Photographing your building in a 360-degree format appears a lot more complex than it really is. All you need is an inexpensive 360 camera - in this case we will use a Ricoh Theta S - a smart device (smart phone/tablet) with the application corresponding to 360 camera and preferably a tripod.
Here are some simple steps to successfully photograph your office in a matter of minutes.
Step 1: Preparation
To begin, there are several things to prepare to make sure the room is ready to be photographed. Prior to the shoot, it’s handy (though not vital) to have access to a floor plan of the building you’re photographing. This will be useful when making the virtual tour, helping you navigate between rooms and understand the building’s layout. The more information you have about the building you’re photographing the better.
Step 2: Plan
Pre-planning which rooms to include in your tour will aid your photoshoot. You could mark each room and any necessary information on the floor plan so you don’t miss any rooms.
Step 3: Permissions
If you don’t own the building, ensure you have the full permission of the owner. Also, inform everyone who is affected by this photography of your intentions. If someone does not want to be photographed, ensure that they are completely out of your shot.
Note, the person will only be outside the camera’s view once they can no longer actually see the camera.
Step 4: Tidiness
Tidy the room; move any nonessential items from visible surfaces, switch LCD monitors off to reduce glare and remove cleaning products. Anything that could lower the quality of the image should be removed for the best results.
Step 5: Lighting
Make sure the room is well lit so the camera doesn’t try too hard to lighten the photo, as this can lower image quality significantly. Try not to have any powerful lights shining directly at the camera as this can produce glare and uneven lighting. Aim for a consistent level of light throughout the photographed area.
Step 6: Tripod
You should now be ready to set up the tripod and camera ready to take the photo. Try to set your tripod as central in the room as you can, or at a point where most important information is visible. Be sure that the camera on the tripod is completely level to get as realistic a shot as you can.
*setting up tripod
Step 7: Connecting your camera to your mobile device
When your camera is turned on, it opens a wireless local area network (WLAN). Open the wifi settings on your mobile device and click on the network that has your camera’s name on it. If a password is needed, read the camera’s manual on how to locate this password. On the Theta, the password is at the bottom of the camera.
Step 8: Check your image
Once connected, make sure that you have the best image you can by checking the camera’s preview screen. This screen acts as a viewfinder for the camera so you can, in live time, see what the camera sees. This helps you to adjust light and make sure the tripod is correctly set up.
*Ricoh Theta app open on phone previewing image
Step 9: Leaving the room/hiding
You’re now ready to take your panorama photo. When your room is ready, camera is all set and settings are correct, move yourself out of view of the camera to take the photo. Try not to go too far away, though, as distance/objects can interfere with the camera’s WLAN connection to your mobile device. For best results, try stay within a 10m vicinity.
*standing out of sight of the camera
Step 10: Taking the photograph
Once you and your mobile device are out of sight, open the app and click the shutter button on the app to take the photo. For best results, wait a few seconds before re-entering the room as sometimes it take several moments for the camera to take the photo.
Step 11: First room done!
If you’re happy with the photo you’ve just taken, that means that room is done! Just repeat these steps for all other rooms you want (and have permission) to photograph.
*If there is a contrast of light in your room, it would be good to enable the HDR setting on the camera (if applicable) which takes a variety of photos, all with varying exposures, and applies the best of all the levels. (Note that if you use or don’t use HDR, make sure that you choose the same setting for all of your rooms to keep consistency.)