Yes, you read that right, an aeroplane! This 360 photo is a proof that 360 images can take you anywhere. People are always curious to watch any place in 360 degree, especially if they can’t access that place in real life easily. So the more bizarre and unique it is, the more interesting it will be for the viewers. Who would have thought that anyone in the world would be able to take a tour around a private Emirati aeroplane? It is like travelling from the comfort of your couch. For these reasons, 360 photos make a great match with businesses related to tourism. Tourists like to watch the places they will visit to know exactly what to expect during their trip. Getting an inside look makes them feel secure and confident about their choices. This will make them choose a hotel which has 360 photos over another that does not.

Uncommon Objects

The goods are so close as if they are within the reach of your hands!

This 360 image captures an antique store also located in Texas. Uncommon Objects has one important thing that you can observe and apply to your business. Observe how “close” the objects in the photo are to you as a viewer. Incredible. The goods are so close as if they are within the reach of your hands, you can almost touch them! The authenticity of the shot is undoubtable, there is absolutely nothing that looks fake about it. Transparency is key when it comes to giving your potential clients reasons to choose you over your competitors. This cool antique shop succeeded at building a relationship of trust with their online viewers with this superb 360 photo. You should always do your best to balance the editing process of your 360 photos. Editing is a double-edged weapon, it can either make your photo or break it. You can always add touch ups, without making it look too unreal.

 

360 Photography in a Nutshell

 360 Photos Technicalities

So, after all this information, data, and statistics, you must certainly need a wrap up. This article has been a detailed map to 360 photos for business owners or anyone interested in including 360 photos in their digital marketing plan. For amateur photographers, this piece definitely includes many useful tips and tricks to start 360 photography even if you have no interest in marketing. We may categorize the information in this article under two main parts; a technical part and a marketing one. The technical part is concerned with explaining the technicalities of 360 photos and the tools and equipment needed to take high quality shots. The marketing part highlights how you can use 360 photos in order to achieve better marketing results. We have gone through a brief introduction explaining what 360 images and videos are and how they differ from regular two-dimensional ones. It is clear that there are four different types of panoramas: partial, cylindrical, spherical, and stereoscopic. Now you surely know that you can take 360 shots using a smartphone, a simple camera, a more professional one, or even a camera specifically designed for 360 shots. There are also a few things that you should pay attention to while shooting 360 photos: what should not appear in a photo, steadiness, harmony, placement, and camera mode. Furthermore, for professionals or for those who want to take 360 photos more seriously, there are a couple of advanced equipment that you can buy that will make the shooting process easier and give more professional results. Smartphone users usually use apps such as Sphere-360 Camera, Cycloramic, and Panorama 360 to shoot better photos.

360 Photos for Marketing

The next part of the article discussed 360 photos from a marketing point of view. It threw light on the positive impact 360 photos and videos can have on your business, in other words, what you can do with 360 photos. Creating a virtual tour, expanding on social media, and improving your SEO results are all tools which you can use to reach more audience. Now, that was the how, and then we moved to the “why.” Why should you include 360 shots in your marketing strategy? This relates to exploring why 360 photos are more effective and why viewers are attracted to them. There are three factors which decrease the gap between you, as a business, and your potential clients: trust and transparency, interaction, and memories. Right after this, we have explored the mighty Google and all the features it offers in regards to 360 photos. Street View, Business View, or TourDash, all of them are powerful tools. There is no doubt that Google pays so much attention to 360 photography, therefore, the company has created a programs such as Google Trusted Photographers, to ensure a perfect experience for Google users around the world. Throughout the article, several places where you can share photos were mentioned here and there, however, a specific part was dedicated to explain in crystal clear steps how you can share 360 images and where. Finally, we have picked five of the top ten coolest business views, which have a lot of lessons to learn from when it comes to 360 shots.

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