Wednesday, May 20, 2015

RoadAbode Fun: How to Make a Photo Sphere

We love documenting where we've been and sharing with others. Nothing helps tell the story better than including a picture. This year, I discovered with the right App, I can make Photo Spheres. Though I've only made a few, they really are fun, and give people more of a feel for a place we've been.
Photo Sphere of Pine Hill RV Park in Kutztown, PA 

What's a Photo Sphere?

 it's a Google-centric special photo you can link to Google Maps that gives visitors a 360 degree view of the location you took the photo. You can link the photo to Google Maps through the Geo-location data that is embedded in the photo's metadata. You can even create Photo Spheres inside buildings, and link them together to move from one room, to another.
For some cool Photo Spheres, check out the collection created by Minh T. Nguyen
The app to create photo spheres is available for both Android and iOS operating systems. As the RoadAbode Crew is Android-centric in our handheld device choices, the information will be from the perspective of an Android user, but most tips should work on iPhones and iPads as well.

How to start with your Photo Sphere

After installing the Google camera App, open and swipe right to open the menu to select the photo sphere icon
Photo Sphere Icon in the Google Camera App
Before creating your photo sphere, take time to select your location and decide what will be the most interesting feature in your 360 degree view.  You'll want to take the least interesting part of your photo first, that way the more interesting parts will have less issues being stitched together.
As you take your photo, remember to keep the lens of your smartphone's camera as the "pivot point."  Remind yourself as you work that  the lens of the camera is at the center of the sphere, I find it easies to hold the phone in both hands, about chest high. As you pivot around, dots will lead you to where you need to photograph next. If you take a shot that does not fit well to the last shot, you can undo the last photo taken in the Photo Sphere and try again. Try to move slowly so the camera can take clear shots. Take center photo, then take up and down and circle right. Keeping your pattern consistent will help with the quality of your photo sphere. When taking my photo spheres, I try to take the photo when not too many people are around (early morning) so that I don't get a lot of movement or distraction of people in the photo.
To understand how to take a photo sphere better, check out this YouTube Video about the process by Mark Bruce

I think Photo Spheres are a great way to share a place you've visited, and perhaps give more of a sense of "being there." Here is a  link to my Photo Spheres

If you have questions, or want to share some Photo Spheres you've created, please leave a comment and link below!

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