Why not to waste too much time on getting the perfect 360-degree photo for social media 

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

I’ve been uploading 360-degree photos to Facebook and felt good about it. Yes, I can do 360-degree photos with my iPhone. Awesome. Here’s an example of what I called a 360-photo:

It didn’t help my alternative fact that Facebook gave me the illusion that I was uploading a 360 with its new 360 features:

Then I was reminded of the difference between 180 and 360.

180 is basically half of 360 – duh! – and a panorama left to right. Nobody spinning.

To take a 360 photo, you have to spin your body once. It’s the only way. 360 means all the way around. Not side to side. LOL.

The iPhone built-in camera allows 180s but not 360s as of February 2017. It could change, obviously, as the panorama camera function didn’t exist in early iPhone versions. Remember when we had to download an app for panorama photos? They had a short life cycle because Apple integrated that quickly into the phone.

Those panorama iPhone photos can be uploaded to Facebook via the app, and Facebook gives them that 360 treatment, meaning people can scroll around.

It’s a neat feature, but is it that interactive for the users? At the least, it’s something new, and new things get our attention – the power of new.

Related: How to decide what technology tools to buy for better storytelling 

This whole thing started to cross my mind when I was in San Diego in 2017 to speak at a marketing conference. As you might be aware, San Diego is quite beautiful, so there were lots of opportunities to take photos. So I did and was playing with the 360 function.

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There are all kinds of apps in the Apple Store to take 360 photos. Some others allow you to save 360 photos. I tested many. I uploaded many to Facebook to see if the 360 functionality would work. Unfortunately, all 360s from those apps were showing as flat images. Ugh.

I likely have to use fancier equipment that is not currently on my iPhone. So for now, I decided this:

For day-to-day storytelling, it’s just too big of a hassle to go outside the iPhone. I don’t need anymore stuff to carry around with me. For now, when I need a wider shot, I’ll just do a 180 or maybe shoot a video while slowly spinning around. That, of course, wouldn’t have the interactive features, but it at least would share the scenery that I thought was worth sharing.

And here’s the other reality. Many times, a 360 isn’t needed and the 180 will show everything worth seeing. See that photo up top, for example. It’s beautiful. And here’s the 180 of what was behind me:

It’s a parking lot. No offense to parking lots, people, but that doesn’t add much to the beautiful scene of the harbor in front of me. At all. And it’s especially not worth me carrying more equipment.

“Please enjoy this 180 of a parking lot.” ??

Even though I spent way too much time on this challenge, it was worth it, and now I know. The bottom line still is that the best camera is the one in your hand when you have to take a photo worth taking.

If you have other solutions that I can consider to add to this article, send them to me by clicking here.