If you’re as old as I you will remember the visits of the school photographer with his huge camera. We, the children would stand in neat lines and he, the photographer would vanish under his dark cloth. He would spin his camera around to capture the full line of smiling childrens faces.
Theses photos were taken every year. I remember one lad was caught running around the back of the group in order to have his photo taken at both ends of the group. I wonder if that lad was me.
Although there are some great panorama cameras on the market the price puts them out of the reach of most of us. But don’t worry –Photoshop has a great tool for creating panoramas from your digital shots. The actual tool is dead easy to use. What is difficult is the actual photography getting the exposures of the original photos right. When I first started taking panoramas every one of my shots had a different contrast, and wouldn’t stitch up properly in Photoshop.
The first thing to do is to over ride your camera’s auto white balance. Set it to a manual preset such as cloudy or sunny. The odds are that you are not carrying a manual light meter with you so let’s improvise. Take a shot of the most important part of the scene, check it out in the cameras LCD panel to see that you are happy with it, and note exposure settings used.
The next step is to switch your camera to full manual mode and set up the same zoom, speed, aperture and ISO settings that you recorded from your test run. Once set do not change until you complete the panoramic sequence. If you have a tripod that’s wonderful, use it. But if your like the rest of us you probably left it at home with your light meter. It is possible (more difficult) to sequence without a tripod. I like to work from left to right. Take your first shot and turn slightly to take your second shot and then the third until you have completed the scene. Overlap each shot by about a third of the frame. This gives Photoshop more edge to play with and match up. As you turn try not to move from the waist. Move your body around trying to keep the lens stationary. Come on – nobody said it was easy, but if you persevere you should eventually “crack it” and have the sequences.
Tags: panorama, panorama photography, panoramic photography, .Photoshop