Cardboard Camera

Grabbing a good panorama of that perfect sunrise is often quite rewarding, but if you're a fan of VR photos you can one-up your game with Cardboard Camera. Instead of a 2D panorama, you're capturing a full 360-degree panorama with depth. This means the viewer gets to really feel like they are a part of the photo, as long as the photo you captured is something worth sharing.

A lot of people struggle to capture that perfect Cardboard Camera shot, often ending up with jagged lines or stitch errors in the shot. This is how you make sure those issues are never found in your Cardboard Camera photos!

Before you get started

Cardboard Camera

There are a few important things you need to know about Cardboard Camera. First, it's designed for VR, which means you're actually shooting twice as many photos as it looks like you're shooting at any given time because of the depth information being added to the stitch of the image. This only looks like a VR image when you're viewing it in VR, so it's often difficult to gauge unless you're looking through Google Daydream or Google Cardboard.

How to use Cardboard Camera with Google Daydream

Next, it's important to know you're basically taking a more complicated panorama with this camera. With that in mind, there are a few rules you need to follow.

  • Avoid movement in the shot. If people are walking around in your shot, you're going to have a photo with a lot of partial bodies or chopped-off vehicles.
  • Significant changes in light can be jarring in the photo. If you're taking a shot where there's a lot of very bright light in one place but not anywhere else, you need to start with the bright light to stop any exposure problems
  • You need to remain as still as possible, and can not walk around at all while taking the photo.

That last part is very important, which is why the first big tip for capturing great Cardboard Camera photos is to grab a tripod. Any tripod will do, but I'm partial to the ultra-portable Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod. As the name suggests, it's easy to collapse down very small and the swivel head leans over to hold my RetiCAM smartphone mount. When holding my phone, I have a nice handle to pivot the phone in a nice clean line, which is much more reliable than trying to use just my hands. It's also a just a really solid tripod, if you're into that sort of thing.

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Taking photos with Cardboard Camera

Cardboard Camera

When you're actually taking photos with this app, you need to keep a few things in mind.

  • Don't ever stand in front of the camera, even if it's on a tripod.
  • Keep the phone rotation slow and consistent.
  • If the app tells you to slow down or angle your phone up, you probably need to take another photo.
  • Audio is included with the photo by default, but you can turn it off before taking the photo.
  • Using a case on your phone often offers more stability and grip, so don't feel like you need to remove it.

After you've successfully taken a shot, you can check out the results right there on your phone or start sharing with friends. Remember all photos taken in Cardboard Camera can also be backed up in Google Photos, which is also great for sharing and importing into other VR apps.

Have fun!

Google Daydream