Catch Attention with 360 Photos for Facebook
As virtual reality grows in popularity, there has also been growth in what I might term VR-light. While fully featured 360 camera rigs can be expensive, and the technology can be complicated to work with, you can still get in on the fun – likely with tools you already have!
Earlier this month, Facebook quietly began converting newly-uploaded panoramic shots taken on cell phones into 360 photos. And as you would guess, they really catch your attention.
We are always looking to create “thumbstoppers” that make people stop scrolling, and 360 photos can achieve this kind of wow moment! You can use the tips and image template below to begin creating your own 360 photos for Facebook.
The easiest way to create a 360 image is to take a panoramic photo on your phone and upload it to Facebook. Whether you take panos of your facilities or at an actual event, you can give interested guests a taste of what it is like to be there.
You could create an album of 360 images that allows first time visitors to see what the children’s area, the worship space, or even the parking lot looks like. This can help create a level of comfort with your facility by allowing them to visit virtually before coming in person.
If you want to take it up a notch, download the template below, open it in Photoshop (or similar image editing program), and let your creativity run wild. Advertise an upcoming event or sermon series where viewers can look to the left and right for more information. Take the popular Scripture verse post or profound quote post to the next level by laying it out over an image that viewers can explore.
Here is a small version of what the template looks like:
A few very important tips when editing or creating your own in Photoshop:
- Facebook knows to convert images to 360 based on the metadata embedded in the image file.
- The only way to preserve the metadata in the image after editing it is to select “save as.” Any other form of exporting (including “Save for Web…”) will remove the metadata.
- You can use any panoramic photo you have taken as a starting point. You can use it as the background, or you can erase it all and simply use the image dimensions and embedded metadata to trigger conversion to a 360 image.
- The template provided is helpful because it has guides and color blocks that show you rough approximations of how much of the image viewers can see at one time while viewing it in their newsfeed or on your Facebook page.
- When users click/tap the image in their newsfeed or on your page, the image zooms in a little bit, and the field of vision gets smaller. Keep this in mind as you lay out elements in your image.
- Regular panoramic images can look a little odd because they essentially convert a sphere into a flat image. 360 images bend the image slightly to make it look natural again. This also means that your custom image will be bent slightly, especially around the edges. So, if you are creating a new image from scratch and use a non-panoramic background, be aware that there may be warping.
- If you want to start completely from scratch, have inadvertently stripped your image of the critical metadata, or wish to convert a regular image into a 360 image, check out this document from Facebook on how to edit 360 photos and their metadata. Note: it is a bit technical.
- For more information, check out Facebook’s 360 resource site here: https://facebook360.fb.com/
To see an example, check out the Facebook image for this blog post.