Are 360 cameras just a gimmick? Are they usable for professional work? Kevin Wyllie is an award-winning Scottish photographer who covers weddings, portraiture, and events including cycling and martial arts. Recently, he tried using an Insta360 X3 (reviewed here) to shoot videos and ended up capturing an amazing moment. Here are his thoughts.
MT: What made you interested to try shooting with a 360 camera?
KW: My initial interest was due to the ability to capture behind-the-scenes footage on a shoot, while allowing me to reframe and show the subject or me (if I’m doing any mentoring, or for social media, it would allow me to use just one camera instead of two GoPros).
MT: I see. Now that you’ve used it, what do you think of its ease of use? Is the workflow difficult?
KW: The ease of use has been a massive selling point. Using the actual camera was relatively simple, once I stopped turning it around all the time lol.
The mobile phone app was fairly easy to get used to as well. I’m still learning with it, but it all seems quite intuitive. I’m now able to create social media content easier than ever before, which has got to be a good thing for my business.
MT: So has it been useful to you or just a gimmick?
KW: I was initially concerned about whether or not it would be a gimmick, which is why my friend kindly let me borrow his first.
I quickly saw the potential benefits for my business and it’s sparked some creative ideas which I hadn’t considered before.
One of my regular headshot clients is a high-end estate agent, who don’t currently offer virtual tours. I’m now looking at the possibility of offering that service to them. As much as it’s completely different from my usual portraiture, weddings & event work, it’ll be another avenue for the business to expand into, so it’s definitely not just a gimmick for me.
MT: That’s wonderful, Kevin! What would you say to other photographers and videographers who haven’t tried a 360 camera?
KW: Give it a try! It took me a while to look at 360 cameras as something which could help my business, but now that I have, it’s quickly becoming an essential piece of kit.
When I’m covering martial arts events, like the Taekwondo World championships where I trialled the X3, it’s allowing me to capture unusual angles, which no-one else is doing (yet ) and I’ve received great feedback from the competitors & officials (the only downside I found was when I filmed my youngest daughter winning the World title, it also captured me crying my eyes out – definitely not a good look, lol)
With social media becoming increasingly video-oriented, I believe that stills photographers need to up their video-game to stay ahead of the pack. For me, that’s what I hope the X3 will help me to do.
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MT: That’s awesome! And congratulations to your daughter for winning the World Title! Capturing her victory is one thing. But capturing your reaction as a proud father makes it even more special, if I may say so. Where can people see more of your work?