Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tips for Shooting Panoramas

Shooting panoramas is something I have done a little bit of now. It allows you to really get some great large images, without having a super expensive camera or lenses. Some tips I've found from experience.

  • Avoid Parallax - Landscapes work best, where most of the image is at infinity focus or close to it. This avoids parallax error. (see here for a good article about parallax error)
  • Camera Orientation - Shoot with the camera in portrait orientation when doing a landscape orientation panorama, this gives a much better final image, not too wide for the height. With a portrait orientation panorama, shoot with the camera in landscape orientation.
  • Manual Exposure - Set the camera on manual mode, so all shots will be at the same ISO / shutter / aperture. You can use another auto mode to get the required exposure for the panorama. Pick the point in the panorama which will be brightest, and use the exposure information to guide your manual settings.
  • White Balance - If shooting JPG also set the white balance (dont use Auto white balance) so that the white balance is the same for all the shots (if you shoot RAW then make sure you set the white balance to the same for all shots before you merge the panorama).
  • Overlap! - Make sure you overlap shots by plenty. Better to have too many photos to stitch than having gaps. I aim for about 50% overlap. To do this when you compose the next shot in the sequence, have something that was at the very edge of the previous frame, and move it to the centre of the next.
  • Shoot Extra - Go extra around the edges. Dont stop where you want the final cropped panorama to finish. When correcting distortion you can often lose parts of the edges of the image. So go an extra row if you are doing a multiple row panorama, and go for an extra shot at either end of what you would like to show in the final image.
  • Manual Focus - Make sure the camera is set to manual focus. By all means use autofocus to get the correct focus, but then switch to manual. This will make sure the focus doesnt change between shots.
Thats all I can think of just at the moment, I'll add more if I think of them! :)

Good luck panorama shooting.

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