A panoramic photo is simply an image consisting of multiple photos. And since the rise of digital photography, the panoramic shot has become easy to do and an art in itself. In this tutorial, you'll get a quick look at how these images are created.
Photo by Allan Bachellier
Step 1 - Choosing your location
Choosing an interesting location is absolutely key to taking a great panorama shot. The most dramatic panoramic shots are often views across stunning snow capped mountain ranges, but I think that isn't the best place to start. Find somewhere with a decent view, such as up a hill or a local viewpoint that looks over a city, making sure you've got a large field of vision and a view that isn't restricted by anything such as buildings, trees or telephone wires.
Photo by Gianluca Neri
Step 2 - Getting your settings right
Firstly, if your camera has a panorama mode, then do use it, they are extremely helpful as they enable you to line up the overlaps in your shot and maintain the same exposure settings throughout the series of shots. If you haven't got a panoramic setting, you'll need to switch your camera to manual mode and select your own exposure settings depending on the conditions. You'll then need to ensure that for each of the shots you take, the settings are exactly the same, otherwise each shot will be exposed differently.
So for example, if you decide that the first exposure should be set to f/16 and 1/250 of a second, then take all of the other shots in the series with those same settings. It may well be worth testing a few exposure settings before you begin to ensure that you get the best results all the way through your series of shots. It's also a good idea to set your white balance manually, so it's consistent as well.
Photo by Datenhamster.org
Step 3 - How to take the shots
When taking your shots, you need to ensure that you leave plenty of overlap, so that when you come to compile your shot sequence, they merge together nicely and you haven't got any gaps.
One of the vital elements to panoramic shots is ensuring the aspect. You also need to avoid vertical or tilting movement of you camera. One of the best ways to combat this is to use a sturdy tripod, as it will rotate from a set point, which will help avoid any movement. Try to avoid shooting handheld, as you will begin to see definite shift in the objects within your shots and you'll have trouble with alignment later on.
It's also important that once you've decided on your focal range, that you lock your focus to avoid any discrepancies between shots.
Photo by Spasmoid
Step 4 - Compiling your image
So once you get back home you'll want to begin compiling your images to create your final shot. To start with, be sure that any editing you do applies to all of the shots that you want to include so there aren't differences between the shots.
Next up, you'll want to find some stitch software to compile your shots. There are various options, many cameras come bundled with stitch software, such as Canon's PhotoStitch, but there are also other options such as AutoStitch, Panoweaver and Dreamstitch. These are downloadable software package available easily online. Each one is easy to use and will guide you through the process of aligning your shots.
Photo by Made By Cedric
Step 5 - Get out there and try it!
So all that's left is to for you to get out there and give it a try. Once you feel like you've mastered the art in a familiar setting, you'll be ready to head up to the mountain tops for those stunning landscape shots. Make sure you check the weather and head out on a clear day to get the best results, but don't restrict yourself to just landscape left to right shots, there are a whole variety of possibilities, you can try vertical shots, cityscape shots or architectural shots as well.
Photo by Mario Groleau
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