PANORAMIC PHOTOGRAPHY TUTORIALS – HOW TO PLAN YOUR PANOS
Planning panorama photos and considering your final image composition is amost more important for panoramic photography as it is for normal photographs. Because you aren’t looking at the final scene on a flat surface, it’s often difficult to know how your pano will actually appear once you’re done.
2) How to correctly shoot a panorama
3) Hand-held panorama shooting techniques
5) How to stitch your images into a panorama
8) Tools, tips, and hardware for panorama photography
9) Panorama photography software and pano stitchers
I’ve often had surprises (both bad and good) when stitching panoramics together and see what it all looks like. Sometimes I haven’t lined up properly so the centre part of the stitched image is off centre and looks unbalanced. Other times my tripod was not level and this too causes me great grief as it can spoil an otherwise awesome panoramic image.
These technical issues are just one part of my panorama planning process. The other is trying to envision a flat composition in 360 degrees, when I can’t SEE it all at the same time.
My panoramic photography planning process includes scruitinizing the entire scene, whether indoors or out, and assessing exposure, all around the view. Determining where the sun is for outdoor shots, and determining what the difference in exposure values is from shot to shot. Checking for shadows – they are difficult to deal with all around!
Then I also look for points of interest and elevations – things coming up from the ground and extending into the sky. If I will be making a tiny planet panorama, these elevations are what makes the final panoramic image really powerful. The long lines keep the viewers’ eye in motion, keeping them enchanted.
Here’s how the Rule of Thirds translates for panoramic compositions and planning:
Visualize the scene around you and imagine that you are in the centre of the green spot. The green is ground, foreground and floor. The brown is the elevation zone, in which you should have objects that extend onto the sky (blue). These may be trees, mountains, buildings, poles, generally they will have a vertical quality. The blue area is the sky and for interest, it’s best to have some clouds, as a pure blue sky is unimaginative and hard to blend in the stitching software – from the dark side to the sunny side.
On a flat plane this is what your plan should look like:
Notice that the spatial zones each take up 1/3 of your panorama image. Some of the vertical elements can extend behond the 1/3 area but if there are too many, or if there is not enough sky, the tiny planet won’t look like it’s floating in space. If there are too few elevations, your final panoramic planet image will look….guess?…yep, flat. Flat is not exciting or invigorating – height, terrain, texture are all great panoramic photo elements.
These are good rules of thumb even if you are only making a normal panorama photo – the rule of thirds is pretty universal. Break it only if you know what you are doing!