What’s the best time to capture 360 degree photos outdoors? Without a doubt, it’s “Golden Hour”. This Insta-worthy moment happens just twice daily–during the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset–and can vary depending on where you live and what time of the year it is.

Golden hour is preferred by photographers because it provides a softer, warmer light. Direct sunlight can often be too harsh and lead to high exposure or dark subjects depending on the angle you are shooting from.

Some of our favorite locations to capture the sunrise or sunset include the beach, city, countryside, or mountain. Read on for capturing the best 360 images during this magical time.

Sunset and a sea of clouds at Nishi-Hotakadake captured with THETASC AUTO

by @suzuwanders

Allow Ample Set Up Time

If you are planning to use your THETA model during golden hour to capture a stunning 360º sunrise or sunset, be sure to arrive at your destination with plenty of time to set up. The lighting during this time can shift dramatically in just a few minutes.

Always Take a Test Shot

Before capturing your photo, try taking a trial shot and check the image immediately after shooting to be sure it is what you are looking for. We recommend bringing a monopod with you to ensure your THETA camera is stable. It also allows you the opportunity to take a photo without being in it, or to take a group shot with friends. Quick tip: if you are shooting people, have your camera face towards the sun to create a fun image of your silhouettes with the sunrise or sunset in the background!

Click here for some tips on how to shoot on your THETA without being in the frame!

The official monopods “RICOH THETA Stick TM-2 and TM-3“

If you have a THETA Z1 or V and are holding the camera, you can utilize the handheld HDR function. If you are using the regular HDR function, we recommend using a tripod to improve your overall image quality by correcting shakiness as well as color.

You can select HDR or Handheld HDR on the basic RICOH THETA app.

Sunrise shot by Kazuaki Nakajima (@snow_j)

“This photo is not taken around sunset but actually early morning.  As a picture, I think it was well balanced with five people. When the tide came up, everyone’s silhouettes were reflected in the water.”

Editing is Key

After photographing, be sure to connect your THETA camera to the basic THETA app to view first, and utilize the THETA+ app to edit. If the subject is too dark or bright, use the exposure compensation to adjust. In addition to editing the exposure in the THETA+ app, you can also adjust the contrast, color temperatures, highlights, shadows, clarity, and saturation. Tap the check mark in the top right corner to preview your photo before exporting it and uploading it to your social channels.

Shot and edited by Kazuaki Nakajima (@snow_j)

If you’re interested in learning more about editing 360º photos, check out this interview that is full of helpful advice from a professional photographer!

Sunset Shot by a professional photographer, Steve Swayne

Be sure to tag us in your golden hour photos – we love seeing what you capture with your RICOH THETA cameras.

For more details, please visit the product page.

Photo credits : Snow_j, Suzuwanders, Chicapaya, Steve Swayne, @xxlucy