How-To Geek

Take Better Panoramic Photos with Any Camera

Panoramic photos, at first glance, might seem to be exclusively in the realm of professional photographers. Armed with some tips and tricks, however, anybody can take stunning panoramic photos with little more than a point and shoot camera.

Digital Photography School outlines 8 steps to taking the best possible panoramic photos. Among the tips, you need ample overlay:

Overlapping is one of the important areas in creating a panoramic image.  Just one slip with not enough overlap can ruin an attempt at the grandest of wide angle shots.  No one wants to see pictures of the Grand Canyon with a bar of white down the middle because of the failure to overlap properly.  I overlap by 30% each time.  Sometimes more.  Most people say 15% works just fine.  Experiment with your particular camera to find the sweet spot of overlap.  Increasing the amount of overlap helps reduce “flaring” that happens when the software is forced to use all of the image frame, including the corners which may show distortion depending on your lens selection.

Digital cameras afford us the opportunity to snap nearly limitless photos so we’d suggest erroring on the side of caution and overlapping as much as 40-50%. Hit up the link below for the rest of the panoramic tips and tricks.

8 Guidelines To Taking Panoramic Photos with Any Camera [Digital Photography School]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/12/11

Comments (5)

  1. Hatryst

    Very informative for beginners…

  2. Chronno S. Trigger

    It’s useful even for people who have done it for years as well.
    It’s one I did in the beginning of fall overlooking Pittsburgh.

  3. Dave

    One trick I was told with panarmas was to take the centre image, then make a note of the ISO, f/stop, etc and then put the camera into full manual and set it to the settings of the centre image.

    Then when you take the others, they will all have the same exposure etc


  4. wevenhuis

    I’ve have 3 years experience with panorama photography using a compact camera (sony DSC W17). A steady had, exposure and overlapping are indeed very important aspects of getting stitching right.

    I starts with a landscape that strikes to you as panoramic worthy. My main arguement is that is would be an image possibly worthy to actually want to print on a canvass covering a whole living room wall.

    After that I scan the landscape, looking for a serene circumstance with little disturbance of changing scenes and lighting in a 5-10 minute timeframe. The saves on the laborious task of constant tweaking of the exposure and lighting settings on your camera.

    Next, I make a mind map of the area I wish to photograph, dividing the landscape into 3 or 4 rows or columns depending if the final image will be a vertical or horizontal image.

    In each row I take 5-10 pictures with at least roughly 30 percent overlap. In my experience this is the least amount you need to hardly see a stitching effect. The more overlap, the more detailed the picture will be with less artefacts. Also more overlap will cause less arcing of the image, which will need less “stretching and smoothing” editing. When done I load the stack of 15-30 images to microsoft Image Composer Editor (free). Save it as a stiched jpg file and presto done. I have used microsoft ICE for 3 years now and am quite satisfied with the results.

  5. Joe

    @Dave Center frame 1st is on my list. Then, just skip this frame when loading your composite app.
    Set camera to largest/finest file mode. You never know how large a repro you’ll eventually want to produce.
    Elevate your POV. Notice that many of the best pano examples are of overlooks, etc. If possible, use a stool or public bench.

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