eCommerce Photography Studio
Amanda Kleczka

Amanda Kleczka

Understanding 360 Degree Product Photography

How to do 360 Degree Photography?

Online shoppers rely heavily on product images when making purchase decisions. With online sales on the rise, images are everything- both to the consumer and the retailer. In the last few years, retailers have embraced 360 degree product imagery: not only to enhance their online showing but to also help shoppers feel confident in their online buying decisions.

white background ecommerce image
Source: SMSB Consulting Group

How Does 360 Degree Photography Work?

Simple! A sequence of images of a product is snapped from the same perspective going all the way around the item, 360 degrees. When paired with 360 software, this sequence of images can be stitched together to create an interactive visual of the product. Features like zoom and spin allow the user to explore products from all sides and explore finer detail. The 360 spin can be set to start automatically, or can be activated by a click, allowing the viewer to rotate the item as desired. 

How is it Shot?

High resolution images are key to creating successful 360s and can be achieved using a quality digital camera. A specialized turntable is used to rotate the product between each shot, while the camera stays in the same place on a tripod. The amount of rotation between each shot is determined by the number of photos taken for the sequence.  A set of 36 images would have 10 degrees of rotation between each shot. With more shots per 360 degrees, the rotation will look smoother and more natural when composed together. Typically, images are taken in sets of 24, 36 or 72, while higher-end captures entail sets of 144 images. The seamless rotation will elevate the product imagery to a shopping experience that feels tangible 3D. 

Spherical vs. Hemispherical?

360 photography is considered hemispherical when the images are captured from one viewing angle. When adding more rows of 360 image sets at different angles, you create a spherical view. When all the rows of images are stitched together, the spherical 360 takes on a 3D feel. This allows the user to click and drag the product, viewing it at any angle.

Just as the number of images per set yields a smoother rotation, the number of sets at different angles create a smoother spherical viewing experience. While the hemispherical 360 allows you to spin the product around on one focal plane left to right, spherical 360 allows the viewer to click and drag the item in any direction.

What are the Benefits of 360 Imagery?

Viewing a product in its entirety enables online shoppers to buy with confidence. There is little left to the imagination when shoppers can handle the product virtually. This helps buyers feel like they are shopping in person rather than online. 360s of products out of their packaging can give the user an even better experience than in store shopping in some cases. Fine details of a product can be shown off, especially when they are highlighted with clickable information or hot spots.

360 hot spots are bullet points that give details about the product when clicked or hovered over. With the use of these hot spots or call outs, you can highlight finer details, textures, and selling features on items, and give more information on why someone should consider buying it. These features might not be noticed by an in-store shopper that can only view the product packaging.

Online retailers such as Amazon have turned to 360s in recent years to enhance product listings and boost sales. Such retailers have noticed a reduction in product returns when listings include 360 imagery. With the recent boom in online shopping due to COVID-19, online shopping has become more competitive between online retailers. 360 degree product photography is a great way to bolster product listings and give consumers the assurance to buy with confidence.

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