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Posted by on 2018-12-13

3 tips to achieve mastery in 360° photography, by Martin Kulhavy

Virtual Tour of Lofoten

Martin Kulhavy keeps going to the Lofoten islands in Norway to take stunning 360° captures. Today he would like to share with you his 3 tips to become an excellent 360° photographer. And the Virtual Tour he created will allow you to explore the archipelago even better than before.

This is a guest post written by Martin Kulhavy. You can follow him on Kuula and Facebook. Martin was featured in one of the blog posts earlier in which he presented his 360° captures from Lofoten taken during his 2017 trip. If you would like to learn how to create a Virtual Tour, please take a look at our tutorial.

Hi! My name is Martin and I have spent 4 months over the last 2 years in the Lofoten archipelago in the northern part of Norway. This is one of the best places in the world for landscape photography. I took about one thousand 360° panoramic shots and was wondering what was the best way to share my work with the rest of the world.

Here are my 3 tips how to become a master in shooting 360° photography:

Tip 1. Use Kuula.

I came to a conclusion that creating a Virtual Tour using Kuula would do the best job. Kuula offers an excellent picture quality and high level of customization.

Lofoten, virtual tour created by Martin Kulhavy.

Kuula has user friendly controls and sophisticated way how to connect and align neighbour images. These are just a few highlights of the neat Kuula features. So please take a seat, ask your family members to join you and enjoy the Virtual Tour across the Lofoten peaks without any physical effort.

Virtual Tour of Lofoten
Map of Lofoten showing spots where I went to capture 360° photos.

Tip 2. Stitch images in PtGui and do the final touch ups in Photoshop.

I took the photos with Canon 5Ds R and Samyang 14mm f/2.4. There were 6 shots for the sky and 6 shots for the ground. Mostly 3 exposures in each direction, so the total number of shots is 36 (that is about 2GB on a memory card). Raw files were developed in Lightroom without any major adjustment, usually just white balance only.

The stitching process was done in PtGui. PtGui produces excellent results in blending the 3 exposures into a single HDR image. I made the final corrections in Photoshop. I did local contrast adjustments and white balance corrections.

Tip 3. Plan ahead.

The true trick is in good timing. It is not unusual to spent over 5 hours on the summit waiting for the Northern lights, clouds to disappear or for a beautiful sunset. Returning home in complete darkness with a head torch in arctic winter is the price I pay for a nice photo. But the biggest problem is that nobody is that crazy to join me and I must say that I can focus better when working alone. That's why all these hikes were made as solo trips. And you can trust me, my brain is quite tough enemy.

This project will never be finished. I hiked about 400 km and climbed about 40 km in elevation. I know that there are still many peaks I need to visit. I think that you will understand when I say that I got the Lofoten bug. There is no cure, you can only reduce the symptoms by coming back. I am afraid that it will not be easy but I am looking forward to it.

If you want to support me, please send me your comments for this Virtual Tour. Please feel free to contact me at martinkulhavy [at] seznam.cz if you have any comments or questions. Thanks, Martin.

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