Understanding the way to learning how to do panoramic photography is one of the most exciting and fun things in photography. You can create thousands of photos that look stunning on your wall or home office. It’s not only a great way to practice the way you look at photography in general, but a great way to master your landscape photography abilities as well.
Let’s begin with why panoramas were “created”. Software companies knew that the scene was bigger than what our cameras could record. So they created a process called “stitching”. Stitching is a word used to describe taking a series of photos side by side and merging them together to create one single, long and wide photo.
For panorama photography you don’t need anything too expensive when it comes to cameras. You just need a tripod, good lighting and some software. My favourite software to stitch my panoramas is known as “Panorama Maker Pro”. Nowadays they have version 6 available. You can even test it for a short period of time to come to a decision whether or not it is suitable for you.
I have created a lot of panoramas with the software. Once complete you can plainly see how it beautifully elongates a photo. This works fabulously for landscape photography. When you want to photograph your scene and do not have a wide or ultra wide angle lens, creating a panorama is good fun.
How To Shoot Panoramic Photos- Here is how you set up the digital camera
There’s one thing to create panoramas, and another thing to actually take them. There is a specific method to take panoramic pictures and it’s less difficult than you are probably thinking. Okay, so let’s start out. Let’s start with taking a landscape image. Choose the scene you want to photograph. Make sure your landscape has good lighting and there are no harsh shadows across your scene, it will make it easier to stitch if you have a clear and open landscape.
Set your camera up on a tripod. Keep the digital camera securely fastened and able to move from left to right or right to left only. It’s crucial that you let the tripod to move horizontally. If your tripod slips down vertically as you are taking a photo you make risk having your photo out of focus and the software will be unable to stitch correctly.
Don’t photograph into the sun. Have the sun at the back of you. It is better to photograph at the end of the day, or the start of the day. The light is nicer, sweeter and so much more gentle at the start and end of the day. The tones are deeper too.
Creating Panoramic Photos
Choose manual setting and position the camera towards the part of the view you want to expose properly. Now keep the digital camera on those settings the whole time. Let’s say you have the camera at 1/250th of a second and F20, 100 ISO. You’ve decided that you want a certain part of the picture to be well exposed and these settings will do it. That’s good, keep them that way and don’t change the settings at all. Once you have chosen your settings, now take a sequence of photos, one after the other. Move the camera from left to right, for example. Make sure you leave a section of the scene as overlap. Your stitching software program needs to overlap something.
What Sorts Of Things Can You Make a Panorama From? Fast moving subjects may not work- depending on the light. Begin with subjects that don’t move, like rocks, mountains and buildings. Landscapes with a nothing but blue sky and a mountain range are great subjects to start with. Nothing is moving so the Panorama software should not have any problem stitching your scene together. Let me clarify this further.
If you are taking pictures with a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second and the subjects is fast moving, like water for example, then you may not have a fast enough shutter speed for the motion of the digital camera and the water. In the first photo the water will be at the top of the rock and the next photo the water will be half way along the rock. When the software attempts to stitch two irregularities together it will not be able to form a full and complete picture. The outcome will look like two pieces of paper that have been glued together. Keep the shot without motion so the software can stitch the photo in exactly the same spot. It will then make photo 1 the same as photo 2. There will be no difficulties and the two photos will come together nicely.
However, on saying that, if you have loads of light and a quick shutter speed you need to move the camera sooner than the water is moving. In other words, you need to move super fast to make sure you set up your digital camera in a way that the stitching will match up. If the water is moving at 1/250th of a second, then you need to move at 1/500th of a second. You need to move the camera from left to right, faster than the water. However for now, begin with a single scene without speed of any kind. Keep your mind on a motionless subject. It’s simpler in the beginning that way.
What Other Scenes Make Magnificent Panoramas- There are heaps of ways to create your photos wide and large.
Mountain ranges are not the only subjects that look good as panoramas. Once you have mastered the shutter speed and speed of movement for photographing a series of pictures, why not attempt a waterfall. Once you have mastered this method of panorama shooting, you can work to create panoramas in any direction. Not only do horizontal panoramas work but so do squares (tiles- two at the upper section of the photo and two at the bottom of your image, and so do vertical scenes.
I took a series of shots at Nightcap National Park in New South Wales, Australia. I did what was referred to as a “tile.” The photo comprised of 6 photos; 3 bottom ones and 3 top ones. I was vigilant not to overlap any sections of the water because I was unable to shift the digital camera quickly and have a fast shutter speed. This was due to the sunlight falling behind the mountain. I used a very high ISO to compensate for the light decrease. I knew it would be okay to do this because my camera wouldn’t overexpose anything in dim lighting like this. I was blessed, the image turned out fine.
Making Your Panorama as a Final Picture- Placing your panorama together
Once you have photographed a sequence of shots from left to right, say 5, simply upload the photos to your computer. Open up the Panorama software. Then, once you are in, go for the images you want to work on. You will be able to follow the instructions pretty well when you are in the program itself. If your panorama works properly, you should see a huge scene. It is amazing to see, for the very first time, that your photos have now become one and you are looking at a big scene- exactly the way you saw it with your own eyes. It’s a lovely thing to experience.
Creating panoramas is a wonderful way to not only become skilled at the art of photography but helps you look at scenes in a different way. You will have a innovative love and excitement for landscapes especially.Don’t just stick with landscapes. Once you become more familiar with the process, try taking beautiful photos of trees, water, oceans (remember your light and shutter), highways, and even pathways. Everything I have pointed out seems like a landscape scene, but if you do additional photographing you will find you can produce a panorama out of just about anything. It’s so much fun to do!
Amy Renfrey is a professional photography teacher. She shows you how to take stunning photos every single time, even if you have never used a digital camera before. Visit her website today and discover how to take great photos for the rest of your life.