360˚ imagery provides an experience that has the power to immediately transport someone – whether it’s to other side of the Earth, under the sea, back in time, or into outer space. From education to entertainment, the possibilities for 360˚ imagery are endless.
“It’s an opportunity to show people around an environment that they would never be able to see otherwise,” Hugh Pinney, Getty Images’ VP of Editorial said. “360˚ content really drives curiosity. You’re taken down this rabbit hole of information, where you’re visually guided through the story that’s being told, pulling down more information everywhere you look. The scope is enormous, really engaging, and great fun. You can take people on a huge journey, and that’s where this technology really starts to lead.”
Putting together an immersive visual experience is a priority that’s built into the creative process from image conception to creation. Photographer Jonathan Ferry, who shot a 360˚ still from inside Danica Patrick’s racecar, knows first-hand just how much consideration goes into creating VR imagery.
“You have to visualize the picture before it happens,” he said. “You’re not capturing a moment; you’re creating an experience for the viewer. The closer you are to the subject matter, the better the image comes out. If it’s too far away, it doesn’t give that same intimacy and that unique perspective. It’s a matter of thinking about what’s in front, behind, above, and below you, and making sure every element has a purpose and is interesting.”
Alex Wong, a Washington D.C.-based Getty Images staff photographer, is always looking for good opportunities to shoot 360˚ images while on the job.
“For still photography, the widest angle we had before was 180˚. That only shows one side of the story and we can’t see anything beyond that,” Wong said. “Now you can have a way to show not only what’s in front of the lens, but what’s behind the lens as well. Sometimes, what’s behind the lens is really what’s worth showing your audience.”
Wong recently shot 360˚ images at the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump. Situated in front of the podium, he was able to capture the entire inauguration: the swearing-in, the press covering the event and the audience.
Events such as parades and protests also lend themselves naturally to 360˚ images.
“I recently shot the Chinese New Year Parade in DC Chinatown,” he said. “I put my camera in the middle of the street where there were lots of fire crackers surrounding it and you can see them exploding around my camera. You would never be able to sit in the middle of the street and watch that but with my footage, I can bring you into it.”
The potential and possibility to delight, communicate, educate, and inform through interactive 360˚ experiences will only continue to grow and evolve in years to come, astonishing audiences along the way.Explore Getty Image’s stunning collection of 360˚ imagery