Back when the only cameras were film cameras, it was nearly impossible for an amateur to create a panoramic image. If you wanted one of these shots, it meant either purchasing a very expensive camera or spending hours in the dark room stitching the pictures together.
However, now that digital cameras are readily accessible, it’s very simple to create panoramic images with your camera and a computer. You can even use your phone’s camera! Below you will find some general guidelines on how to take incredible panoramic images so you can enjoy your memories for a long time.
If you’re using a digital camera, then take the following tips into consideration:
- Use your camera’s panorama mode
Most digital cameras now have a panoramic image mode. This mode will assist you by displaying the last picture taken and giving you a view of the next picture so you can overlap them. Also, it means that your camera will not change exposure settings in between shots, giving your picture a consistent feel.
- Exaggerate your overlap
One of the most important areas to take into consideration when creating a panoramic picture is overlap. Some experts recommend overlapping by 15%, but if you’re just starting out, try overlapping by around 30%. Once you’ve gained some experience, you can find the overlap percentage that works for you. Having more overlap reduces flaring and picture distortion.
- Keep your camera level
The more images you want to combine, the more important it is to keep your camera level. Since your lens is a curved piece of glass, taking the shots at the same level is vital, so all scenes come in a hit the sensor at the same angle. If your camera points a bit higher or lower in some shots, some background objects will be more in focus than any foreground objects. This movement can create a fan effect which may ruin your picture.
An easy way of making sure that your camera is level is by using a tripod. If you find that your tripod is a bit wobbly or the ground is unstable, pennies can be used to level it and make it stable.
- Take movement into consideration
When something in the scene you’re trying to shoot moves, it can prevent you from taking your panoramic shot. Movement can create blurry spots when things don’t overlap correctly and messes up your image. If there is movement, then try and take the images as quickly as possible.
- Be creative!
Most often we think of a panoramic shot as horizontal. However, you can also take vertical shots to create an interesting picture. When shooting a vertical shot, take the same things into consideration as if you were shooting a horizontal picture. It might be helpful to turn the camera on its side, so take some time to practice and see what best works for you.
If you have an iPhone, you can still take great panoramic shots, for those situations when your camera is too heavy to carry around. Just follow these guidelines
- Use your Pano feature
There are lots of apps that help you create a panoramic shot, but the Pano feature in your camera is enough to create a great picture. To use this feature simply open up your camera and swipe through the different modes until Pano is selected
- Take a test shot
This shot will help you determine how your final picture will end up. Hold your camera upright and pan it from one side to the next. A quick tip is to make sure that your picture starts and ends on something interesting.
- Set the exposure
Your exposure must be correctly configured when shooting a panoramic picture. Since you’re not going to be shooting one scene, parts of it may be darker than others. You should aim for the exposure to be an area with medium brightness. Find this area, point your phone towards it, then tap and hold the screen, therefore locking your exposure settings.
- Keep your camera steady
If you find your pictures are shaky, then using a tripod can help. If one is not handy, then use your imagination. Anything that will swing or turn can be used as a tripod, such as a car door or a garden gate.
- Take your picture!
Your iPhone should be pointed at the starting position of your photo. Once you know where you want to start, press the shutter button and start panning your phone towards the place you want your picture to end. Your arrow should remain on the line displayed, and once the end position has been reached, press the shutter button again.