In Android version 4.2, Google added #photosphere to the Android camera. It’s a mode that lets you take multiple images in 3D space to create your own “Street View” type image using only your smartphone (see Views in Google Maps for a beautiful, rich introduction to Photo Spheres).
Sure, Photo Spheres are amazing when you go the full 360°, but the mode seems almost custom made for photographing street art. Here’s a few tips for getting a great fish-eye effect using your Android camera.
1. Find a wall with some great street art. It’s important to centre yourself across from the focal point of the piece: the first shot you take in your Photo Sphere will be the centre of the ‘fish-eye’ curve.
2. Stand about two steps back from the wall. The closer you get to the wall the more pronounced the fish-eye effect will be, but the higher the chance of misaligned stitching when the Photo Sphere finishes processing.
3. Hold your phone fairly close to your face (more great tips from the Photo Sphere team in this video). Hold it vertically (portrait orientation) with both hands.
4. Align and take your first shot, then tilt your phone left and right as indicated by the camera. Take five shots along the middle row (the first image, then two steps to the left and right). Tilt up and take an even number of shots across the row above the middle, then tilt down and do the same along the row below the middle.
5. Hit the “stop” button, and wait for the sphere to process.
Bam! Done! The resulting photo will be close to square: perfect for sharing straight to Instagram or on Twitter.
If you share straight to Google+, the Google+ app will treat it as a scrollable Photo Sphere. So, if you want to keep the fish-eye effect you’ll need to edit the photo first, then save a new version to remove the XML data in the image that maps the ‘sphere’ (I use Pixlr Express, but many other photo editors will achieve the same thing).
You’ll get better results with more experience, so shoot shoot shoot!