How to Take Panoramic Photos

  • Determine the location
  • Pick the appropriate lenses
  • Take multiple photos
  • Stitch the photos together

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

July 10, 2019

How to Stitch Photos Together

Regardless of whether you are a beginning or professional photographer, there may come a time when you need to take panoramic photos. We are living in a world where photographers of all shapes and sizes need to find a way to differentiate themselves. While there isn’t a magic formula that can help you gain more attention on online platforms like Instagram, you may attract a new group of fans if you can effectively stitch pictures together.

By understanding how to take panoramic photos, you can add an extremely effective tool to your photo toolkit. Therefore, it is absolutely worth your time to truly understand what it takes to make great panoramic photos. Putting in the work and truly recognizing some of the nuances of how to stitch photos together can make the difference between a good panoramic photo and a great panoramic photo.

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How to Take Panoramic Photos

Before you actually take your panoramic photo, you must first determine the location of your photo shoot. Quite obviously, panoramic photos are best when you are capturing a landscape. For instance, you may be at the beach and want to capture a beautiful sunset. You may be in the middle of one of the most beautiful parts of your city and want to capture a crisp summer night. Or you may be in an open field and want to capture a galaxy that you see in the sky. Whatever the case may be, giving some deliberate thought to what you will actually be capturing will help you in the long run.

From thinking about what you will actually capture in your frame, you should next consider how you are going to capture your panoramic photos. You have several options here. To start, you can simply use your mobile device. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, your phone likely contains some settings that allow you to easily shoot panoramic photos.

This is all fine and good. But having said this, you may want to consider another option. Instead of simply relying on the default settings of your phone, you may want to use a separate, professional camera with defined lenses for panorama photos. The camera itself is less important than the lens that you use. While a wide-angle lens is extremely popular for landscape photography, it isn’t as helpful for shooting panoramic photos.

Why you may ask?

Wind-angle lenses, quite obviously, can capture a landscape in a single shot. While this is useful for basic landscape photos, it is much less useful for panoramic photos due to lens distortion. Ultimately, the smaller field of view that is offered with a long telephoto lens isn’t going to help when you try to capture panoramic photos. Instead, you will want to use a standard lens. With a standard lens, there is minimal lens distortion, which lets you shoot more realistic panoramic photos. Specifically, choosing a lens between 35 millimeters and 80 millimeters should do the trick, but feel free to experiment as necessary.

Next, you will need to actually shoot your panoramic photos. There are some important things to keep in mind when you are searching for the perfect shot.

First, you should begin by focusing on a few technical settings. Set your focal distance to the point in your landscape that you would like to focus on. For each of the photos that you take for your panoramic photo, you need to keep the focus the same so that you can stitch your photos together. Related to this, you will achieve the best results if you use a tripod. A tripod can not only keep your camera steady, but it can ensure that some photos in your group are not congruent with the others.

Along with setting your focus, make sure that you are shooting in RAW rather than JPEG format. By selecting RAW, you will not experience any image compression, sharpening, or any other adjustments to your image. While it may not seem like a big deal as you are shooting, it can make a difference in the editing process.

At this point, take note of the settings you are using. You will, in all likelihood, want to use manual settings on your camera instead of automatic settings. Switching to manual helps you ensure that you are using the same exposure, aperture size, shutter speed, ISO, and other settings for all of your photos. Without doing this, you are running the risk of shooting some inconsistent photos which cannot be stitched together.

With all of this preparatory work completed, you now want to take a test shot. When doing this, you not only need to ensure that your test shot passes the “eye test”, but that it meets some basic checks. For instance, it should have enough sharpness in the foreground and background and should not contain blown highlights.

Once you are satisfied with the test shot, you are on to the most exciting part of the process: shooting your panorama photo. Once again, ensure that your camera is level and steady. Take multiple photos and make sure that your photos overlap by at least 30 percent. More photos and more overlap is often better than less photos and less overlap. Giving yourself some generous overlap between photos increases the odds that you can shoot a stunning, beautiful panoramic photo.

There is one more process after the shoot is complete. You need to pull out your computer and stitch your photos together. The basic photo editing program or app contains settings that easily allow you to do this. If you are simply looking for a “good enough” panoramic photo, these settings are often fine.

However, before doing so, keep several things in mind. For instance, edit individual photos before merging them together. If you ignore this step, you will undoubtedly see inconsistencies in your final product. After your photos are merged together (but before exporting your final product), you can make additional edits as you see fit.

Ultimately, how much time you spend in the editing process is up to you. Keep in mind, however, that editing can only take you so far. It is worth spending more time to capture high-quality photos outside than working to clean up subpar photos on your computer.

The Beauty of Stitch Pictures

Stitched photos, done right, can be stunning. They offer viewers a unique look at a landscape that they may see every day. While iPhone and Android devices make it slightly easier to create panorama photos, it is still in your best interests to learn the basics. By following the steps above, you will be in a much better position when taking one, two, or many panoramic photos.

As we stated, editing is just one part of this process. However, if you want to leverage a powerful photo editor to make your panoramic photos look stunning, we recommend that you check out Movavi Photo Editor. Photo Editor is easy-to-use software for Mac and PC that can help you clean up and edit your favorite photos—including panoramic photos. To learn more about Photo Editor or to get started for free, please click here.

Movavi Photo Editor

The easiest way to turn any snapshot into an eye candy

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