Technology has seriously changed the world of photography in recent years. Now, professional photographers need to put more effort into wowing potential clients than ever before. To achieve that wow effect, we give you this simple guide on creating 3D effect in your photos.
As new equipment and software have made it easier for anyone to become an amateur photographer, 3D pictures can help set your online photography portfolio apart from the rest. Showcasing a wide range of different types of photography on your portfolio is also a great way to show potential clients what a skilled shooter you are. And 3D pictures, in particular, can be quite the attention-grabber!
Here’s how you can get started with 3D photography:
The Basics of 3D Photography
There are many ways to create 3D images using different camera setups and software. For example, it’s possible to create a 3D picture from a single image in Photoshop. But that takes some more work in post-production—and it isn’t nearly as satisfying as the traditional techniques.
If you’ve gone the old-school route, make sure to let people know. When you post a 3D picture to your portfolio, mention that it was created from two images. This little detail will show visitors how much skill goes into shooting your 3D images.
Techniques on Shooting 3D Pictures
The traditional way of creating a 3D image is to capture two photos from slightly different angles. This is done to simulate the way our eyes perceive depth. If you’re shooting a stationary subject, that can be done by simply moving the camera slightly to the side in between shots. If you’re trying to get a 3D action shot, you’re going to want a dual-camera setup so you can capture the two angles simultaneously.
Then you put the photos together in editing, and display them in a way that allows the viewer’s left eye to only see the left angle image, and the right eye to see only right angle image.
Displaying 3D Images
One of the simplest and cheapest ways to display your 3D pictures is to use Photoshop. This can be done by adding a red tint to one image and a cyan tint to the other. Additionally, you have to have the viewer wear those classic red-cyan 3D glasses. One downside of this method is the 3D picture effect works best on images that are black and white, or at least have a lot of contrast.
There are a number of options for how to display your 3D images; some will be better suited to your online portfolio because they don’t require any effort or equipment from the viewer.
One example is what is sometimes called wiggle 3D. This involves creating a GIF from your separate images that switches back and forth between the different angles. The result is that the picture seems to wiggle, providing a 3D effect. Here are some great examples of wiggle 3D pictures using this technique, and here are some simple tutorials on how to do it.
Some people simply post their images side by side. Then, instruct viewers to cross their eyes to see the image in 3D. This is not the best method to achieve those 3D picture effects. For one thing, it has the potential to make the viewer’s eyes sore. But, more importantly, it doesn’t give you the chance to show off your photo editing skills! To someone who’s quickly browsing through your portfolio, it will just look like two identical photos side by side.
3D Photo Cameras
If you’re deciding on a new camera and are wondering what makes a good 3D photography camera, there aren’t any special considerations to take into account. Really—any camera can do it! To get the best results with your 3D pictures, as with any type of photography, you can look for a camera with a high-quality sensor and large ISO range so you can capture detailed shots in any light.
In addition, the latest phones with dual cameras are making it easier than ever to capture 3D photos. So if you’re due for a phone upgrade, that’s something to keep in mind.
Other 3D Photography Equipment
One essential piece of equipment when shooting 3D pictures is a good tripod. As you move your camera into a different position to capture a different angle, a tripod will help you keep the camera at the right height and keep your shot properly framed.
When it comes to shooting moving subjects, a dual-camera setup or a stereo lens is needed. This equipment will enable you to capture shots from two angles simultaneously. There are dual camera mounts available online that will allow you to mount two cameras on a single tripod.
But if you’re not up for investing in a second camera, then a stereo lens could be the way to go. These lenses can split your camera’s view into two separate angles.
Tips for Shooting 3D photos:
No matter how you decide to display your 3D pictures, the traditional techniques to capture them remain the same. Here are some of the basics to keep in mind:
- Choose a subject with depth. If you shoot a person standing with their back against a wall, you’re kind of defeating the purpose of 3D photography, because the effect won’t be as strong as it could be. For the best results, capture a scene that has some elements that are very close, some in the middle ground, and some far away.
- Keep your subject in the center of the frame. This maximizes the 3D photo effect and can help as a reference point to make sure both images are framed properly. If your separate shots aren’t lined up right, you’ll just end up with a blurry image instead of a 3D photo effect.
- Take more than two images. Then, during editing, you can choose the best two images for your 3D picture.
- The right amount of separation between the two images will depend on how close your subject is. If you’re shooting something far away, your photos will need more separation to achieve a 3D photo effect. So, shooting your subjects from closer is better. A good place to start when shooting something close is using the distance between the average person’s pupils, which is about 2.5 inches.
- Make sure you use the same camera settings for both images. If you make adjustments between shots, like tweaking the white balance or exposure, the final product won’t look right.
- Take your photos starting from the left and then moving to the right. By always taking your photos in the same order, it will make it easier during editing because you’ll always know which is the right angle and which is the left without needing to closely look at every image you took.
Learn the foreground of creating amazing 3D photography by starting with the basics. Find out more from Taming Light Photography’s ebooks and online courses.