360 degree product photography


This article aims to understand 360 spin technology better to know when and how to use it to maximise its benefits for your business and your customers. This article is aimed at professionals who would like to benefit from 360° photography in their companies.

Table of Contents

· What is 360° product photography?

· 360° product spin types.

· The benefits of using 360° photography in an e-shop.

· When should my products be shot in 360° view?

· How do you capture products in 360-degree view?

· In-house 3D (spherical/hemispherical) product photography studio

· Summary

What is 360° product photography?

Product photography 360 degrees (also called 360° photography, 360° packshot, 360° spin, or spin photography) enables you to photograph and present products from multiple angles. There are usually several photos taken at even angles around an object (e.g. 10°) that are then combined into a single view, which simulates the rotation of that object. It is mainly used in e-shops, product pages, and social media to give more information about the product and engage your customers.

Types of 360° product spin

360° product photography is primarily used to provide consumers with more information about the product. 360 ° product photography has evolved over the last few years to give even more information, such as deep zoom 360 spins, 3D spins (multi-raw spins), product animations, and product tours. 360° reels are usually interactive these days, letting the user drag an object to rotate it with a mouse, though non-interactive spins can still be used. The following are the most popular types of 360-degree product presentations:

Non-interactive 360° animations

GIF animation, 72 frames, 1.08 MB

Traditionally non-interactive product spins used GIF format. It’s still useful today on social media (especially Twitter and Instagram) or whenever you need to send a spin via email. The most significant advantage of GIF animation is that the whole spin is embedded into a single image file that is widely used standard and compatible with the most exotic web browsers, email clients, and any other software. However, there are some significant disadvantages as well:

· Poor quality – few colours (8-bit, which is equivalent to 256 single colours, as opposed to 24-bit and 16M+ colours in any other format)

· GIF animations are large and do not compress well

· Prospective customer engagement is low.

· However, less informative than interactive spin brings more information than still photography.

Newer animation file formats can offer better quality and smaller size but may not be compatible with all web browser versions and don’t provide any interactivity.

It’s a better idea to use MPEG-4/H.264 video (using html5 video tag configured correctly), this compresses way better than GIF and matches the compatibility of the GIF format, providing basic interactivity (the user can rotate an object using a timeline), which allows a full-screen preview.

Interactive 360-degree product photography

Press play to start and use gestures or mouse to rotate (drag) or zoom (scroll)

The interactive 360° spins allow you to rotate the object freely as you drag your mouse or move your finger. More advanced 360° would allow you to zoom into a product to see more details (Deep Zoom technology). The most significant advantage of the interactive spin is a better product experience: you allow your customer to “play with your product”. At the same time, they get to know your product better. There is, however, a disadvantage; usually, it uses larger file size and a need to use a dedicated scrip on a website: a 360° image viewer.

Multi-row 360° spin – aka 3D product photography, hemispherical/spherical product spin

Press play to start; while spinning, the content is downloaded, and you can view the whole 3D spin.

The multi-raw 3D spin technique is a variation of the 360 ° product view where the product images are also taken at a variety of vertical angles (rows). A hemispherical spin requires 2-3 additional rows (you can view the product 360° horizontally and 180° vertically), whereas a spherical one requires 4-6 (360° in both directions). The total number of images can be staggering: four rows of 36 images yield 144 single images.

In addition to revealing hidden features on the top and bottom sides, this can provide more information about a product. It is complex and expensive to capture the entire 3D view, which requires specialised software, a photography turntable, a 3D arm and usually multiple cameras. File sizes can also be large, so a dedicated 3D spin viewer script is required for the website, which can handle a large amount of data efficiently. Horizontal rotation is usually much smoother than vertical because you cannot afford to shoot too many vertical angles. It makes experiencing the 3D view jerky and feeling overall lower quality.

Double-axis 360° spin

Double, or two-axis 360° photography is a combination of two 360° images: one standard horizontal 360° spin and one vertical. Technically it works the same as 360° spin; however, it’s trickier to capture. In the majority of situations, using a double 360° product spin is a better option than spherical and hemispherical spins. It requires less effort to produce, and the total size of the 360° product view is smaller than the spherical or semispherical one.

That’s just a small summary of 360-degree product photography. We hope you enjoyed this article. Learn more about 360 photography here.

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