Stereo photography

Introduction

Any­one can take good stereo pho­tos, using just a reg­u­lar cam­era or even a smart­phone. But there are a few things to con­sid­er before one starts. There­fore make sure you are famil­iar with the basics of stere­oscopy. Below you will find a brief intro­duc­tion to dif­fer­ent meth­ods of acquir­ing stereo-pho­tographs and some basic con­cepts.

Simultaneous and sequential stereo photos

There are two ways of tak­ing stereo pho­tos, name­ly simul­ta­ne­ous and sequen­tial. As the name indi­cates, simul­ta­ne­ous means that both pho­tos of the stereo pair are tak­en at the very same moment by two lens­es. On the oth­er hand, the two pho­tos for a sequen­tial stereo pho­to are tak­en one after anoth­er, which can unfor­tu­nate­ly cause dis­crep­an­cies if some­thing moves between the two shots or if you rotate the cam­era. These dis­crep­an­cies or “rival­ries” can lead to an uncom­fort­able view­ing expe­ri­ence. Simul­ta­ne­ous stereo pho­tog­ra­phy avoids these dis­crep­an­cies, but requires spe­cial­ized equip­ment. So a begin­ner is more like­ly to start with sequen­tial stereo pho­tos with a smart­phone cam­era. There are also good phone apps avail­able to assist pro­cess­ing of sequen­tial stereo pho­tographs, mak­ing it a pre­ferred method for many begin­ners. At this point, I refer you to a great tuto­r­i­al for begin­ners, instead of writ­ing one. You will find it on Rebecca’s stere­oscopy blog by click­ing this link.

Sequen­tial stereo pho­to of the Hol­sten gate, Lübeck Ger­many dur­ing the ISU world con­gress 2019. You can eas­i­ly exam­ine move­ment on the roads between the shots that will cause rival­ries / flick­er­ing when watch­ing stereo­scop­ic.

Simul­ta­ne­ous stereo of the pot­tery mar­ket, Alzey Ger­many 2019. Every move­ment remains crys­tal clear as if the scene was flash frozen.
Basic concept

For simul­ta­ne­ous stereo pho­tos there are many pos­si­ble set­tings. You can either buy a spe­cif­ic stereo cam­era, or build your own dual cam­era sys­tem called stereo rig. I will be shar­ing more detailed posts soon, where dif­fer­ent stereo pho­tog­ra­phers intro­duce their spe­cif­ic equip­ment.

With ded­i­cat­ed dig­i­tal stereo cam­eras, one is able to skip the post pro­cess­ing and have the fin­ished stereo image instant­ly avail­able, which is easy and suit­able in many cas­es. How­ev­er, such stereo cam­eras with fixed lens posi­tion are lim­it­ed in the way they can depict depth. If you want the abil­i­ty to change the depth, you will need a dual cam­era stereo rig where you can adjust the dis­tance between the lens­es called base­line. While this is essen­tial for stereo pho­tos of dis­tant objects or cap­tur­ing exten­sive land­scapes (the so called tele or hyper stereo pho­tos), you need to com­bine the two sin­gle images acquired by the two cam­eras after­wards accord­ing to your desired view­ing method. You can use stan­dard image edit­ing tools such as Pho­to­shop or ded­i­cat­ed soft­ware like the Stereo Pho­to Mak­er, for image edit­ing and assem­bling stereo pairs. Stan­dard image edit­ing tools do offer the user a greater degree of con­trol, but can also be very time con­sum­ing. Ulti­mate­ly, the choice depend­ing on how you want to present the stereo pho­tos.


We will be shar­ing arti­cles that will hope­ful­ly serve as a guide for dif­fer­ent aspects of mod­ern stereo pho­tog­ra­phy. The arti­cles will pro­vide infor­ma­tion on get­ting start­ed (tuto­ri­als and sup­port), and cov­er dif­fer­ent meth­ods and tech­niques of acquir­ing stereo pho­tographs. We will also list all of them on the blog, where you can always find the lat­est con­tent at the top. If you would like to dis­cuss your stereo pho­tog­ra­phy equip­ment or tech­niques, please don’t hes­i­tate to send a mes­sage to pascal@stereosite.com.