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Tips for Good Panoramics

Before digital photography, panoramas involved the use of a guillotine and tape, but now it’s much easier with several photo-stitching software packages available; they may be bundled with your camera or be part of a photo editing package such as Photoshop Elements. The tips for good results, however, are still the same:

  1. Keep the camera level. Ideally mount it on a tripod and use one of the many hot-shoe mounted spirit levels available. Failure to do this results in ‘banana’ panoramics.
  2. Do not be tempted to use wide-angle lenses ‘to fit more in’, as the distortion makes it harder to marry up the frames. Use either a standard or telephoto lens.
  3. Keep foreground objects out of shot. Due to the difference in view between frames, the photo-stitch software will not be able to match up both distant and closer objects.
  4. Take all frames at the same exposure settings. This will avoid obvious contrast and colour changes between adjacent frames. If you don’t have a manual mode, then exposure lock can be used. If you are using film, you also need to get them printed with the same settings.
  5. Overlap the frames at least 50%. Back in the days of film, this could have seemed expensive, but with digital there is nothing lost and the photo stitching software will have a lot more to work with. Most digital cameras have a stitch assist mode where the current frame is overlaid onto the previous frame on the camera’s screen.
  6. Experiment! panoramics can be vertical too.
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