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VR Photography: What is it and Will it Catch On?

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When you’re looking at new photography trends in 2024, VR photography has to be one of the most popular – and most out-there – trends to boot. Already, there are numerous ways you can digest photographs. 

You can take them on your phone and keep them in your gallery. You can upload them to Facebook or Instagram, or you can even print them out using an online photo album maker. But when it comes to immersion, VR headsets have placed their own chips into the game.

What is VR?

For those unaware, VR stands for ‘Virtual Reality’ – a simulated three-dimensional environment that allows users to experience and interact with virtual surroundings. Right now, the most popular headsets include the Meta Quest 3, Apple Vision Pro, and PlayStation VR2, but you’d be hard pressed to find a friend or family member actually using these devices in everyday life. 

This is partly due to the cost of VR – the Apple Vision Pro costs $3499 alone – and also the lack of real-world application. The technology is in its very early stages, of course, and whether it will ever really catch on is anyone’s guess.

How Does VR Photography Work?

So how does VR photography work? Well, for the photographer, the process isn’t all too different. Have you ever taken a panoramic view of a beautiful landscape? The process is very similar to that, bar a few exceptions. 

First of all, you have to use a dedicated 360 camera, or at least a smartphone with a 360 lens attachment. You then have to place yourself in a position where you can capture a complete 360 view – this ensures considering the composition of the photograph, and ensuring there are no obstructions that can disrupt a seamless panorama. 

Once this is done, you then need to focus intently on the editing process. Using programs like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, you can stitch, crop, adjust, and enhance your images, ensuring the photograph is aligned and blended with no distortion.

What Does the Viewer Experience?

Once the VR image is processed, it can then be viewed on a VR headset – as well as a smartphone, tablet, or computer, where it will be viewed like any other panoramic photograph. For the VR headset viewer, it should feel like they’re actually present in the captured environment. 

They can look around, focus on specific objects, even look up at the sky and down at the ground. As a photographer, you can even add some little extras for them – interactive elements like audio narration, clickable links that provide additional information, or ‘hotspots’ for them to discover. 

Is VR Photography Worth It?

When it comes to this article, there are undoubtedly two different types of reader – the first reads this and thinks it’s the best thing since sliced bread, the other rolls their eyes, takes out their smartphone, and continues with their typical, normal style of photography. 

Neither of you are wrong. While we should always rejoice at having a new way to express ourselves, that doesn’t mean VR photography is automatically good or worthwhile. 

As mentioned before, not many people own a VR headset and those who do tend to use it solely for business purposes. As well as this, no matter how good you are at editing, there will always be aspects of the photograph that are lost. The specific glint of sunlight on a reflective surface, or the way a subject’s shadow evokes a sense of isolation. These are the subtle details of a photograph that can be lost when it’s stitched together and processed. 

On the other side of the coin, VR photography does provide a more immersive experience. Some of the best photographs are the ones that make us feel part of the drama – they transport us into a different world and evoke a wide variety of emotions. 

What better way to do that than to place the viewer in that world? Coupled with audio narration and ‘hotspots’, you have the opportunity to explain your vision and tell the viewer what to look at. In many ways, it’s a more collaborative experience between the viewer and the photographer, bridging that gap between creators and the people they’re creating for. 


This could be an inane blog in a few years. As we said, VR technology might never truly take off, and VR photography might become just a passing trend. But for now, we’d say there’s no harm in trying VR photography. 

If nothing else, it might give you some ideas that can be applied to your typical style of photography, and it could introduce you to some interesting new editing software. And who knows? You might even feel reinspired as a photographer and keep going. There’s no ceiling to photography, after all. And VR photography only proves that further.


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