How to create a panorama

By YPTechniques, Tutorials

What You Need To Know

Panorama is a way of creating images in an elongated view. This is commonly done by taking multiple images and stitch them together during post-processing. Follow these 4 simple steps to create your very own panorama.

  1. You need a digital camera, a tripod and a software that can stitch images
  2. Mount your camera on a tripod for panning. Use manual mode to ensure exposure is consistent for all images. Set your focal length and do not change it again. Use autofocus at 1/3 from the bottom of the frame and switch to manual focus to lock it
  3. Take your panoramic images, make sure each image is overlapped by 30-50%
  4. Download your images, stitch them together and apply adjustments! Check out the list of FREE photo stitching software below.

What Is Panorama?

Panoramic photography is a technique that captures the image in an elongated view. It is typically created by stitching multiple images together during post-processing with an image editing software. It can also be created by cropping a standard image taken with a wide angle lens to a relatively wide aspect ratio.

 

How To Do It With My Camera?

You can create a panorama with any digital camera. Some cameras have panorama mode which will stitch your images together automatically as you take it. In cameras without panorama mode, you take the images in the same way and stitch them together during editing. Personally, I prefer stitching the photos myself during editing because it gives me more control. Here are 4 easy steps that you can follow to create your own panorama.

1. Equipment

  • A digital camera with manual mode
  • A tripod or a steady pair of hands
  • A software that can stitch images together

2. Setup

  • Pick a view for your panorama and mount your camera on a tripod
  • Fixed you camera on the tripod so that it can move along its vertical axis only (also known as panning)
  • Select aperture priority (Av) mode and evaluative metering. Take a light reading from the view and take a note of the shutter speed. Now switch your camera to manual mode. Choose the aperture you used earlier and the shutter speed obtained from light reading. This is to ensure the exposure is the same for all images for easier editing. Otherwise, the difference in exposure may create lines in your panorama which sometimes can be tricky to correct in editing. You can also use manual mode from the start if you are comfortable doing so
  • If you are using a zoom lens, set the focal length and DO NOT change it again
  • Using auto focus, focus on about 1/3 distance from the bottom of the frame to ensure sharpness throughout your images. Once you have done that, switch your lens to manual focus so that your lens doesn’t re-focus each time you take a new image. If you change the focal length after focusing, you need to re-focus again

 

panning for panorama
Panning the camera on the vertical axis of your tripod

 

3. Taking photos

  • Begin to take images from either the left or right of your view. Pan your camera as you go along and have at least 30-50% of overlap on each image.
Panoramic images
Images for panoramic stitching
  • Continue to do so until you reach the opposite end of the view
  • Ideally, you should be taking panoramic photos using a tripod. If you don’t have one at the time, you can still do so by hand holding the camera steadily. Make sure you stand still and minimise any movement from your feet. Hold your camera still by using one hand to support the bottom of the camera. Mimic the panning motion of your camera on a tripod by a twisting movement on your waist. Make sure you pan only and do not tilt your camera up or downward. This is the same principle as panning in action or wildlife photography

4. Stitching

  • Download the images to your computer
  • Use an image editing software that can stitch images together to create a panorama such as Adobe Photoshop. Some camera manufacturers provide photo stitching software that comes with the camera in a CD, such as Canon Photostitch. If you don’t have any software, try out these FREEWARE below:

 

Tel Aviv panorama
Stitched and edited in Adobe Photoshop

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you find this tutorial useful. Do leave a comment if you have any questions, or share your panoramic image with us! 🙂