These five tips will help you make more impressive 360° VR photos.

  1. Here comes the sun
  2. Ditch the thumb 
  3. Don’t get too close
  4. Go remote 
  5. Get vertical
Enjoy this free 360° tutorial from the Smart Film School.

1. Keep the sun on the side

When framing your shot, take care to ensure that the sun is somewhere between the lenses and that neither one is pointed directly at it. 

When a lens faces the sun, it receives much more light than the other side and this often results in a visible halo that reveals the stitching line.

Pro tip: Seek out shots when the light is filtered: Can your shot be framed to block a large light source with buildings or clouds?

2. Use a selfie stick or small tripod

If you want to avoid taking photos that all have a giant thumb in them, you will need to attach a selfie stick or a small tripod to the 360° camera.  
The slimmer the mount the better.

Without a tripod . . .

 . . . and with a tripod

I can guess what your next question is . . . so here is the tripod I use in the field.

3. Avoid the extreme close-up

For the same reason that the big thumb can be distracting, you will want to keep subject’s faces a certain distance away from the camera lenses too.
Make some test shots with your rig to find the right distance. Look for faces that are not distorted from the visual stitching that happens in the software.

Faces distort easily when they are too close

4. Use a remote control app 

You can film professional looking VR images once you get your 360° camera in an interesting location, have it stabilized on a stick or tripod and can activate it remotely. 
Most cameras ship with a companion smartphone app that allows you to trip the shutter or toggle the video camera on and off.

Tripping the shutter with an app

5. Watch the horizon

It is critical to get the horizon level when filming landscape VR shots.

Pay attention to the ‘verticality’ of your camera rig and double check the horizon with the live image preview with your smartphone app.

This is what happens when your camel ride makes it hard to hold the camera vertical . . .

Get more tips in my new 360° video editing course.