Why VR Photography Could Be the Next Big Thing

Why VR Photography Could Be the Next Big Thing


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<p>Apple</p> Looking at photos using Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.


Looking at photos using Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

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  • Apple’s new Vision Pro headset lets you take immersive photos and video.

  • Canon is showing off a camera that lets you take 360-degree shots.

  • The new technologies could boost the popularity of virtual reality photography.

<p>Apple</p> Looking at photos using Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.


Looking at photos using Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

The next hot photography trend could be strapped to your head.

Apple is positioning its new Vision Pro mixed reality headset as a way to take and view pictures. And Canon recently unveiled a concept camera that can capture 180-degree stereoscopic and 360-degree monoscopic photos and video. Experts say VR photography might be coming into its own.

“VR photos will be useful because they offer a whole new level of immersion and presence in capturing moments and environments,” Marshall Mosher, the founder of VR company Vestigo, told Lifewire in an email interview. “They allow users to relive and share experiences as if they were actually there, creating a more engaging and impactful way of storytelling. Whether it’s capturing breathtaking landscapes, documenting virtual adventures, or preserving memories in virtual social interactions, VR photos have the power to transport people to different realities.”

VR Photography Changes Photos

Apple’s Vision Pro is meant for pixel peepers with an external camera for capturing photos and videos. The 3D camera on the Vision Pro takes 3D images and records 3D videos that can be viewed back on the headset.

<p>Apple</p> Closeup on Apple's Vision Pro mixed reality headset.


Closeup on Apple’s Vision Pro mixed reality headset.

VR photos differ from regular photos in their ability to capture an entire spherical or 360-degree view of a scene, Mosher said. Instead of a flat image, VR photos provide an immersive and interactive experience where viewers can look around and explore the environment as if they were physically present.

“They offer a sense of depth and spatial awareness, allowing users to immerse themselves in the captured moment fully,” he added. “VR photos also go beyond traditional static images by preserving the dynamic nature of the virtual environment, including movement, sound, and interactive elements, adding a new dimension to storytelling and memory preservation.”

Vision Pro photographers will have to get used to some new ways of snapping pics. A button at the top of the headset is designed to let users capture spatial videos or photos.

Privacy could also be an issue when wearing a camera that can always take pictures or video. Google’s discontinued Glass headset met with criticism because its ability to unobtrusively take pictures was seen as a potential privacy invasion. Apple’s Vision Pro’s external display flashes with an animation that lets the people around you know that the video is being recorded.

<p>Apple</p> The Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset display overlaying the real world.


The Apple Vision Pro mixed reality headset display overlaying the real world.

Canon’s prototype VR camera could be a way to keep up with Apple’s big headset announcement. Not many details were released about the camera, but it reportedly allows users to take 360-degree omnidirectional images because the lenses point in both directions. When unfolded, 180-degree 3D VR images are created.

The Canon VR camera is among the new platforms developed with the technology to create VR photos, Anthony Clemons, who studies virtual reality at Northern Illinois University, noted in an email interview with Lifewire. For instance, Blockade’s Skybox is a recent example that enables you to generate a VR 360-degree virtual space using prompts and natural language, much like Midjourney and Stable Diffusion tools.

“Once you’ve created the virtual space, you can save the photo and apply it to expand virtual environments in gaming or to create a VR space in eLearning,” he said. “The best part is that the generated prompt is tailored to the user’s need, making the space more specialized.”

Increasing VR Photography Demand

VR photography isn’t entirely new, but the increased prevalence of immersive headsets on the market has brought a spotlight back on this form of content, Douglas Sonders, co-founder of the mixed reality company eXpanded eXistence, told Lifewire in an email interview. He said his favorite way to capture 360 photography and video is the Insta360 X2 or X3. It’s a compact camera that captures high-definition footage, is weather resistant, and its software automatically stitches and optimizes the imagery for public consumption.

VR photos could be a fun way to capture and share a location or memory to be experienced on an immersive platform.

“A 2D image can be wonderful, but you are limited to viewing one small frame at a later date,” he added. “With a 360-degree photo, you can upload to your favorite headset and be right there, back in the moment once again.”