Panoramic photos create a different perspective that can produce some beautiful photos full of details. Pros advocate a few specific tools to go with your Canon DSLR cameras, including the right camera tripods, good photo editing software, and a good set of skills. It’s up to you to find the photo editing software you like most and purchase a great tripod, but this list of tips can certainly help you develop the skills and techniques necessary.
The first step is picking your panorama stitching software. A free version of old Photoshop available from Adobe is a good place to start. Get familiar with it so you know its quirks before you start trying to take panorama photos you’ll care about. If your camera has a panorama mode, plan on using it internally and then following these steps to create a panorama shot on your computer after so you can compare the two methods.
Once you’re at the photo location, frame your entire shot first using your camera tripod. The purpose of the tripod is to limit unwanted shifting of the camera, especially vertically, as you pan between shots. Find the best place to set up the tripod and then take a trial series of photos to work on your framing. If you know you’re going to do the entire process at least twice, you’re more likely to be critical about problems the first time through, which is the best way to correct them.
Pros suggest keeping the following in mind as walk though the shot.
1. Hold the camera vertically, in portrait orientation. This might seem counterintuitive because it means you have to take more shots, but you won’t be at a loss for horizontal space. However, if you use a portrait orientation, you can also ensure you have more vertical space to use, which is helpful if when you have to crop part out during editing.
2. Overlap every photo roughly 50%. This means the content of every photo is split between the shots on either side so you have a lot of redundancy, except for at the very ends. The advantages of this include giving you more photo to work with when stitching together so you can crop out any lens distortion that your wide angle might produce, and increasing the chances of success if you use an automated panorama feature on your software. Plus you’re more likely to line things up correctly with more overlap.
3. Use full manual mode. When you’re framing the shot you should also find the best camera settings so you don’t have to change between shots to maintain the exposure. Full manual ensures that your camera won’t “correct” when you move to the piece of the panorama with more light from the sky, which would create disunity between sections and make stitching the photos together more difficult.
Once you have your photos, it’s time to edit them together. This is almost as important as the photography itself for the quality of your panorama. Newer versions of Photoshop make stitching the photos together very easy, offering you an automated merging tool that only asks you a few questions before putting it together, and then still giving you a great deal of room to correct your photos if you want. If you are struggling with adjustments, learn more about layer masks, which is the method the automated panorama tool in Photoshop uses.
From a DSLR and camera tripods to a panoramic photo of your favorite location in just a few easy steps – follow these tips and practice and you can crate stunning panoramas with even the most modest camera and hardware.