Like other industries, photography is not moving into the 21st century—it’s already there. Having progressed beyond portraits and weddings, tech-savvy photographers are taking advantage of the lucrative industry trend involving spin photography.
What are spin and 360 product photography?
Spin photography comprises interactive photos that give viewers a 360-degree view of the subject. In short, the image spins. Also known as 360 product photography, this type is already ubiquitous. However, many people already take it for granted because these product shots exist online. For instance, those products are a rotating photo if someone is shopping for shoes, tents, toasters, or cars.
A user can often drag a mouse and rotate the photo 360 degrees if viewed on a computer. Doing so allows the user to view the image from all angles. Likewise, if viewed on the phone, the picture can be rotated with the touch of a finger. Alternatively, the photo might automatically spin as if on a rotating display.
Benefits of spin and 360-product photography
- Increased Engagement: 360 product photography is among the essential promotional techniques. It allows shoppers to digitally preview the product as if they were holding it or walking around and inspecting it.
- New Product Marketing: Because this helps differentiate your product, this tactic can be great when creating demand for a new product.
- Visually Stimulating: Simple product images don’t entice shoppers the way an in-store experience can; adding 360-degree and 3D product photographs can help e-retailers reach brick-and-mortar levels of engagement.
- Increase Sales: Companies who include this type of photography on their websites or apps can give shoppers a more confident buying experience. In doing so, they convert shoppers into buyers much more frequently.
- Increase confidence in your brand: The extra visual information in 360° product photography builds customer confidence for making payments online at your website.
- Reduce Return Costs: You will find your level of product returns will drop considerably, as a better-informed customer is less likely to be unhappy with their purchase.
Five tips to get the best 360-degree product shot
Spin photography begins with 360 object photography, which begins with a camera. In previous decades, the right camera would involve a high-resolution camera capable of 4K resolution. This type of technology currently exists in just about any entry-level or prosumer camera. It also exists in many smartphones. Consequently, learning to shoot 360 product photography and achieve the best 360 product shot involves the camera, the subject, the environment, and the software.
The best subjects or products for spin photography involve little or no transparency. Such things as windows, cups, wine glasses, or spectacles will not let the software properly discern between the background and the object. The experience will also show through the thing, while the reflective nature of the glass will create reflections. Objects showing through the object and reviews will mar the final quality of the 360 product photo.
The best lighting for 360 product images is diffuse lighting. Diffuse lighting is direct lighting softened by either a white semi-transparent material or direct sunlight that the clouds have softened. Diffuse lighting is essential because it reduces hard shadows, which create different angles of light and dark that 3D photo software cannot splice together without creating harsh transitions that will be visible as the photo spins.
Quality 3D photography can be accomplished outside on an overcast day if a photographer is on a budget. Photographers can achieve cloudy light quality in indoor environments using an on-camera light diffuser or a diffuse umbrella.
Consistent high-volume angles
3d photography involves taking multiple photos from different angles of a single object. For best results, a photographer needs from 12 to 36 photos.
Worse results stem from hand photography and few shots. Even if a photographer steadies a shot by propping their elbows into the sides of their chest, such hand photography will still create slightly different angles.
A single tripod and a product turntable for professional photographers on a budget will accomplish equidistant shots at precise angles. However, the size of the product turntable will ultimately limit the types of product photography.
Professional photographers with large products achieve the best results using a tripod set on a circular dolly on a track. The tripod, dolly, and track allow the camera to remain at equal distances and heights from the object.
Whether someone uses a tripod and dolly or a product turntable, the photos arising out of these more precise setups will create uniform images that the software can better interpret and splice together into a smooth 360 product spin.
Additionally, a photographer must ensure the shooting process ensures a centered product. If the product is off center, even the best camera setups will create photos of different sizes at slightly different angles. – Bill Ross, CEO of Emulent
Evenly lit background
Depending on the compositing software, the background should be bright white, green, or blue. The website background is often white, so the actual background during the photo shoot will also be white.
However, when a website design incorporates a dark or image-based background, products requiring a translucent alpha channel are best shot before an evenly lit green or blue screen. Software programs then key out the green or blue screens, producing a single high-quality 360 product spin.
Regardless of the type of background the software requires, the environment must be evenly lit without shadows.
For best results, 360-degree photography software should include the following functionality:
- Able to process hi-resolution photos of 4K or more
- The final product image should render quickly
- Batch capability for processing multiple images
- Integrates with content management software such as WordPress
- Operates equally well on a computer or a smartphone
- Responsive spin shots that size according to the user’s screen size