However, there are still some fundamental rules you need to follow. There are things you can edit with the help of special programs. Still, some things are impossible to fix once the picture has been taken and very easy to avoid by following these 8 guidelines. We hope that this list will help you master the art of panorama faster!
1. Panorama Mode in Your Camera
Why waste time and effort when the engineers and developers have already done everything for you? Your camera, if it is not the simplest basic model, most certainly has a special panoramic mode. This mode usually allows you to see the last picture you’ve snapped and to get the view of the shot you are planning to take at once. It can help you align the parts of your future photo and overlap them nicely to create a seamless panorama. The mode also freezes the exposure settings and keeps them stable until you have completed the whole picture because cameras tend to change exposure settings in between shots. This feature allows you to take several photos with an even quality of lighting and stitch them together quickly afterward. However, if your camera does not help you with the exposure, there are a multitude of programs that can help you level it on your computer.
2. Overlapping is Panorama King
An astonishing panorama image does not exist without quality overlapping. You slip just a tiny bit, and the shot of your life is ruined by a white stripe running vertically down the middle of it. Some photographers say, overlapping by 15 percent works just fine. But to be sure, we suggest that you overlap by 30 percent, or even more if there is a need. By trial and error, find out what percentage works for you. Another important thing: a bigger overlapping helps to eliminate flaring. The flaring usually occurs when your lens causes distortion at the corners of your image because the program tries to fill up the image frame.
3. Leveling is Panorama Queen
If you are planning on stitching a beautiful panorama of about five images, leveling your camera will not be a problem. But if the subject of your photo is, say, the Grand Canyon, five images will not help you transfer all the grandeur of the place into a shot. Think 20 or more separate shots! And while you are at it, think about how you are going to keep your camera level for such a long time and wide picture. Your camera lens is curved, so even a tiny change of angle will result in a fan effect that is not easy to remove even if you have modern software on your computer. The distortion will be clearly seen in the background of your photo, the horizon in the distance will not line up.
4. Metering is the Toughest Choice
If your camera does not have a special panorama mode, switch the metering mode to manual before you shoot. Or get ready to see a skyline like this.
Pay attention to the different colors - it’s because of the difference in the exposure! You can try to even it out using your advanced computer programs, but no one can guarantee that they’ll cope with the task. But if you switch to manual before you take your photos, you will manage to avoid this. To achieve the best result, scan the landscape you are willing to shoot with your camera. Remember the shutter speed and aperture setting suggested by your camera, then do some math and choose two average values, then enter them in the manual mode and go!
5. Movement is Panorama Kryptonite
A single plane flying across your panorama may even add a unique zest to your shot. But if there are many moving objects in your field a vision, your brilliant panoramic landscape shot a will turn into a mess of blurry spots (see how blurred the falling water is in this picture). Try to shoot your panorama quickly enough. But also remember: sometimes you can do nothing about the moving objects. Just sigh and put up with it.
6. Wide Angle Lenses are Not Always a Solution
A not-so-wide angle lense could save you from the problems with leveling. It reduces the distortion of distant objects/views. More often than not, a good panorama is not a product of a super-wide-angle lens. It is the result of a meticulous photographer’s work. Make lots and lots of overlapping shots and then work diligently on your computer to create a state-of-the-art panorama.
7. Numerous Attempts Will Be Rewarded.
Modern devices and programs allow - and encourage - you to make multiple panoramas before you make the Panorama. So, don’t just settle for what you shoot at the very first attempt. Experiment. Move from left to right, then move your camera slightly higher or lower and make another left-to-right pass to capture as many details as you can. Just remember that you need to overlap (see #2 if you do not remember why) and realize that the rule applies not only to the sides but to the top and bottom as well. Then take some time working on your shot in a program. You will be astonished to see an unprecedented quality of the sky or some details in the foreground that you did not capture during your first panoramic pass.
8. Vertical Panorama is the New Black
Most people think panorama is a vast horizontal shot. But they are forgetting about stunning waterfalls or skyscrapers that can be captured in full in a vertical panorama. The basic principles of taking an excellent vertical panorama shot are the same. Sometimes you may want to hold your camera on its side and use the horizontal panorama mode. Just a little bit of experimenting, and you’ll get the hang of things.
And, last but not least, remember that making a good panorama does not require you to buy an expensive camera. Rely on these guidelines not to make mistakes that may discourage you from digging deeper and practice a lot. Take your panoramas far and wide, and enjoy the beautiful memories you create!