With the popularity of stitching software and hence great improvements to Photoshop and Elements in recent years, its now easier to stitch separate images together to create dramatic panoramic photos. The hard part, is shooting these with the purpose of stitching later. Unlike single frame photographs, shooting a series of 3, 4 or even 5 images and making them exact in exposure and composition is another challenge.
Basic Necessities for Shooting in the Field
When you’re in the field, shooting panoramas takes a little practice, a little patience, and a little bit of technique. Here are a few necessities that I recommend:
- Have a good tripod. I stress throughout my writings that a good tripod is a necessity. The tripod and head will allow for smooth and accurate panning that will be needed when shooting panoramas, and ensure that you’re getting crisp images.
- Use a level. If you’re tripod head doesn’t come with a level, I recommend one of those nifty levels that you can get for under $50 U.S. that will fit right in your camera’s flash head.
Shooting panorama’s should be included your everyday photographic “toolbox”. When you’re out in the field, pre-visualize any scene, and make decisions on how you want to compose those scenes. Some scenes are more appropriate to be shot in portrait mode, while others are more appropriate for landscape mode.
Additionally, some scenes may be good candidates for panoramic mode as well. Three or four overlapping images that compose a wide angle from left to right, a composition that you just can’t take with one frame.