360-Spin Imagery

Five common misconceptions about 360-Spin Imagery

Before we go any further, let’s get our definitions straight. When I refer to 360-Spin Imagery, I mean product shots that can be manipulated by the user to see all the way around, underneath and over-the-top.

My studio has been at the forefront of 360 photography for the last 15 years. In that time, we have seen all manner of products, large and small that have been given the 360 treatment, from contact lenses, to automobiles, from patio furniture to basketball hoops.

Consequently, I have spoken to hundreds of brand and marketing managers all looking to gain a competitive edge using entertaining and informative product photography. And I’ve dealt with a lot of questions along the way.

So for a bit of informative content, I thought I’d list the top five most common myths about the wonderful spinning world of 360 product rotations:

“It’s too costly”

Yes it costs money but thanks to advances in technology, it’s massively competitive compared against normal still photography. Most still product shoots involve anything from 3 – 14 shots of the product from various angles. So let’s strike a balance and average that out to 7 shots per product. This could conservatively run to a bill of around $350 per product. Meanwhile, 40 shots in 360 (to create a spinning product shot along one axis) costs around $240. So it isn’t cost.

“It’s too difficult”

When you decide to have a product shot created, most studios prefer to have the goods delivered to their premises both for health and safety reasons and also because they have all the equipment they need at hand. Either way, you will inevitably need to ship your product to the studio. This is the same cost as it always has been. You ship ‘em, we shoot ‘em and send ‘em back.

Inclusion of a 360 on your web site requires one line of code to add and because we’re living and breathing this, our team can also provide tech support to help you get the shots working perfectly. These days, most ecommerce software accounts for the inclusion of 360 product photography.

What IS difficult and time consuming is taking 360s in-house. For that, not only do you need product photography expertise, but you’ll also need a degree in engineering to overcome problems that inevitably arise (lighting, smooth rotation and detail). Taking this path is expensive and this is why we don’t encourage our clients to do this anymore than a doctor would advise you on removing your own appendix. Shooting 360s is best done by the experts.

“Studios are too hard to find”

Looping back to my opening sentence, this is the fault of the entire photographic industry for not branding the process properly. Is it a 360? 360° is it 360 degrees? Is it a spinning shot? How about rotating product shot? We’ve even had them called 3D. If marketers knew what they were searching for, it would make our lives so much easier and make buying Google’s ad words a lot more interesting!

For now, we’re happy calling them 360 product photography but you’ll probably still find us if you search Google for “little spinning rotating product photography”.

360-Spin Animation

“Takes too much time”

However you intend to create your own product shots, you’ll need to give the photographer some time to set the shot up. This is where experience comes into play. There isn’t much that we haven’t shot in 360 but you can always try to throw us a curve-ball as long as it isn’t a chicken tender or an entire building, because we’ve done that and shot the T-Shirt.

Set up is key to success in 360 product shots and this is why it’s handy to have the studio resources, and extra pair of hands and some duct tape and an X-acto knife close by. These days our 360 photo shoot setups take no longer than our still product shots.

“Consumers don’t get any benefit”

Really? We live in an age where digital technology brings people closer to each other, their purchases and the rest of the internet, so what’s different about 360 product shots? In photography, 360 shots are the ultimate sizzle. If you don’t believe us, try some tech behemoths like Adobe, or Lowes, or Granger, or Walmart, or need I go on. Empowering the consumer to behave as if your product is in their hands is the ultimate in digital customer service. Not only does it fit with our natural shopping behavior, it means reduced returns on the other end.

I hope this is useful and that it helps to dispel a few myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings about this specialized art form – part photography, part creative engineering with a sprinkling of math thrown in for good measure.

PhotoSpherixPhotoSpherix
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Press Contact: Matt Smith
masmith@photospherix.com