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The Ultimate Guide To Shoot Stunning Panorama

The Ultimate Guide To Shoot Stunning Panorama

What would you do if you have a camera that has 576 megapixels resolution and a 10mm wide lens?

Would you believe if I say that you already own such a camera? I bet you don’t believe me. Well, God has already made a very advanced camera for us and it’s called our eyes.

Our eyes have 576 megapixels resolution and the field of view is around 180 degrees horizontal and 160 degrees vertical, which are equivalent to a 10mm wide lens.

Panorama Photography

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Nowadays we can shoot wide angle shots with an 8mm or 10mm lens but we don’t have a camera that can click a picture at such high resolution. So, if you want to click a detailed picture like our eyes can see, do you have any option? Well, it’s possible with a photography technique called panorama.

In panorama photography, we click a series of photos and stitch them together to make a very high-resolution picture. With this technique and some special equipment, you can even create gigapixels images. So, let’s find out what you need to shoot a panorama and how to shoot it.

Panorama photography MIOPS

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Equipment:

You can shoot a panorama with any DSLR camera but lens choice is very important. If you choose a wide angle lens like 16mm or less, it’ll cover the entire scene in fewer shots and you’ll end up with a low-resolution panorama. A 16mm lens can cover a 360​-​degree scene in just 6-7 shots.

Pros of wide angle lens: Fewer shots, faster and easy editing, more vertical coverage

Cons of wide angle lens: Lower resolution of final image, more chances of parallax error

If you choose a longer lens like 100mm, you need to take lots of shots to cover the entire scene, vertical coverage will be very less and then you’ll need a powerful computer to stitch those images. So such a long lens is absolutely a no-no.

Shoot Stunning Panorama

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In an ideal condition, a 24-50mm lens is a good choice. With a 50mm lens, you need to take around 18 shots to cover the 180-degree field of view.

See the image below, Red ones are 16mm pictures and as you can see only 6 photos are covering the entire view. Blue ones are 50mm pictures and it required 18 pictures to cover the whole scene. But in the case of red, vertical coverage is very large.

 Guide To Panorama Photography

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

In nutshell, you need to select focal length according to your requirement and the scene.

Other than camera and lenses, a steady tripod is a must for panorama photography. If you are shooting landscape, you may use ND filters to show smooth motions and circular polarizer filter to enhance colors and reduce glares. 

Panorama photo guide

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Settings:

All the equipment are ready, let’s talk about the settings. You are going to shoot a series of pictures and stitch them together so it’s absolutely necessary that all pictures have the same exposure, color, and focus. So, you need to do manual settings for everything in the camera.

First set your camera on a tripod. Here you need to remember two things. First, your camera should be vertical and second, it’s absolutely straight. A little bit of tilt will ruin your picture because you don’t want a picture with the tilted horizon. Use a Bubble Spirit Level to level the camera.

how to take a panoramic picture

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

Now set the white balance to daylight or whatever setting is appropriate according to the light and your taste. Set aperture to f/8 or f/11 because you will need a deeper depth of field and then focus manually. Now you need to set the exposure. Take a shot at aperture priority mode and see the picture. It should not have any clipping. If the picture is perfect, set the camera on manual exposure and set shutter speed similar to the last picture you took.

how to take a panorama MIOPS

Shooting:

Now you are ready to shoot.​ ​If you are taking a 180-degree panorama, you need to start from a point and come back to the same point. Loose the panoramic rotation knob of the tripod and take one shot. Now rotate the camera a little bit and take another shot and keep doing it until you reach up to starting point. Here you need to remember that there should be at least 20-25% overlap between each image otherwise you’ll have problem stitching later.

Check the following image. Blue one is the first image and red one is second. The gray part between both images is the overlapped part. You need to do it between every shot.

Guide To Shoot Panorama

© Ramakant Sharda – http://ClickManic.com

Also, keep an eye on the horizon in each picture. It should be at the same level in all pictures. If it’s not it means, the camera is not straight. Fix it first and start again.

Things to Remember:

1. Reach early: Always try to reach early at the location so you have plenty of time to set up everything and take a test shot.

2. Shoot in RAW: Always shoot in RAW so if you made any mistake in camera settings, you have a better chance to correct it later on.

take a panorama photography

3. No elements in the foreground: This is very important. Always remember that you don’t have elements in foreground that are very close to the camera. If you have, you’ll have parallax problem when you stitch the photos. Parallax problem is a very big subject and we’ll talk about it in the next article.

how to take a panoramic photos

So, let’s find some beautiful locations and start shooting. In the next article, we’ll learn how to stitch photos using panorama software.​​​

About the Author

Ramakant Sharda is an authoriOS App publisherpassionate photographer and a MIOPS Ambassador based in the beautiful “Pink City” of India, known as Jaipur. His work has been published in various magazines, newspapers, and blogs. He has published three Coffee Table Books, he writes about photography and also teaches photography in his workshops. Check out his website http://ClickManic.com to see the masterpieces created by him or download his free app for iPhone and iPad “30 Days to an Ace Photographer“.