What is a photosphere?
A photosphere is a spherical photo. It is like a globe that you view from the inside.
Sometimes it is referred to as a 3D image, but it isn’t exactly three dimensional. It is more accurate to describe it as a 360 degree photo. It is 360 degrees both horizontally and vertically. It emulates a real person looking around.
Photospheres are created by digitally stitching together over lapping views taken in all directions. There are cameras with multiple lenses that can do this. Google uses such a camera to create its Street View photos.
The camera is attached to a GPS receiver so it can record the coordinates of the photospheres as they are created and map them out for us. I use Street View all the time to research places I need to find.
I use a DSLR setup to create photospheres for my clients. I use a full frame body with an 8mm fisheye lenses and a special bracket to create the photos. By taking four overlapping 180 degree photos in four directions I can stitch these together to create a very wide angle photo.
When the four 180 degree photos are stitched together, a flat 2 dimensional image file is created that looks like this. You can see the tripod legs at the bottom of the photos.
The magic happens when the photo is uploaded to a site that supports photospheres such as Google Map or Facebook. Photospheres are very cool as a Facebook post. Here is what this 36o photo looks like on FB. As can be noted, you can rotate the photo to see the whole thing.
When multiple photospheres are uploaded and linked together a virtual tour is formed allowing a user to hop from location to location and inspect an entire business. This is especially useful for businesses that offer ambience, such as a restaurant. It is also quite useful for showrooms. When you Google sites with photospheres, such as Monk’s Design Studio in Fanwood and click on photos, you will be offered 360 views if the business has uploaded them.
With the right equipment and software just about anyone can create photospheres and virtual tours, but, like all photography, the devil is in the details. Having a crappy photosphere or virtual tour is like having a bad photograph and reflects poorly on the business.
Feel free to contact me to learn more about how you can create photospheres for your business. firstname.lastname@example.org