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How to Take Panoramic Photos

Updated on April 22, 2015

Panoramic Photography Is For Everyone

Panoramic Photography is one of my many hobbies. Each time I take out my camera and start taking pictures I find myself doing at least 1 panorama of something. I like to experiment with different angles but generally just snap away. The fun part for me is when I get my pictures on my computer and open them in my panorama stiching software to make the final prints.

Sometimes I'll find an accidental pair of photos I will stitch together. Sometimes it works good and sometimes not.

So here I will show you some of my panoramic photos, some good some not so good, but I'll show them anyway.

Anyone can get into panoramic photography. You don't need a special camera, any digital camera will do. You will need some stitching software to assemble your photos into 1 amazing photo, but freeware programs are available and sometimes the software that comes with your camera will include a stitching program in it.

Enjoy.

All photos were taken by me.

How to Take Panoramic Photos

Taking Panoramic photos is easy once you know how. Some cameras have a panoramic setting, some don't.

If you don't have a panoramic setting, what you want to do is take a series of overlapping photos, moving the camera enough so you have about a 25% overlap. So what I do is look at my screen and see where my picture ends and make a mental note of that and then keep a part of that in my viewfinder or screen for the next shot. Try not to move up and down to much. The more movements will result in a thinner photo when you are done stitching the photos together and cropping off the jagged edges. This method works best from a tripod for that reason. Well all methods will benefit from a tripod.

If you camera has a Panoramic setting, things are a bit easier. When you put in into panoramic mode, you will see an arrow on the screen. This is the direction you will take your sequence of photos. If you want to change direction use the arrow keys button to the direction you want to go. Left or right, or up and down. Now that you have your direction, take your first photo. The camera will leave that image on the screen and when you point it for the next shot you will see where to line up that shot right on the screen allowing for much better control. The camera will also number these in a subset so you can easily find them, and sometimes they go into a separate folder, it depends on the camera.

Now that you have your shots its time to stitch them together with the stictching software that came with the camera, usually Arcsoft Panorama will be bundled with your camera or some others too.

Its pretty self explanatory inside the software, add the shots, make sure they are in the right order, then hit the stitch button and watch the magic. If you're not happy with the alignment you'll be given achance to specify which points on the photo are supposed to be matched.
Then just hit the stitch button or preview button if available. And that's it, you've taken a panoramic photo.

Be sure to check out my photos below to see how the different ways you position yourself will affect the final product.

Software to stitch your photos together.

To make any panoramic photos you will need some kind of software to do it.

There are many different companies making the software and thens theres different versions.

Sometime the software that came with your camera is good enough to do the job.

Arcsoft Panorama Maker

ArcSoft Panorama Maker 6 [Download]
ArcSoft Panorama Maker 6 [Download]

This is one of the programs that I use to make my panoramic photos. It comes bundled with many cameras and be sure to check to see if yours came with it already.

 

How to Take Panoramic Photos With The IPhone 5S

Vertical Panorama of a Savannah Church

This is an example of a vertical panorama. This was about 3 or 4 photos stitched together.

This could have come out better maybe if I moved farther away.

Cameras For Taking Panoramic Photos

Almost any camera can be used to take panoramic photos. The cameras on this page have been selected because they offer wide angle lenses and some form of image stabilization to help with steadying your photos.

I myself prefer Canon Cameras as they have the panoramic settings and take great pictures.

Panoramic Anomolies - Savannah Cargo Ship

Can you see what's wrong with this photo?

This is what happens when your subject is moving.

The name on the ship should only be on there once.

Since the ship was moving I got this anomoly when I stitched the photos together to make my panorama.

The software did a nice job though I must say.

Source Pics For Panoramic Anomoly Above - Photo 1

These are the 2 pictures used to make the photo above.

I actually used my cellphone to take these from the top of the Hampton Inn in Savannah.

So this was an accidental panoramic photo that I stuck together experimenting with photos I had taken.

Panoramic Anomoly Source Photos - Photo 2

James Madison Family Cemetery Panoramic Photo - Another Panoramic Anomoly

This is a good example of how not to take a panoramic photo.

Notice how the wall looks curved. Well it's actually a flat wall and because I stood in one position to take the photos, the wall appears curved in the final stitched photo.

A better way to take this photo would have been to walk along the wall taking sequential photos that way.

Montpelier Panoramic Photo - Another Anomoly

This photo was taken at Montpelier in Virginia.

This house was President James Madisons.

The anomoly occurred when I took the photos and stayed in one position instead of moving along the wall.

The fence on the right actually is straight.

Savannah Wall Panoramic Photo

This photo I actually took from a moving bus. It wasn't meant to be a panoramic photo, but when I got the photos home I tried to stictch them together and got good results.

Panoramic Photography Resources

These links should help you on your way to taking beautiful panoramic photos.

Monticello Panoramic Photo

Monticello Panoramic Photo
Monticello Panoramic Photo

Monticello is a great place to visit but it was impossible to get it all in one photo so I did this panoramic photo of it. I stood way off to the side of it and took about 6 or 7 pictures to get it all in. I managed to get both side porches in the photo.

Find a good deal on a Canon S5 IS Camera on eBay

Since this camera has been out a few years now, it's easy to find one on auction or even at a Buy it Now listing for a great price.

Remember to ask the seller if the software is included. Its not a dealbreaker if they don't have it, but its nice to know you have it.

Skyline Drive Panoramic Photos

This was taken at one of the many overlooks on Skyline Drive in Virginia. What a nice day.

Shenandoah Valley

Tripods Can Help Your Panoramic Photos Come Out Better

Although not absolutely necessary, a tripod can help to take a much better panoramic photo, especially if you don't have a steady hand.

Are you into Panoramic Photography? - Do you take panoramic photos?

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    • GusTheRedneck profile image

      Gustave Kilthau 2 years ago from USA

      Hello Stevko -

      Enjoyed your piece here on panoramic photos.

      Gus :-)))

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      This is a great idea. I never thought of stitching together panoramic shots digitally. So, now I'll have to try it just to see if I can do it. And I'll have to start thinking "possible panorama?" when I'm shooting.

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 3 years ago

      @Heidi Vincent: Glad you liked it. You can make some amazing photos with the technique.

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 3 years ago from GRENADA

      Very interesting lens! I learned some new things about taking panoramic photos.

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      I'm still trying. You got cool pics. Very interesting lens.

    • profile image

      thebookhill 3 years ago

      Yes, I have tried to. Very interesting lens and useful. Great lens!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      I keep wanting to try it and forgetting it's on my phone! Definitely want to. This was very interesting. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Ben Reed profile image

      Ben Reed 4 years ago from Redcar

      These are great - never tried panoramic shots until now.

    • Coffee-Break profile image

      Dorian Bodnariuc 4 years ago from Ottawa, Ontario Canada

      Nice pictures, I always wondered how to make a panoramic shot.

    • profile image

      BPennywise 4 years ago

      Enjoyed your lens:) Very cool shots!

    • profile image

      lionmom100 4 years ago

      No. But this looks cool.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Yes! I do :)

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 4 years ago

      @freakyhorizon: Thanks :)

    • Carpenter76 profile image

      Carpenter76 4 years ago

      My camera can do this, but I never tried! Will have to try it!

    • profile image

      freakyhorizon 4 years ago

      So cool!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very, but really very great lens!

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 4 years ago

      @RinchenChodron: The main one is Hugin, check it oout at http://hugin.sourceforge.net/

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      I've never tried it. I thought you bought a special camera to do that. Freeware? Do you know the names of any?

    • Splodgered profile image

      Splodgered 4 years ago

      This is something i have got to try. I actually rather like the idea of bending walls and fences. Great photo's

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 4 years ago

      Sometimes I do. Great lens and photos!

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 4 years ago

      @PinkstonePictures: thx for the info, I'm sure someone can use it.

    • PinkstonePictures profile image

      PinkstonePictures 4 years ago from Miami Beach, FL

      Great article and I love taking Panoramic photographs. Thought your readers may be interested in a cheap option to give panorama photography a try on the fly. If you have an iPhone (it's a universal app so you can use it on your iPad too) give the 360 Panorama app a whirl (I think it's free at the moment). I've managed to get some great results and it's fun too.

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 4 years ago

      @malenk lm: Its very easy to do. Just make sure to overlap your shots to get the best results.

    • malenk lm profile image

      malenk lm 4 years ago

      I want to try it this weekend since were going hiking, hope to get a good panoramic view of the city.

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 4 years ago

      I haven't done any panoramic photos. Good idea.

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 4 years ago

      @atomicgirl24: Yea Serif always made good products.

    • profile image

      atomicgirl24 4 years ago

      Thumbed up for the Serif Panorama Plus X4 recommendation-- I love Serif's products!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 4 years ago

      I do love panoramic photography - such majestic vistas available.