Panorama photography is enjoying a huge increase in popularity mostly because it’s now so crazy easy to make DIGITAL panoramic photographs. Panorama or panoramic photography, or just “panos” have come a long way and now it’s easier than ever to make these super-charged images with your digital camera and a few basic tools.
This section of the website will guide you through the process of learning first, the PANORAMA BASICS, then the more advanced techniques of panorama photography.
As your skills and confidence grow, you will soon be making outstanding panorama photos of all kinds. There’s even a lucrative market in a special type of pano used by real estate agents, travel agents and booking companies, and other businesses where SEEING IS BELIEVING. If you find a passion for panos, you can make a nice little income from providing specialized panoramic photo services to businesses in your community!
So let’s get started, shall we?
Panorama photos are photos created by stitching many images together to make one gigantic scene.Typically, your goal is to create a photo that covers a larger area of view than is possible with one shot from any kind of lens.
Panoramas can show an entire landscape, or they can show a very detailed image of a large object – such as a building or artwork. They can be horizontally oriented, such as a panoramic of a landscape; or vertically oriented – perhaps a shot of Niagara Falls – from top to bottom!
To make it even more confusing, panoramas can be projected or displayed in a variety of ways, and we will also learn all about projections here too.
This page covers the first things you’ll need to do to prepare for shooting panorama photos. Be sure to read through all this page before you try to shoot anything. Really! You’ll get way better results and be less frustrated if you do.
Panorama equipment and hardware consists of all the camera gear you’ll need for digital panorama photography
At the very least, you’ll need a wide angle lens. The wider your lens the fewer images you’ll need to shoot. And the fewer the images, the easier it will be to stitch your pano. (For far-off scenic, and hand-held panoramas I have used my 18-70 D70 kit lens on the 18mm setting and it works really well!)
The next item you will need (90% of the time) is a sturdy tripod. Again, if you are shooting scenics from on top of a mountain, you can shoot handheld panoramics fairly accurately – see the handheld panoramics tutorial section for all the details. But if you are shooting indoors, or in close quarters, a tripod and even a special panorama head like the Nodal Ninja pano head are a must!
[check_list] wide angle lens
panorama head for interiors, closer work, if you’re shooting shooting far away landscapes you can get away with a regular tripod, or hand help rotations.
is the stuff you’ll need on your computer to stitch your images together. Depending on what type of pano you’ll be making, you may need more than one piece of software.
You know how much I love free stuff, and there are some good free panorama tools that will help you in the stitching and post processing stages of panorama creation.
However there are some that you will have to pay for if you want the best results. I have been searching for the perfect panorama setup for over 4 years and it’s only because I have now found it that I can even think about writing these pages to pass along all I have discovered.
Here is the minimal list:
Panorama Stitching software
Photoshop. Basic – It can’t do some of the more advanced techniques
Hugin. Free Open source Image Stitcher. Not quite intuitive and not for the technically challenged!
PTGui. Works well with RAW (NEF) and the Nikon 10.5 mm fisheye lens, and can automatically set control points really accurately for this lens.
Photomatix, not really an image stitching program but if you want to make HDR panoramics I really like the way the images made with this software look. Then you can stitch the HDR images in PTGui. (see more about Photomatix on my HDR Page for amazing HDR photography.)
Projection Software (for warping and/or displaying various projections of your panorama)
For the specifics see – How to Shoot Panoramics