3D Photography


In 3D photography, you need two images, one for the left eye and one from the right. There are two common methods when shooting 3D. The first one is to take stereoscopic images taken from two camera viewpoints.


Image by Matjaž Tančič

The distance between two cameras need to be around 6.4 cm, the average distance between human eyes. Syncing both cameras to shoot and flash at the same time is not easy, testing for triggering options is key. The settings for both cameras have to be the same, so it is best to shoot with manual and have a zoom lens, preferably not too wide or narrow. The AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED works well. Small aperture is crucial: F5,6; F8; F11.

Depending on how far or close objects are, recalculate and change distances between cameras. If you are shooting something close like a table top, a centimeter between cameras is enough but if you want depth, for example clouds that are far away, you need distance between cameras.

Another method, and the most frequently used is the cha-cha method. For people who just want to start, this is the easiest as you only shoot with one camera and merge two photos with software.  Start with something static, the less movement the better. Both images have to be completely the same. Take as many shots as you can to help minimize the risk of having photos that are blurry or with mistakes.

How to start
Once you’ve found the subject you want to shoot, you need a good location. Your depth shouldn’t have too many layers. Shooting a person in front of a car and that car in front of a building in front of more buildings will potentially lose grounds for making a great 3D photo. Too great of a depth is not good for these types of photos. There should always a limited space in your photos. Shoot people in close spaces, but make sure that you have enough depth and a range between 2- 4 layers.

Simplicity is key
Plant an object in front of your chair with a 3 dimensional wall, e.g. with drapes behind it. With 3D, especially when shooting indoors and natural light is limited, your aperture needs to be small; f/8, f/12 or f/16 are all great. When you have all these settings applied, a nice environment, and have the method in mind you want to shoot with, you’re set to shoot.

When you have two images, you have many options of viewing them. Stereo viewing cards are displayed with right and left images, producing a three-dimensional effect. Merging photos in an analytical image is also another option. Blue and red paper glasses is the most common and the cheapest to create the desired effect. The only downside is that you lose some colors when looking through filters.

If you shoot anaglyphs, which is the most popular, avoid cyan color codes red and blue. When looking at colors through 3D glasses, it can hurt the eyes a little. You can take care of this while you’re shooting or try to fix it post production

Another difficulty is when photos are digital, the colors are presented within an RGB format but when printing, a photo is automatically converted to CMYK – a format that when printed, changes colour tones. This is a big “rookie” mistake.

Many people don’t prepare their files to be converted thus changing the whole dynamic of a photo. This unfortunately results in a fear to explore 3D photography – because honestly, you see really bad ones.

Key points to remember:
• Have two identical cameras or one good camera and tripod
• A lens with a small aperture
• A program or app to calculate distance between cameras and objects
• Software to process your images

• Nikon D810 and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED x 2
• A slider and leveler for stability
• A trigger to set off both cameras at the same time

Most importantly, embrace mistakes.