At times it can seem like an epic undertaking to take a panoramic shot. There’s the positioning, the lighting, the wind, the settings on your camera, the stitching together, and more. You find yourself asking how can it be so easy with so much involved. By taking the right steps you can create beautiful panoramas without causing a massive headache or two.
First off, there are two pieces of equipment you will want to simplify the process, besides the camera. A tripod takes care of the first common source of a headache. Use your tripod to take care of all the jostling that would otherwise occur. If you want a clear crisp shot that is easy to stitch together once taken, you don’t want to rely on the steadiness of your hands and arms. After all, we’re only human. Use a tripod and get rid of half your future headache.
Your second piece of equipment also helps you from jostling your camera around too much: a shutter release. Like your tripod it enables you to take your shots without moving your camera when you go to press down the button to capture each shot. By using a shutter release you separate the movement of pressing a button from the camera. You can take the human fallibility out of the equation by adding a few key bits of equipment.
One key misconception about shooting a panoramic picture is the orientation of the camera when you actually take the shots. Most people assume that you want it horizontal so you get more scenery in each of the shots, assuming this would equate to a better panoramic picture as a whole. Truth is, you want your orientation to be vertical to minimize the edge distortion of each shot. With less edge distortion you are simplifying the process you will have to go through when stitching the pictures together and makes your panorama a more convincing realistic view.
Next, you will want to set your white balance, preferably to cloudy. Do not leave it on auto because it might automatically change and adjust its settings with each shot, creating an inconsistency between the shots. Also set your exposure. The easiest way to find the best exposure setting is to press your shutter button halfway while it is set on auto. Note what it automatically sets the shutter speed and f-stop to and program that in. Again, you want in manual so that it does not change.
Lastly, when you get around to actually taking the shots for your panorama be sure there is an overlap of at least 20% on each side. This will make it easier to stitch together when compiling your final product. In Photoshop this will make it a breeze by using the Photomerge tool.
By taking the proper steps you can shoot and put together a breathtaking panorama and let others glimpse what you saw as you were shooting.