How to make money shooting panorama's? It comes as no surprise the vast majority of "professional" photographers know very little about shooting panoramic photography. I believe one of the reasons being they would not know how to convert this added skill into making money. They tend to stay within the confines of what they feel comfortable with. Admittedly a client wouldn't go to a photographer and ask for a panoramic portrait or if they did the photographer might be left in a quandary. Learning to shoot panorama's is relatively easy and the equipment is relatively inexpensive. Here I will share some ideas on how to make money shooting panoramas and incorporating it into your business model. You can charge clients from as little as $5 to more than $100 per panorama depending on the job. You'll quickly see a return on your investment.
- Real Estate and Commercial:
This is probably the biggest market for panoramic photography. Shooting 360° full spherical panoramas and putting them all together to form a virtual tour of a property. 90% of all home search begin online in the digital realm. If a client can "experience" a property as if they were standing there in a virtual space the quality of potential buyers coming through the front door becomes much greater. Reach out to Real Estate Agents and Brokers as well a commercial property managers.
Potential buyers like putting them self in the drivers seat. Typically shooting a panorama from the drivers seat would give a drivers perspective but we have seen pano's shoot from the center of a vehicle and even the back seat. And don't hold yourself to just auto's, you could shoot industrial equipment, aircraft, watercraft, or anything with a seat. Doing work through dealerships could easily land a contract for repeated work.
Adding a 360° image to a clients proof set adds a "behind the scenes look" during a shoot. Clients many times will remember went on during a busy shoot and by adding a simple panorama into the mix will virtually archive the experience. And there is such a thing as a panoramic portrait or inversed panorama - just google "Expanded Portraits' by Justin Ponmany". You'll see some very surreal work being done. I doubt many clients would opt for this type of work but then some just may.
- Weddings and Events:
One of the most important days in a couples life and most will pay big money immortalize the by a professional. Most clients wouldn't even think to ask for wedding panoramic photography so this needs to be brought up by the photographer. being able to share the experience in a virtual space for all time can certainly add value to any wedding. And this would hold true for many other private and public events and venues as well.
- Object VR:
This is where you shoot an object from multiple sides that will allow users to manipulate the item with simple mouse movement. Online retailers will realize higher conversion rates when buyers and rotate a purse or shoe to see all sides before buying. Here too a photographer could easily land a big job if client sells many items. We sell the Object VR turntables and equipment as well as software that allow you to better accomplish this.
- Go Big:
It is possible to take your a 25MP camera and take sequential images to produce super high resolution imagery well in excess of 1GB. Some people call it gigapixel or mosaic images. These high resolution images can be used for documenting landscapes and cityscapes. Or for creating large banners for marketing. One website that offers free online storage of super high resolution images is gigapan.org. Check out the 10GB Las Vegas gigapixel image I shot back in 2011. Shooting large images like this we recommend using our professional grade M Series Heads
Pole panoramas. Shooting from elevated heights provides for a different perspective. We have small Travel Poles (good for inflight carry-on's) to 30ft (9m) lightweight carbon fiber poles. Shooting aerial's is not just limited to panoramas - you could easily attach a stand alone camera as well for shooting above the crowds and getting roof top shots without having to climb onto the roof.
- Documentation and Journalism:
Nealy all the major newspapers companies now rely on 360° images for digital story telling. readers are able to fully immerse themselves in the experience as it's unfolding. If you find yourself in the middle of a story and shoot 360's the paper's will undoubtedly be interested.
- Become a Google Trusted Photographer:
Earn the Street View Badge from Google. Retail businesses want exposure and to be part of the Google Street View experience. We offer several Google Street View solutions. One tip here - don't compromise the quality from using a DSLR - they are no match for the one shot cameras and your clients will appreciate it.
By comparison to general photography there are very little panoramic images available for commercial use. Websites like istockphoto.com & 360cities.net and their distribution partners gettyimages.com offer royalty from image use. Personally I am not a big fan of Getty Images due to their unscrupulous trolling practices on those possibly infringing who paid for image use.
- Special projects:
We see specialty jobs popping up more and more. Taking panoramas from the tops of buildings, archeological sites, historic landmarks etc. A little creativity and thinking outside the box might lead to some pretty interesting work.
Most professional photographers already have camera's and lens and all they need is the panoramic hardware and software which we sell. We've been selling panoramic tripod equipment for nearly 14 years and our product line as evolved to suit nearly ever need a panoramic workflow might require.
Here is a quick break down on what fits what and for what applications:
- NN3 MK3 Series:
Level: Amateur - Semi Pro.
Lenses: 8mm - 50mm focal length
Features: Compact, Inexpensive, Durable
Popular Uses: Real Estate, Travel, Hobbyist, Amateur
Cameras: Compact, Micro Four Thirds, smaller DSLR's
- NN6 Series: Our most popular pano head
Level: Amateur - Pro.
Lenses: 8mm - 200mm.
Cameras: DSLR's, + Medium Format
Features: Upper Rotator 7.5° stops or free rotation
Popular Uses: Landscape, High Resolution, HDR
- R Series Heads:
Level: Amateur - Pro - Google.
Lenses: Fisheye 4.5mm - 17mm.
Features: Smallest Pano Head, fits to lens not camera
Popular Uses: Google Street Views, Real Estate, Poles
Cameras: Any - fit based on lens
- M Series Heads:
Level: Semi Pro - Pro.
Lenses: M1 Series 8mm- 200+mm / M2 Series 8-400+mm
Features: Arca-Swiss Modular Design, Upgrade paths
Popular Uses: Landscape, High Resolution HDR
Cameras: DSLR's, Medium Format