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There are two types of Panoramas. One is a wide shot and another is 360° view. Panoramas are basically a number of photos taken in sequence and stitched together using software’s. In this article, I will go over the process from camera settings to shooting.
Common mistake made is using a wide angle lens for panoramas. While you will end up taking fewer shots to complete the panorama, photos taken with wide angle lenses are badly distorted at the sides resulting in errors when stitching.
A good focal length to start with would be 35mm on a crop. Higher focal lengths like 70mm and above would require more images to complete the panorama, but the end result is high resolution panoramas.
Shoot in Portrait mode.
If you are using a tripod, level it. With a level tripod, your camera’s angle will not shift up and down as you pan.
Shoot from the left to the right of the whole scene. Overlap each image by at least 30%. The overlap is what allows the software to line up the images and stitch them. So make sure to leave plenty of overlap. Move across the scene taking as many images as necessary to fully capture the landscape. See image below.
The process for shooting 360° Panoramas is the same with one additional step. You now have to capture the scene in rows. The number of rows you need for the whole scene depends on the focal length of the lens. You need 2 rows (45° up and 45° down) for lenses between 40 to 60mm and 3 rows for longer lenses. Again always remember to leave a 30% overlap from the top and bottom rows.
After loading the images in your computer, go through each and confirm that the white balance is identical.
Next, look at the brightest and darkest images in the series. Try to balance it out by reducing the highlights on the brightest images and bringing up the shadows in the darkest images. Do this to the bare minimum. Do not overdo this. Any additional post-processing is best done once the panorama has been created.
There are many softwares that can create panoramas. PTGui and Hugin are among the popular ones. Hugin is freeware but there is a learning curve to it. PTGui is a little easier to manage. Both are free to try so you can download and play around a bit. I won’t be going over the steps on stitching as there are detailed instructions and videos on their respective websites.
If you rather leave this to the professionals, we provide Panorama Photography Services in Singapore.
Our Panoramas can be wide or 360° surround views which can be viewed online anywhere in the world. Panoramas can also be linked together to form Virtual Tours. A good way to showcase property from room to room.