Panoramic Photography Tips

Panoramic photography can cover several different techniques to achive a similar result.

A true panorama is an image that shows more of a scene than it is possible to view with the naked eye without turning the head from side to side.

This can be achieved using a specialist panoramic lens that has an ultra wide angle of view or by taking several shots and stitching them together using image manipulation software on the computer.

Pseudo Panoramic Photography.

There is another way to achieve what is known as a pseudo panorama. This is achieved by simply cropping the top and bottom off of a wide angled shot turning it into a letterbox shape.

When using this technique it is important to ensure that there is sufficient visual interest and sharpness in the detail left in the final image.

Panoramic Photography - Photo by Kate Tilmouth Panoramic Photography - Pseudo Panoramic Photo by Kate Tilmouth

Panoramic Photography Tips for Stitching Frames Together.

Camera Settings

Panoramic Photography - Camera Spirit Level by guwashi999 on Flickr
  • Set the camera to manual mode so that you can fix the exposure and camera speed for all your individual images. To find the best exposure and speed setting you will have to take some sample shots using different settings and then set them to ensure that all your frames are shot the same.
  • Select the lowest ISO setting available to you, normally ISO100 or ISO200.
  • Set aperture to around F/11
  • Choose either daylight or cloudy for your white balance.
  • If using a zoom lens, set the focal length to its middle range. If you use the wide angle focal point with this type of lens it is likely to result in an uneven illumination, making the corners of the image darker than the centre and therefore making it difficult to achieve good joins between frames.

Taking the Pictures

Panoramic Photography - Tripod picture by F.5.6
  • For good quality panoramas you will need to have a sturdy tripod, preferably with a built in spirit level to ensure that the pan will remain level.
  • Take each picture by swivelling the tripod head; making sure that there is an ample overlap of the previous frame. About a quarter of the image should be fine.
  • Make sure that any main focus points in your image, say an interesting building or feature, are kept to the centre of your frame and will not be a part of an overlap.

Stitching the Frames Together

There are many different software packages available that will help you to create your panorama from your individual frames. All will have their own way of doing it and there is no point in me trying to go through all the different ways with you here.

Obviously the better quality software packages will give you more control over the process and so you will end up with a better quality and very convincing panoramic picture.

Panoramic Photography - Panoramic Stitch picture by joyosity on Flickr

Basically the process is that you will create a blank panoramic photography canvas in your software package and you will layer the individual frames onto it. The frames will need to be matched together using the overlaps and then blend them together so that no join can be seen. If the frames have all been taken with the same settings and have been kept at the same level then they should fit together well and should produce a seamless image.