Photography is changing. Digital systems can create images beyond the confines of the chemical canvas known as film–in other words, photos can think beyond the rectangle.
A perfect example is Google’s Photo Sphere, an app that allows you to take full, 720-degree panoramas of what you see. That’s up and down, left and right. You essentially photograph the entire bubble around you. And though Photo Sphere has been available on Android for a while, today it comes to iOS as a free download.
Testing the app, we were happy to see the translation to iOS was flawless. To take a photo sphere, you lift your phone and snag a photo as you normally would. You see that photo on top of a large black space. Then, the UI uses simple orbs to prompt you where to aim your phone next.
You never hit a shutter button. Instead, you pan around, lining up orbs in a reticle until they turn green. Ingeniously, you don’t need to take your photos in any particular order. You can aim at the sky, then back to your feet. Just find a dot and line it up. This little bit of freedom makes the task a lot less tedious than, say, taking a panoramic photo along a track at just the right speed in iOS’s own Camera app.
After enough photographing, you’ll create a sort of patchwork quilt of images that make up your sphere. At that point, you hit a render button, wait a minute or two, and your rough collage is buffed to a seamless panorama. Share it publicly alongside a community of Photo Sphere users, or just keep it on your phone for yourself.
If you’re an iOS user yet to try Photo Sphere, today’s your lucky day. Download it and experience one of those fleetingly magical moments that makes you feel like you live in the future.