Re of the camera in: camera build, image quality and ease of user. It is aimed to be an affordable 360 camera for business with emphasis on a simple point-and-shoot workflow, centered around the jpegs. In an impressive 8k resolution. This means it is best suited for someone who wants the simplest shooting possible. No post-production in Lightroom or Affinity and no special skills are needed.
The Theta Z1 has been known as an unparalleled symbol of quality among virtual tour creators since 2019. The Japanese Ricoh, is known for its great optics used in photography. Therefore, because of its unmatched photo quality, the Z1 camera was synonymous with the highest standard in 360 photography.
In the previous article from our blog series, we explained how to create an engaging 360° property tour. Today we will show you what else can be achieved with Evryplace, once your property presentation is ready. Read and revolutionize your website with just a few clicks using Evryplace editor.
Multiple Listing Service
A new study by Greenlight (the global leader in VR/AR market intelligence) found that “53% of customers said they would be more likely to purchase from a brand who used virtual reality vs. one who did not.” No wonder more and more MLS platforms are using 360° technology. Services as ASARI, Galactica (two largest MLS services in Poland) already use 360° imagery as part of their property offers. According to Forbes, VR is transforming Real Estate Market and creating new standards in property offer advertising. It’s a matter of time that Brightdoor, Booking.com, RightMove will enable VR option because it’s a huge step into the future.
How does embedding on the web look like?
Evryplace presentations are a web component based on HTML language, so integration and adding the presentation to the website is intuitive and comes down to introducing a line of code. Copy and Paste – that’s the way to make 360° imagery part of your site, the difficulty is the same as when adding usual 2D photos however the outcome is significant. Regardless of how your website is developed from scratch or based on WordPress/Squarespace template adding a web embedded 360° presentation is the same – easy and intuitive.
Co-viewing – sales of the 21st century
We live in a time of commonly available technology when most internet users prefer on-demand real-time communication such as live chat, to email inquiries. The modern buyer is more and more conscious and demanding, wants to know the answers to bothering questions in real-time. The ability for you to respond to this need can have a positive impact on sales figures. Evryplace co-viewing is a natural response to these trends. Guarantees quick and easy contact with the sales department, and therefore with experts, from anywhere in the world.
Now you know that 360° presentations are not only about showing the space better but more about engaging potential buyers on each touchpoint and you’ve learned what else can be achieved with Evryplace, be in touch with us, see you in part 4 of our guide!
In the previous part of our tutorial, you could see how to process 360 photos in Adobe Lightroom to get a professional effect and obtain high quality. We also showed you how you can quickly stitch them with the Ricoh Theta Stitcher to get a virtual tour ready version. After these few steps, the photos are much better, but there are two more issues that we can take care of in order to enjoy even more attractive spherical photos. The steps we will discuss in this article are: removing a tripod from a 360 photo and removing noises.
How to remove a tripod from a 360 photo?
The thing about 360 photos is that they will capture everything around you. Unfortunately, side -effect is that the tripod, and often the reflection of the 360 camera in the mirror will also appear in the photosphere. This often disrupts the reception of the photographed room and distances us from the professional effect.
A quick way to remove a tripod from a 360 photo
One of the easiest ways is to simply cover the tripod visible on the floor with your company logo (in the Evryplace editor, just use the graphic widget and position it nicely on the floor). It is a very quick solution, which also allows us to brand our office.
However, with more 360 photos it can become overwhelming – e.g. if in one large room there are numerous logos on the floor (the same applies to the logo in each room). Such a virtual tour may make it difficult for viewers to perceive the space properly, and even discourage them from purchasing (e.g. it will be more difficult for them to visualize the rooms as potentially their own). Therefore, we recommend that you only use this method sporadically.
Advanced way to remove a tripod from a 360 photo
In order to remove the tripod and the camera’s reflections in mirrors / glass / other reflective surfaces, we can use Adobe Photoshop. To do this, open the photosphere in Adobe Photoshop and then create a 3d Sphere from it. This way, when the tripod is removed, the stitching line of the photosphere will not be visible because Photoshop will know that the pixels on the lower edge of the image will be adjacent and apply the processing taking this into account.
➡ Now we reach for the Healing Brush tool.
We mark the tripod and other elements that we want to remove.
(Hint: right-clicking will open the properties of the “brush” which selects the elements to be removed. We recommend setting the appropriate size, a little larger than the tripod, and the “hardness” at about 50%)
And it’s ready 👏:
Now it suffices to export the 3D sphere:
How to remove noises from a 360 photo?
Topaz DeNoise AI (note: the program is paid, but definitely worth using in our opinion) will help you quickly remove noise that is characteristic for 360 cameras. Settings that we need to pay attention to when removing noises are AI Mode: AI Clear and Settings: Remove Noise set to High and Enhance Sharpness set to High.
And it’s done, in the folder we choose we have professional quality photos that we can directly upload to Evryplace and create an amazing, much higher quality than using the jpg format and automatic settings, virtual tour. The noise reduction gives us a very attractive end result.
Summary of the guide on how to take (better) 360 photos
Pictures taken according to the steps given by us maintain sharpness, the balance between light and shadow and colours much better. By taking the steps listed in the guide, we avoid “flooding with light” and dark invisible places. The surfaces viewed will now be attractive, bright, clear and very aesthetic. Thanks to this, your clients will react much better to the presentation – as you know, “we eat with our eyes” and what is more visually attractive wins in the fight for our attention, because it evokes more positive emotions and stays in our memory for a longer time.
So remember about the DFE plugin on your 360 camera, photo processing in Lightroom, as well as noise removal and removing a tripod from your photospheres. The first time to take all these steps into account, will be time consuming, but with each subsequent attempt you will reach a point when it will be a matter of minutes.
We hope you find our series of articles helpful. We wish you good luck in using the potential of your photospheres and virtual tours in building the potential of your company! 🙂
In the previous part of the guide on How to take better 360 photos, we learned how we can use the DFE plugin to enhance the quality of our photos. However, we stopped at a point where our supposedly great photos are not ready to be used. Today you will learn how to make these photos look truly appealing. We will also transform them (by stitching them together) into a version that works perfectly fine with a virtual tour software. We have prepared a step-by-step guide for you – you can see the screens from each stage 🙂
Editing spherical photos in Adobe Lightroom
After taking the photos with the DFE plugin and downloading them to the computer, we got the photos in DNG format. This is not very useful for us at the moment, so we need Adobe Lightroom to turn them into visually attractive professional images that can be used in a virtual tour.
Adobe Lightroom is an indispensable tool for editing and greatly enhancing spherical photos. It allows us to adjust the key parameters for the photo and, by using the plugin, will allow us to stitch the photos quickly and intuitively. Thanks to Adobe Lightroom, we can also get rid of chromatic aberration with just a few clicks. It is a paid tool, but at the moment we have not found any free alternative offering equal quality (If we come across one, we will let you know! If you have already encountered it, let us know in the comments 😉). If you plan to take high-quality 360 photos frequently, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with this tool (you can try it for free). Now let’s move on to what we can get out of it.
Editing spherical photos in Adobe Lightroom step by step 👣
- We upload photos to Adobe Lightroom.
2. Go to the Develop tab for processing. As you can see the photos are not usable yet – they are excessively dark. Therefore, we have to brighten them, then we can add contrast and choose other settings. In fact, in many cases it is enough to just brighten the photos – this is the indispensable minimum, if we do not have time, we can stop here. However, below we describe a wider range of tools and possible editing options. This is not all that can be done to get the full potential out of raw photos, but it is a very big (huge!) step forward that will make an enormous difference.
At the moment we have very high quality hemispherical images, but they are not yet usable – they are too dark and you cannot see much of them.
3. First, give an automatic Lightroom correction a try by clicking on the Auto button. We can also choose all settings manually – the effect will then be more suited to our preferences, but it will take a little more time. As you can see after pressing the auto button – the photo is a bit brighter but this is still not the effect we want.
4. That is why, now we manually add Exposure – the parameter mainly responsible for the brightness. For photos taken with Theta Z1 and V, it is safe to set Highlights to the lowest value and Shadows to the highest value in advance. If we want our virtual tour to be more vivid and colorful – we can use the Contrast slider – but be careful not to overdo it, because the effect will be exaggerated, and it is better to aim for elegance.
We can also increase the Clarity parameter – the photos will be sharper then, but we do not recommend using a value higher than 70, because the effect, while it may seem attractive in the Lightroom preview, will appear unnatural in the presentation. We can also adjust the Saturation slider if we need more vivid colours.
How to remove chromatic aberration from 360 photos?
360 cameras tend to produce purple and blue shadows at the edges of contrasting areas. It is the result of the laws of physics. We are talking about the phenomenon of the so-called chromatic aberration. You can easily get rid of it for an even more professional effect.
Removing aberration is simple – in the Lens Correction tab, set Amount to 10 and move the left slider (Purple Hue) to the left to increase the range until the aberration disappears.
When we process one photo in this way, we can select the first and holding down the shift key the last photo and select the Sync button. Lightroom will apply the changes from the first photo to all photos. This is the fastest method, but we recommend that you browse through the rest of the photos. In my case, removing the aberration caused the blue couch to become discoloured, which required correction (reverse process to removing the aberration). In addition, not every photo was lit in the same way, so some clearly would call for additional adjustments of the Exposure settings.
At this point we have very high-quality photos that are still in Lightroom in a raw format and in the form of two hemispheres. To be useful for us, we need to make them rectangular.
How to stitch photo spheres? Ricoh Theta Stitcher
To stitch the photos together (to make the 2:1 rectangle from the two hemispheres) we need Ricoh’s Lightroom plugin (RICOH THETA Stitcher.exe). You have to install it once, then it will be available every time you need to stitch a photo.
You can download the plugin here:
We download the file, install the content and then in Lightroom we have to indicate the location of the executable file. In the case of Windows it is: C: \ Program Files \ RICOH THETA Stitcher \ RICOH THETA Stitcher.exe
Stitching 360 photos together with Ricoh Theta Stitcher
To make a rectangle photo in such a format that can be handled by a vritual tour software, right-click on the preview and select the RICOH THETA STITCHER plugin from Edit In. The “stitcher” will open. We can also select multiple photos at once. Opening the plugin takes a while so we may have to wait a while without clicking anything else.
We choose the following settings:
👉 and then we click Edit
Click OK. If we have loaded more than one photo, we will find Batch Processing opyion under the OK button – we want to use it to stitch all photos at once. It’s almost over. At this point, we should have rectangular photos in Lightroom, which just need to be exported to jpg format. and will be ready for use.
Exporting stitched 360 photos to jpg. format
To do this, choose the rectangular versions of the photos and right-click export.
After choosing where to save the photos – click the Export button.
Your photos are now really eye-catching! You can use them in the virtual tour editor and be proud of the effect obtained. But…there are a few more ways to improve the quality of your 360 photos. Stay tuned, because we will soon talk about removing noise and a tripod from your photo spheres 😊.
In the first part, we learned how many factors determine the quality of 360° photos. You could see what aspects needed to be improved and you learned a few ways to improve your photos quickly and easily. However, if you want to take your photos to the next level and are ready to spend a little more time on it, today we come to you with an article that will make it possible.
We will tell you everything about the plugin, the use of which will allow, as we mentioned in the last post, to “combine” the advantages of dark and light photos, creating one perfectly lit photo. Thanks to this, both the view outside the window and objects placed in the shadow will remain visible and will be appealing.
Dual Fisheye Plugin
How does it work?
The Dual Fisheye Plugin is mainly used in a configuration where it takes 9 photos in a row and then combines them into one (in photography this is called multi bracketing and stacking). An additional advantage of this plugin is that it combines these photos into one automatically, so it saves our time. Another benefit we gain is the .dng format, in which the camera and the plug-in save photos. It allows for much more processing than the flat .jpg format – which is ready to use but loses a lot of data from the photo.
Since the photos we receive using this method are obtained in a raw format, they require processing in Adobe Lightroom Classic (if we find a good free alternative – we will write an article about it. Next week, however, we will tell you about working in Adobe Lightroom). It will allow us to take the most from a photo in the raw format, then “stitch it” and save it in .jpg format.
How to do it?
It is worth mentioning at the beginning: the first shooting with this method will take much more time than each subsequent one. After going through the procedure about 2-3 times, making one property (taking photos and processing them) should take approximately 20-30 minutes. Therefore, it is necessary to answer the question whether we want to devote time to implement this method. If we can – in our opinion it is definitely worth your time😀.
We will need to:
1. Take photos using the DFE plugin
To do this, we need to install the plugin in the camera and turn it on and set it properly before taking pictures. All this is simple and requires a few clicks of the camera buttons (below 👇 you will find a description where we explain step by step how to do it). Note, that taking photos with this method takes longer than without the plugin, but results in much better material.
2. Process photos in LightRoom
DNG photos are raw so cannot be used right away. Why do we use the DNG format? Because it has a much greater potential as to what can be done with such a photo in Lightroom and what it could potentially look like. The steps we will follow are quite basic, with an emphasis on the shortest possible process in relation to the effects.
The processing will consist of setting the parameters: Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Clarity and removing chromatic aberration.
3. Stitch the photos together
We will use a plugin for this, this time for Lightroom, we will have to install it before or during the process. The operation itself is very simple (the plugin does everything almost automatically) and allows you to stitch many photos at once.
4. Export photos
Up to .jpg format – then you can use them in Evryplace just like regular photos taken with the most automatic mode.
Today we take the first step. We’ll cover the next ones soon.
Taking photos with the DFE plugin – step by step
In order to achieve a professional effect, we will need higher-quality photos and processing after taking them. To make better photos (those that give a much greater possibility of processing), install the Dual Fisheye Plugin, which can be downloaded for free from the producer’s website. Dual Fisheye Plugin is an add-on that is installed in the Ricoh Theta Z1 or V camera. Its most important function that we want to use is the so-called Multi Bracketing, i.e. taking the same photo many times – but at different exposures (i.e. exposure, from the most underexposed through a little less underexposed to slightly overexposed and highly overexposed). This function is also standardly supported by Theta cameras (you can set the multi bracketing manually). So why do we want to use DFE? For the sake of saving time. First of all, we do not have to manually set the exposure value for each of the many photos of the same frame, secondly, because when using the built-in multi bracketing, we have to “merge” them ourselves, i.e. stack these photos into one in order to be able to use them further. DFE Plugin does it automatically for us and we download only one photo from the camera’s memory, which already contains all photos from different exposures, therefore saving our time.
We install it on Ricoh Theta Z1 and/or V camera. Ricoh Theta S and SC/SC2 cameras do not support the possibility of installing plugins. To install on a computer, download a plugin that will open the basic Theta application. It is important to make sure that our camera has the highest available firmware version.
If you would like to test this option and do not have a suitable model, you can always rent a 360° camera. You will get a – 10% discount with the promo code: Evryplace on the website https://wervr.pl/
After installing DFE, the most convenient is to enter the plugin management menu and set DFE as the first of the three available positions. This will make it easier to use with buttons on the side of a camera. When we have a camera equipped with a plugin, we want to turn it on.
Press and hold the Mode button and then select the plugin with the trigger button, the one that is used to take photos (if you have not set the DFE plugin on the first place, follow these steps: after holding the Mode button to open the plug-in menu, press Mode one by one to select the plugin and then confirm with the button on the front of the camera). Then, with the Mode button, select HDR-DNG and with the wi-fi/Bluetooth button, select HDR-DNG 9.
To start taking photos using this plugin, you can use an additionally paid remote-control application (note: it is only available on Android). We did not use this application, so we held down the connect button (wifi / bluetooth) to add a 10-second self-timer – this allowed us to take photos with the right time to hide ourselves from the photo scenery.
Now we can set the camera on a tripod and start taking photos by pressing the trigger button (the round button above the display). Since we set the self-timer to 10 seconds, we press the button and hide so that we are not visible in the pictures. Now the camera will take a series of 9 photos. It takes longer than taking a single photo with the classic method. Each photo is signalled with a sound, so we know when the camera finishes taking photos. Then, it needs some time (about twice as long as for taking photos) to process them. While the photos are being processed, a message is displayed. When it disappears, we can take more photos. While the camera is processing, we can move it from one place to another.
At this point, we have very high-quality photos on the camera. In order to use them in a virtual tour, we need them on the computer.
When you finish taking pictures, connect the camera to the computer and download the pictures. The DFE plugin is great because it merges multi-bracketing photos into one file. The photos are in a different file than we are used to – they are in the DUALFISHEYE folder.
We select photos with “HDR” in the name. As you can see, we have pictures in a DNG format. This is not very useful for us at the moment, so we need Adobe Lightroom to turn them into visually attractive professional images to use in a virtual tour. How to convert them? See the next part of the guide!
We hope you can successfully use the DFE plugin now and take great, evenly lit, high quality photos. You have learned a more advanced option, but to complete it, you will also need knowledge of 360 ° photo editing in Adobe Lightroom – follow us closely and get the most of the knowledge of our specialists. We tried to describe everything in detail, but if you still have doubts – write to us and we will gladly dispel them🍃.
Why don’t your photos look as they should?
We get many questions from you why the photos you have taken with great 360° cameras don’t look as good as those made by your competition or as those you’ve seen on advertisements.
Some spots are too bright others too dark. Some objects aren’t visible at all as a shadow was casted on them. Funnily enough the same photo can be overexposed as the light is pouring out of window making it impossible to see what’s outside and making it difficult to see the interior properly (especially difficult for the room to look appealing in those conditions). The colours are too cold, too warm, or have too many purple tones. In addition, there is strong noise which makes everything look blurry. Sometimes there are also strangely coloured borders of objects (more about chromatic aberration soon 😉). As if that was not enough, there is a tripod visible on the floor, or it is reflected in the mirror. How to deal with it? Our guide (divided into parts) is about to address those issues and present you with solutions.
Before you start suspecting your hardware or software for virtual tours of poor quality, it is worth delving deeper into 360° photography. Attractive photos that you see in other announcements or advertisements could have been made simply with different technique (using more advanced functions or plugins), and most likely someone also post-processed them with the help of specialized programs.
In today’s article, you will learn about the basic options for improving the quality of your photos, which will give you better results with very little time and effort. Beginners are the ones who can get the most from this. In the next post, we will deal with the advanced options! Stay tuned 👀
First, you should take a look on how the same place at the same time of a day appears on the photos taken with different methods.
Evryplace creates virtual tours of exactly the same quality as the photos we upload to Evryplace. Therefore, to create better walks, we just need better photos.
Basic option: auto settings
Automatic camera settings are the primary mode for taking pictures – they are the fastest option and require no skill. Just press a button on the camera or in the application on the phone and it’s ready. If we want to use the automatic mode, our photos will often be too dark (as in the example shown below) or too bright.
How can we improve the photos at this stage?
In Auto mode, we can adjust the brightness of the photo by moving the EV (Exposure Value) slider. We will achieve a similar effect by increasing the brightness in post-processing of the photo in the graphic editor and the Evryplace graphic corrector. This will give us an effect similar to that obtained using the Manual Settings described in the next section.
Medium option: manual settings
A good compromise between the time spent shooting and the result.
It is worth manually setting the camera mainly for the shutter speed and aperture.
The aperture is responsible for the depth of field to a great extent. Surely each of us has seen a photo with an artistically blurred background. In the case of real estate, we want everything to be sharp, so the aperture should be as closed as possible – a value of 5.6.
We need a short exposure time when we want to capture something dynamic – for example a running horse or falling leaves. In the case of real estate photography, each element (walls, furniture, etc.) is static, so we can be sure that nothing will move during shooting, and we can set the camera to take a photo “longer”. Assuming that we set the aperture to 5.6 (the highest value of the three to choose from) – we choose the exposure time to such a value that the photo appears properly lit. The exposure time is expressed in fractions of a second, so ½ means longer exposure time than ¼. The more light entering the camera, the brighter the photo.
It is best to use these two parameters, optimally we want to have the lowest ISO – sensor sensitivity (Well, it’s not exactly that, but for the sake of this article we can think of it like that). High ISO causes “grain” in the image, we increase the ISO only when we cannot choose the appropriate parameters of exposure time and aperture (when we “exhaust the scale”). In the case of residential photography, this should not happen.
However, as you can see in the photos attached, the problem remains that the light from behind the windows makes the photo overexposed, and when we set the parameters for a darker photo – there is no light in the darkest places.
What if you could take dark photos and light photos and get the best out of them? This is what the professional method using the DFE plugin is all about, which we will tell you more about soon!
What to pay attention to? What are the shortcomings of this option? What else can be done?
Note the overexposure – it occurred in both Auto and Manual modes. Even in the Auto mode, in which the photos themselves turned out to be too dark, you can see that the light has poured out of the window and overfilled the photo with light. As a result, not only the reception of the entire photo is worsened, but we simply cannot see what is outside the window (and we could have used it to our advantage).
In both cases there is also the so-called Chromatic aberration, i.e. blue and purple shadows at the edges of, for example, windows – we will talk more about getting rid of it in the next articles.
As you can see, there is still a lot of things that can be improved (there are still many that we haven’t even mentioned, so as not to burden you with all of them at once), but you already have tools that will allow you to easily improve the quality of your photos. We will deal with the next, more advanced steps soon (once you get to know them, you will be able to easily implement them).
This article is a very important introduction on your path to improving the quality of 360 ° photos. We hope that thanks to it you already know what is worth paying attention to and what parameters to manipulate to emphasize the advantages of a given room. Try to implement these changes to your photos and in a week, you will be able to introduce new ones with us and create better and better 360 ° photos 🙂
In this article you will be granted a chance to learn step by step how to create a virtual tour and make your real estate offer stand out from the crowd. We present useful functionalities and possible uses of widgets. We show how to cunningly hid minor flaws in photos. We will give you advice on how to provide your customer with more engaging and immersive content that will catch their eye. Last but not least, we will navigate you through each stage of creating a virtual tour in Evryplace editor.
Home Staging in Editor
When in the real life of a realtor things go other way than planned, the virtual world presents us with possibilities and tools to troubleshoot the issue quickly and easily.
How to conceal minor flaws in photos?
Realtors more than often find themselves with the photos containing minor flaws that were not visible or so obvious when looked at directly after the session. After looking at them some time later, it turns out that the wallpaper peeling off the wall has been caught somewhere, elsewhere there are traces of children’s hands on the cabinets in the kitchen, and Theta is also reflected in the bathroom mirror. It is understandable, because with a busy schedule of apartment sessions, it is not always possible to pay attention to every detail. That is why it is important to ask the owner of the apartment to help prepare it before you arrive. Equally often, it turns out that the apartment will be refreshed soon or that the owners have undertaken to renovate some of the rooms in the near future. In these cases especially, it is worth discreetly covering a visible stain on the wall or a torn wallpaper.
Widgets that allow you to fix minor flaws in photos come to the rescue:
By adding “Image”, you can place a graphic file in strategic places, i.e., a poster, which could hide what we do not want to show in the photo for the time being.
By adding a “Text field” you can try to place a quote or additional information on an empty wall.
By using the image widget, you can cover up the 360° tripod visible in the photo with the logo of your real estate agency.
How do I get the most out of widgets?
Now imagine you have a complete set of great 360° photos. Everything was perfect – the weather was fine, the apartment was sunny and spacious, all the details were captured and suddenly… that big, empty table in the middle of the room. It calls for a vase with a bouquet of flowers. And the photo from the balcony? If only there was a visible sign with the name of the streets somewhere, at the intersection under the block …
Widgets will enable you to add to your offer:
names of the streets adjacent to the apartment
technical data of the equipment located in the apartment
data on the square footage, condition of the apartment, installation, etc.
your agency branding
additional elements of decor
How to make a virtual tour more entertaining and immersive?
You certainly know of properties in which the key advantage is an attractive location, e.g. near a forest. We are talking not only about the views, but also about the sounds that can be registered in the morning. The rustle of trees and birds singing… soothing sounds and an amazing experience.
Or maybe the owners have an interesting story about the apartment?
Add a widget with an audio file.
• Add an audio widget in the balcony or terrace scene, where sounds from the surrounding area are recorded.
• You can upload a greeting at the beginning of the presentation or a detailed description of some unusual elements of the apartment or its interior.
• All audio ideas allowed!
In modern real estate offers, even home staging can be in 2.0 version
How to properly capture the rooms layout?
The fact that a presentation is virtual does not mean that you cannot feel as if you are there. During a virtual tour, it is possible to smoothly move from one room to another. This way, we keep logic in the layout of the rooms, so that you can “enter” and return to the starting point as you please.
Two functions of the Editor will come in handy here:
By viewing the virtual tour attached to the offer, you can also see the layout of the property. By adding a flat plan (the so-called “space plan”) and marking individual rooms on it, we make it possible to understand the layout of the rooms more fully and accurately. Especially when the property has an additional floor.
By using the “transitions” widget, a smooth form of movement between presentation scenes is maintained. It allows you to move freely around the apartment, go through the corridor to the next rooms, and pass through the door just as if you were there.
See how to create a virtual tour step-by-step:
If there are still some issues that you have not found the answer to in this article, do not hesitate to contact us – we will be happy to tell you more about creating virtual tours 🙂
In this article, you will find out how making photospheres looks like in practice. We will guide you step by step through the following stages of taking 360° photos – from pairing devices to downloading your photos. What is more, we will tell you why it is so important to use an HDR rendering mode instead of auto mode and how to get the best out of your photo. Next, you will be presented with a breakdown of two 360° cameras – Theta Z1 and Theta V. This comparison should facilitate making a purchase decision most suitable to your needs. Additionally, we will raise 360° videos and the possibilities they present for a real estate market. So read along and enjoy 😊
Taking photos with a Theta camera
Knowledge on how to show a client around the property is one thing. However, it is also important to know which camera you should choose and how to take good quality photos for your virtual tour.
Taking 360° photos – how is it done?
At this stage, you know everything you need about measures needed taking before a 360° session. According to previous hints and tips, you are already equipped with a Theta camera paired with your mobile application. The apartment is well prepared, and every trace of your presence is hidden from the view. Let’s move on to the photo-taking process.
By choosing a RICOH THETA camera for creating virtual tours from 360° photos, we chose a solution of the highest reliability based on five years’ experience on the market and the one that is supported by many applications.
360° photos – step by step
- Turn on the Ricoh Theta camera and wait for about 2 – 3 seconds until a camera icon appears.
- Activate a WiFi connection by clicking on the button () placed on the side of the camera.
- In the RICOH THETA application, connect to a camera by choosing “last connected device” from the list.
- Place the camera mounted on a tripod in a place that will ensure great capture of the space.
- Leave the room in which the camera is.
- In your application, press the Theta icon to take a photo. The camera will confirm the action by a short sound signal.
What to bear in mind while taking 360° photos?
Hiding behind a corner does not always work. It would be better if you leave the room entirely.
Pay attention to possible camera reflections in mirrors – if you see the camera in the mirror, you will be visible in the photo.
You don’t want to cast a shadow over the room where the camera is nor over the objects that will appear in the photo. Beware of that in every room you photograph.
Be careful when leaving your personal belongings lying in the apartment. Keys on the table, suitcase on the chair or a backpack in the corner – they all should be out of an eye range, safely hidden in the wardrobe. It will help you to prevent objects from alternatively appearing and disappearing from the photos in different shots.
HDR Rendering mode – what is it, and how to take photos in this mode.
The most optimal mode to take 360° photos of the properties is an HDR Rendering mode, in which a camera itself corrects lighting imperfections. As a result, we receive evenly exposed photos. Furthermore, by adjusting the lighting scale corrector, we can increase or decrease the lighting level dependent on how brightly the room is lit.
THETA Tip 1 – HDR Rendering
If we desire to take photos of the most outstanding quality, we should switch on the camera’s HDR Rendering mode. It suffices to set an “HDR Rendering” after clicking on “option settings”. Regarding the extended exposure time in “HDR Rendering” mode, we should use it uniquely on a camera/lamp stand.
THETA Tip 2 – Exposure Value (EV)
For photos taken outdoors or in very sunny rooms, we recommend the EV parameter at the level of -2. In artificial light or underexposed rooms, we recommend setting the EV parameter to +1.
THETA Tip 3 – Look at the picture after taking it
Especially at the beginning of your adventure with THETA cameras, we recommend that you turn on the immediate display mode of photos after taking them. This way, we will be able to check whether we have selected the optimal light parameters and whether the photos should not be repeated. To activate “Display image after shooting”, activate the camera settings () in the image preview screen and enable the “Display after shooting” setting.
THETA Z1 or THETA V? Which camera to choose?
The leading sales of spherical cameras are two RICOH cameras – the affordable THETA V and the more professional, younger THETA Z1. The big price difference between both cameras – THETA V PLN 1699 vs THETA Z1 PLN 4399 – does not make a choice easier. We will try to present both cameras briefly.
THETA V This is an affordable camera that has been a great basic tool for 360° photos of real estate for several years. Its simple operation and low price mean that today many offices can afford to introduce 360° tours to their offer. The camera is ideal for photos of apartments; it performs a bit worse on large surfaces in difficult lighting conditions.
THETA Z1 This is a camera of the next generation of spherical cameras with modernised technology. It differs from its “little sister” by a much higher quality of photos and the possibility of recording high-quality 360° video. This camera is aimed at realtors looking for high-quality photos without drastically increasing costs. THETA Z1 cameras guarantee sharp photos and clear details even for objects distant from the point from which the broker took the photo. A substantial advantage of THETA Z1 cameras is taking photos in the RAW mode as it allows for professional image processing in such programs as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.
We took pictures of the property. What next?
Pictures from THETA cameras can be downloaded like those from a traditional 2D camera. All you need to do is connect the camera to your computer with the USB cable after the photo session. An alternative method of downloading photos is uploading photos to the editor using the EVRYPLACE application. You need only to download the EVRYPLACE application on the phone connected to the THETA camera and use the “Import from THETA” option.
Is it worth creating a virtual tour with 360 ° video?
360° video can be a very attractive form of displaying a property if used correctly. However, we must remember that the large size of 360° scenes, in which every minute is data heavy, will increase each scene’s loading time. Moreover, virtual tours give viewers the freedom to explore the apartment on their own and choose where to go and what to look at. A good 360° video, however, is a well-played scenario for showing the entire property. Nonetheless, realtors from across the Atlantic use a “360° video intro” for prestigious real estate offers – an invitation to visit a virtual walk. An opening scene in the form of a video, in which the broker, entering the apartment, greets the viewer, talks about the property in a few words and encourages them to explore the property on their own in a virtual tour. The short film presents the real estate agency as a professional one and allows the realtor to introduce himself as the person who will accompany the buyer in the purchase. This greeting is much more memorable than a typical chat window in which we are never sure who we are dealing with.
We hope this article will prove useful and will help you take great 360° photos. Are there questions you would like to ask? Let us know! 😊
In this article you will find everything you need to know about mesures needed taking before a 360° session. We will tell you what you should remember to do before setting out to take 360° photos of the apartment for your virtual tour for the first time and what you should pay attention to when in the apartment with a 360° camera.
Before a 360° session in the apartment
While planning on to visit an apartment for a photographic 360° session, you should bear in mind that some knowledge will be needed as well as patience, especially when it is your first time.
Does time of day matter when taking 360° photos?
Similarly to 2D photography, lighting is one of the most important factors influencing the quality of a 360° photo. Usually, when we want to take a perfect shot of the living room, whose windows and balcony doors are facing south, the best time to capture it is in the early afternoon hours. For 360° photography, however, direct light in the afternoon hours is not desirable. In morning hours, east facing rooms will be overexposed. It applies as well to the situation in which rooms with south facing windows are photographed in afternoon hours.
The perfect time of day to plan a photographic session for virtual tour is around noon. Between 11 am and 1 pm we have two hours of even light, which will enable us to take even, in terms of temperature of colours, photos.
How to plan out photos for a virtual tour?
In traditional 2D photography, photo of an apartment should present the main virtue of the place and capture its atmosphere. In 360° photography, however, photo of an apartment should allow to walk around the presented space and get familiar with each room and their layout. The virtual tour should reflect a real-life presentation of the property.
We present a few tips on how to plan out each “stop” and where to put a camera in different spaces in a virtual tour so it would resemble a real-life tour of the property as closely as possible and facilitate a natural flow of the presentation.
It is not advisable to always place a 360° camera in the centre of the room. The bedroom, for instance, would be better presented when captured from the entrance. Furthermore, as to a kitchenette in the living room, it would be more effective to present functional areas instead of the centre of the room linking those two spaces.
Try to place a camera in the place where it will ensure smooth passage from one room to another. The viewer should understand how did he get into a room and how to go back.
Divide larger rooms into several viewing points. If the corridor is too long, the living room is too spacious, it is more natural to be able to look around the apartment from several points.
Watch out for large mirror / glass surfaces – you will have to hide from them, because you won’t be able to hide the camera’s reflection.
Turn on all the lights in the apartment. The more light the better. At the same time, pay attention to the strong light points above the camera – strong halogens near the camera disturb the exposure balance of the two lenses.
Don’t forget about the photos of the outside. The view from the balcony will show the neighbourhood and adjacent streets. Underground parking is also important, and the photos of corridor or staircase will help to reflect the standard of the property.
“For prestigious properties there isn’t more attractive form of presentation than a 360° intro. The opening scene of a virtual tour, with a realtor inviting to visit a property.”
Before you set out to property, remember about preparations!
Tip 01 – Charge battery in your 360° camera
With full battery, Theta cameras will work for approximately 2 -3 hours. When it comes to 360° videos, however, it will suffice only for 1 hours so better take a power bank with you.
Tip 02 – Download useful applications beforehand
You shall need two apps – Ricoh Theta for taking photos and Evryplace for creating virtual tours. Make sure you have those apps on your mobile phone.
Tip 03 – Pair your mobile phone with the camera
Indispensable step to creating professional 360 photos of the property in which there aren’t visible realtors’ fingers tightened around the camera.
Tip 04 – Don’t forget a tripod
Great quality photos of the property require a tripod. You can use a camera or a lamp stand. Theta cameras can be mounted as well on a lamp stand (around 60 PLN).
While doing your first 360° real estate session you can easily make mistakes that are not noticeable during shooting, but they can eventually reveal themselves when creating a virtual tour. Here are some tips worth remembering while taking 360° photos.
While taking traditional photos of the properties we pick up habits that we should wean off while taking 360° photos. Like taking photos from a corner of the room for instance.Grzegorz Jabłoński Evryplace
- Photos taken near walls or in the corners of the apartment. Nobody from your clients would like to find himself facing a corner of a room.
- Closed doors. Open apartment invites visitors inside and facilitates navigating around flats’ layout. The sole door that should remain closed is the one leading to the bathroom.
- Placing a camera on objects (tabletops, beds, windowsills). What’s more you should refrain from taking photos by hand. 360° selfies featuring clients content with their choice can be posted on social media sites. In virtual tours, however, use a tripod only.
Implement 360° technology to your business
From year 2013 Ricoh has been consequently developing 360° business solutions thanks to RICOH THETA 360 camera series.
Wow effect is guaranteed
Using a 360° camera enables real estate agents to take professional photographs of the apartments in a few seconds and present the whole space in one photo. By doing so they are provided with the possibility of showing their clients around the property without the necessity of leaving their office. The RICOH THETA 360° camera means easy capturing and quick integration with a virtual tour software. Its small size and affordable price allow to take it everywhere with you. Learn more about all the RICOH THETA models on the site: https://theta360.com/en/
The RICOH THETA 360° camera means:
An innovative device which helps to save time and money
Economic way of capturing high quality photos
An efficient device which allows you to integrate quickly with a virtual tour software
Make a virtual tour easy and quick
Maximize yours and your clients’ time
Offer innovative services
Attract clients’ attention thanks to interactive virtual tours
We hope our article will prove useful in your work. May your photos emphasize what’s best in every apartment. If you are struggling to find answers to arising questions, don’t hesitate to ask us! We will be happy to help 🙂