You’ve finally got your hands on the Giroptic iO, and don’t want to waste any time stumbling along the learning curve. Luckily for you, there isn’t much of one. 3 quick tips for shooting great 360 degree images.

The iO was designed to do most of the job for you: the fact that it’s in 360° means it’s next to impossible to miss the shot. And with video stabilization—available now for iOS and coming soon for Android—all that’s left for you to do, really, is click a button. Go ahead, we challenge you to mess that up!

Still, let’s get some obvious pointers out of the way to serve as a base for future articles where we can really dig into honing the art of 360°.

 

Tip #1: Avoid unintended close-ups of objects that block the frame

Unless you’re intentionally going for a certain type of artistic shot, take care to keep objects (e.g. a water bottle, your thumb, etc.) away from the camera/out of frame. Given the nature of the Giroptic camera lens, the effect that close-up objects has is a distorted image. This can actually look kind of cool if done right and intentionally—with your own face, for example—but it can also look kind of like this:

Disorted image

To avoid this, hold objects in your free hand or your pocket, while holding your phone down low on the opposite end of where the Giroptic iO accessory is connected. Be sure to also be aware of any other objects positioned between you and your subjects. This is pretty obvious for single-plane-view photography, but easier to forget when shooting in 360°!

As you can see:

 

Tip #2: Open spaces are your friend

As a general rule of thumb, the more open the space, the easier it is to take a great 360° photo or video. That doesn’t mean the camera doesn’t do well in closed spaces or with cluttered environments; it’s just that it will be easier for beginners to avoid bad shots when the shooting environment is wide open. In fact, we can pretty much guarantee that if you’re in a totally open environment—on the lake, on top of a mountain, in a field, the beach, etc.—as long as you click the button, you’re going to have spectacular results.

 

So where can you go wrong in open spaces? Well, just remember that with 360° you want to give the viewer something interesting to look at from all angles. This is obviously not always possible to do, but if you take a shot where there’s only something interesting to look at from one perspective, then you’re not really maximizing the purpose of the camera. Keep in mind that the person holding the camera counts as an interesting subject, so at least you always have that to work with. Which brings us to our next important tip…

 

Tip #3: Don’t forget about yourself in the shot!

When I first started using the iO, the biggest and most frequent mistake I made was focusing too much on what I found interesting away from me, and then completely forgetting about myself! It’s sometimes hard to remember that the camera is always pointing at you, so keep your facial expressions in check!

Bad facial expression