Images with an elongated field of view are perfect for landscape or city skyline photographers. There was a time when photographers would spend hours in dark rooms overlapping exposures in an attempt to stitch together all of their images and create the perfect panoramic photo.
The digital age allows us to create panoramic images with ease. Now, we have digital cameras and software that allow us to create the perfect panorama photo right on our home desktops.
Let's discuss a few tips that will help you create the perfect photo:
Utilize in-Camera Panoramic Imaging
Many cameras include translucent mirror reflex viewing systems. These systems allow for a sequence of images to be taken, and the digital camera will take care of all the processing for you. Essentially, the images are merged together into a wide field image. All you have to do is allow the camera to process, and wait for the image to pop up on your screen.
Sony has a series of DSLR cameras in the company's SLT-series that offers this functionality.
You can also find point-and-shoot cameras that are priced under $500 that offer panoramic image taking. This is far easier than stitching together images using Photoshop.
Set Manual Exposure
Manual exposure settings are recommended. Manual mode allows you to avoid uneven lighting when moving from one frame to the next. This is very important when you're stitching together images to create the perfect shot.
Be Cautious of Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angle lenses are, in theory, a better choice for panoramic pictures, but they're also less forgiving. If you're going to be stitching together a series of 20 pictures, you need to be cautious of how you level your camera. If you tilt the camera down 20° without even noticing it, you will have a final image that is distorted as a result.
If you had a 50 mm lens and made multiple passes over the scene, the distortion would be much less noticeable than with a wider angle lens.
You need to adjust and experiment with your wide-angle lenses to find the perfect fit for your panoramic shots. Also, avoid looking up and down while taking your shots. When using software to put together your images, you can start your initial pass right to left, and then up and down to add extra skyline to your image.
While cameras that have panoramic imaging technology built into them are great, when you stitch images together, you have more control over what your final image looks like.
Get Creative with Your Panoramic Photo
What can you do to make your panorama shot pop? Be creative. There are a lot of ways that you can be creative with your shot. Let's take a look at a few of the most overlooked ways to make a panoramic image look great.
Don't Be Afraid to Add People
We've all seen great landscape panoramic images, but don't be afraid to add people into the mix. Weddings, birthday parties and other events where people are present are perfect for panoramic imaging.
You can make a striking collage with the right image, and you'll be able to capture all of the magic of a wedding, including the bride and groom as well as their prestigious guests.
Vertical Panoramas Work Well
Every photographer is quick to go from right to left take their images, but don't forget that images can also be vertical. Taking vertical shots of rolling landscapes is a great way to get the sunset and all of the hills in front of you into one shot.
Follow an Object
One of the most fun ways to create a panorama is to follow an object. You need to be quick and decisive, but you can make this work in a way that is nothing short of magical. Imagine taking a picture of your dog as he runs through a green, lush landscape and jumps into the water to make a splash.
You can make this into a panoramic image that tells the story of your dog having fun – something a single image cannot offer.
Panorama photography is an art, and it will take time to master the right techniques to make your panoramic photos look great. With time and experience, you'll be able to have fun with your panoramic imagery and take pictures that you never thought were possible.