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! 😊