There’s something about the mere shape or aspect ratio of panoramic photographs that always makes you want to take a closer look. It is very easy for one to relate to a panoramic photograph as it is quite similar to the way we as humans see the world; through horizontally aligned eyes. Even with the best digital camera technology, clicking panorama shots is a daunting task. Most new-age photography cameras have built-in panoramic modes; however it does not always assure impeccable results. We have undertaken the task of bringing you the best digital camera based panoramic photography techniques to get you up to speed. If you posses little knowledge about photography cameras and the willingness to learn something new, then you should read ahead.
Best Digital Camera Based Composition Techniques for Panoramic Photography
- Basic Techniques – Panoramas are usually made by taking a multiple shots and digitally ‘stitching’ them together to make a much larger image. The key to get perfect panoramas is clicking images with detail and ensuring that each individual shot is perfectly meshed together without any visible seams or joins. A decent photography camera, good technique and regular practice will make you an expert in a matter of time.
- Composition – Two of the most important aspects of panoramic photography are orientation and overlap. Ideally the portrait orientation should be used as it gives the stitching software a longer edge to work with and also keeps the perspective change between each shot to a minimum. The second most important aspect is overlap amount. Overlap is used to ensure continuity between two corresponding shots and allow headroom for stitching. Ideal overlap amount is about 20-30%. Avoid the temptation to go for larger overlap areas.
- Metering – Meter and focus for the scene. Lock all your photography cameras settings to minimize changes between shots. These days, some of the world’s best digital cameras have built-in metering options along with metering assistance.
- Exposures – Even if you do not have the best digital camera, exposure settings are pretty much available in most cameras. During the composition stage, it is recommended that you use your photography cameras exposure system in manual mode. After this, you can experiment with a few test shots and then proceed to locking the exposure settings. Higher exposure values are suggested and they sharpen the stationary objects and naturally blur moving objects such as water and leaves etc.
- Pan Speeds – If you are using your photography cameras built-in panoramic mode, it is crucial to get the right pan speed. Maintain a steady hand and a constant pan speed. Take a few test shots for a preview.
Additional Gear for the Best Digital Camera Based Panoramic Photography
Apart from photography cameras, panoramic photography can be enhanced by the use of some equipment. Following are some equipment to add to your inventory for the best digital camera based panoramic photography. While these equipments are great additions, they cannot replace skills you acquire by repeated practice.
- Tripods – They add stability t your shots and ensure clearer and sharper images. These days, dedicated panoramic tripod heads are readily available for photography cameras.
- Lenses – There are no special lenses required for panoramic pictures. You should be able to get great result with regular 35mm and 50mm lenses. That being said, wide-angle lenses add extra flavor in your panoramic images.
- Camera Mounts – Many manufactures of equipments for photography cameras also have ready mounts with built-in features for great panoramas.
- Remote Release – They are great nifty little tools to ensure no blurring is caused due to shaking.
Best Digital Camera Based Post-Processing Techniques for Panoramic Photography
Great panoramic shots cannot rely on the best digital camera being used. It requires a great amount post-processing or stitching in the case of panoramic photography. Software takes the charge after your photography cameras duties are done. That being said, a good set of base images is always a pre-requisite.
- Image Stitching – Image stitching can be achieved with a plethora of image-processing applications. Photoshop is one of the most used software for this. Following is a typical stitching workflow:
- Open Photoshop
- Select File > Automate > Photomerge
- Click ‘Browse’ and select the images to be stitched or merged.
- Make sure that the ‘Blend Images’ option is selected.
- Click OK to start the stitching process (it can take some time).
- You could also experiment by using the various perspective modes and the ‘Geometric Distortion’ option on and off.
- You could also stitch the images in batches to ensure more control over problematic areas.
- Inspect and monitor overlap areas for misalignment and edit images accordingly.
- Once the final panorama has been rendered, crop and remove the resulting curvature (if any) from the image edges.
Taking decent panoramic images is an extremely rewarding skill to master. Clicking it with you’re your photography camera and no other equipment is even more gratifying. Panoramic photography expands you point of view of creative photographic techniques (quite literally). Even the best digital camera in the world cannot assure stunning results. It takes diligent practice and a keen eye. After you have conquered conventional horizontal panoramic photography, your next Endeavour should be a vertical one.