cockroach cove pano-2-2Cockroach Cove, East Oahu, Hawaii.
- First things first, for successful and powerful panoramas, use a tripod. Tripods are not only crucial for getting your panoramas to line up perfectly, they will help you to slow down and compose the perfect scene before clicking away.
- Choose a prime lens like the 50mm or 85mm. The 35mm can also be successful but do not go any wider as you will create distortion and it will be impossible to line up your panorama.
- A Panoramic Tripod Head is designed to place your camera so that it rotates in the exact point that will avoid any parallax error.
- While in most cases I would recommend a polarizing filter for nearly any landscape, when rotating your camera for your panorama it can cause the polarizer to have different effects from image to image and usually causes dark spots in skies or difficulties in sticking images.
- Shoot in RAW to capture more information and allow you to edit as needed. However if you are creating a longer panorama and want to reduce the file size you can shoot in a Small Raw instead of JPEG.
- For landscape photographs you generally want to focus 1/3 into the scene, or 1/3 from the bottom of your frame.
- Shoot with a smaller aperture (larger number) to make sure you maintain the same depth of field in each image.
- You will need both your camera and tripod to be completely level. Use a spirit or bubble level in addition to the tripods level.
- Make sure to capture overlaps of about 30% so you can stitch them together either with a program or by hand in Photoshop.
- After finding focus in autofocus, switch to manual focus.
- When composing your foreground, consider parallax errors be careful not to have some of the subjects too close to the camera.
- Some subjects make for very difficult panoramas, like waves, fast moving clouds and moving subjects in general. If you are attempting these subjects you may need to over shoot and composite them manually in Photoshop.
Here is an example of a panorama shot with a lens that was 2 wide, and too close to the foreground with intricate lines.
- Start off by shooting some nice vertical images of your scene that are good images on their own. This way if your panorama doesn’t line up or process well you still have some nice shots. While you’re on a tripod might as well toss on a Neutral Density Filter and make it a long exposure!
- Often in panoramas and larger scenes there are areas of high contrast. In these cases you should meter and expose for your highlights and develop for shadows by lightening them up in post production. You can also try shooting an HDR panorama!
- In Lightroom make sure to check the Lens corrections for wide angle lenses and vignettes. Use the auto crop and boundary warp slider as well.
- Try creative panoramas; if you have the opportunity to have your camera out all day, shoot several panoramas in the same spot throughout the day and then manually stitch them in Photoshop for a day to night panorama. Try shooting longer exposures or star trails as panoramas and see what kind of crazy results you get!