Taking your first Panorama photo
Panorama Photography
Pixean
July 6, 2018

If you are a photography enthusiast, you must have already heard of the term panorama. Going by the definition, a panorama is nothing but a very wide-angled view of a space. This includes paintings, drawings and photographs. In case you are an absolute beginner in photography, the extra elongated views of landscape photographs can lead you to a lot of confusion. This is because you just cannot get such a large viewing angle with a normal camera. You may think of a very wide-angle lens or a fisheye lens but even that is not enough to get such a huge view in a single frame. This is the reason panorama photography has entered the scene. We all have the panorama image option in your smart phones. You need to just pan your phone in the same level as the indicator line on your screen. At the end of it, it takes a little bit of time and displays the entire image. The image is quite large horizontally but very small vertically, which is a problem while viewing on your phone. Ever wondered why it takes a little bit of time to display the image? The camera is taking several photographs of the scene and stitches all the images together to display the final image. While it is a very easy way to do panorama photography, the result is not even near to what you can achieve with a DSLR camera. Here is a guide to make your first panorama photo.

 

 

  • Gear: Use any camera that you can get hold off. A DSLR camera can obviously give you more control and hence better results. A sturdy tripod is mandatory. If you don’t have one, get one. I feel there is no substitute to a tripod if you want to get that brilliant panoramic shot. Hang some weight from the middle leg of the tripod to reduce any chances of shake. If possible, use a remote shutter cable or even the self-timer option in the camera. A wide-angle lens is going to be useful. You can even do it with any other lens but then the number of images will increase.

 

  • The process: What are you shooting? If it is a landscape, choose a day with the perfect conditions for the shoot. The process is simple. You need to shoot multiple images to cover the entire scene with some overlapping space in the adjacent images. After this you need to stitch the images in post processing and edit the final image. So how do we do it? Think of your composition. This should include the entire area you want to cover. Mount the camera on the tripod and start shooting the first frame. It is during this shoot that you will get to know what exposure triangle parameters to use. Use a slow shutter speed if you want the silky long exposure effect. Once the settings are in place, get your first shot. Pan the camera from left to right and set it in place for the second shot. The frame of the second shot should have some overlapping area with your first shot. This should be around 20%-25% of the first image. Now, this is not a mandatory rule. You don’t need a ruler here to determine that. This is just an estimate. If there are no overlapping areas, the stitching tool will not be able to recognize the linking of each of the photographs. Once you have got the second shot, continue with the third, fourth and so on, till you cover your entire composition. The most important thing that you need to keep in mind is that the tripod is stable and stationary during this entire process. If the tripod has moved, so has your frame. Therefore, stitching can be a pain later. Shoot your images in RAW mode. This will make sure that you have a lot of control during post-processing.

 

  • Post Processing: In the age of digital photography, post processing cannot be ignored. You are ready with your set of images. Use Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to stitch the photos together. The recent versions of Adobe Lightroom have got the “stitch panorama” option. Import the photos into Lightroom and stitch them using this option. Lightroom will take some time to display the final image. You need to process this image. This saves time since you don’t need to edit every image individually. You just need to process the final image. Adjust the brightness, contrast, blacks and highlights sliders. In case of a landscape image, tinker with the sharpness and clarity.

 

Image Courtesy: Source

 

  • The challenges: Panorama photography comes with its own set of challenges. A slight movement in tripod means that the entire set of images needs to be discarded. There must be some considerable overlapping portion in the adjacent images, failing which the processing tool will not be able to detect the common intersection points. Be aware of all the moving objects in your images. Make sure that they are not involved in your frame. Even if they are, they must not be in more than one of your shots. You don’t want a final image where there is a repetition of the same object. As a result, you need to be quick once you begin the shoot, even if the entire process is seriously time consuming.

 

 

Shooting a panorama photo can be exciting, especially for a beginner. It may be a time taking process, but with the correct technique the results can be quite satisfactory. Once you have shot all your images with proper overlapping areas, stitching the image is another enthralling part of the process. The excitement in waiting for the final image to appear in the processing software makes me shoot panoramic images time and time again. Follow the guide properly and you will surely be able to find out your reason to shoot panoramic images every day.

Panorama Photography
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Pixean
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