If you’re an avid traveler, the time will eventually come for you to take a panorama shot – an ultrawide image that does justice to everything going on around you. You might be in the middle of a major city, like New York, and want to capture the skyline of Manhattan. Or you could be in the desert at dusk, overlooking a spectacular landscape that virtually surrounds you. In many cases, panorama shots are sometimes the best option for capturing the essence of the experience.
But how do you take a panorama well? That’s what you’re about to find out in this post.
Tip #1: Set Up Your Tripod
Tripods aren’t essential for panoramic shots. And, sometimes, they’re not practical either. But if you can use one, you should. That’s because a tripod will allow you to carefully pan the camera around and capture the horizon at a consistent angle. Using your hands is okay if you have advanced software to correct the image for you. But it’s never quite as good.
Tip #2: Take A Test Shot
If you’re in manual mode, then you’ll want to take a test shot first to see how the image will ultimately come out. Make sure that you have the correct exposure settings and that you switch the device to prioritize the aperture.
If you’re taking photos at night, you’ll also need to consider the exposure length relative to the device you’re using. Long exposure on iPhone cameras generally produces different results from long exposures on DSLRs.
After taking the test shot, check that it has sufficient sharpness. If there are blown highlights, you might need to change the shutter speed to compensate.
Tip #3: Set The Focal Distance
Digital cameras can take great panoramas. And in many circumstances, a regular phone will suffice. However, if you’re using a more sophisticated piece of equipment, such as a DSLR, you’ll want to set the focal distance. The reason for this is that changing the distance during the photo will make nearer and further objects appear blurred.
A good rule of thumb is to set the focal distance to around a third of the distance to the furthest element in the picture – usually the horizon.
Tip #4: Get Your White Balance Right
White balance is a feature some cameras have that warms or cools the real colors that come out in the final print.
When it comes to white balance, there is no right and wrong. The level of whiteness you choose is primarily up to you. Some cameras offer pre-configured white balance settings, allowing you to choose a level appropriate for the scene.
Tip #5: Strike While The Iron Is Hot
Opportunities for fabulous panoramic photos don’t come along often. So if you’re on vacation, strike while the iron is hot. You can’t force a great panorama. They either happen or they don’t. Only you know if the time is right. Mountains and lakes are great opportunities. But so too are cities with natural vantage points.