At first we were all just excited to see photos from the sky, then drones added exceptional video from on high. Later on came panoramic photos and even full 360 degree cameras capturing amazing video.

It’s true that you do need specialized hardware to capture 360 degree video, but all you need is a stable drone and some software to get those still shots. Join us for a quick look at some of our favorite 360 degree camera apps for drones.

DJI Mavic Air 2 180 degree panorama

Drone apps for 360 panoramic photos

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Before you go looking for fancy, and potentially expensive, software, be sure your drone does not already have the photo taking abilities you are looking for. The first apps on our list are the default manufacturer apps, meaning you are already good to go. After that we’ll explore alternative apps.

How do they work?

How does a drone make a 360 degree photo?

DJI Mavic 2 Pro panoramic

If you are new to how these things work, a 360 degree image is almost always a stitched together collection of smaller images. Google Photos has been stitching together your images to make larger panoramic images for a couple years now, as an example.

You can manually take a collection of images and lay them out in photo editing software, but that’s not what we want at all. Let’s instead focus on the tools, apps and software that do all the work for you.

Hardware

Hardware

From the get-go, you can explore 360 cameras that actually take an image of a sphere of its surroundings in one shot. We have the Insta360 in house ourselves, it’s pretty slick, but it really excels at video and more for ideally lit situations with photo subjects fairly close in.

We’ve flown the Insta360 a few times, it’s super light-weight and small enough most any drone can lift it. Of course, it’s not really made for standalone recording, it was built as an attachment to your phone or tablet.

Manufacturers like Autel Robotics have solutions tailor made for their drones. Cameras built for 360 capture. In those cases, once again, your default software from the company will be your tool of choice.