Panoramas: Composing widescreen images

Panoramas: Composing widescreen images

The vastness of Grand Canyon, the futuristic skyline of Shanghai or the glowing Ayers Rock: with serial pictures, oversize motifs can be combined to create impressive panoramas.

Who hasn’t seen it before: the wide-angle lens already makes the most of its full potential and yet the subject simply doesn’t fit into the picture. The result is, for example, a trimmed skyline or a mountain massif that lacks the last foothills.

Multiple single shots instead of ultra wide angles

For photographers this is a very unsatisfactory moment, which you can’t control with equipment alone. The solution: Panorama pictures. This means many individual shots of partial motif areas, which can then be subsequently combined to form a complete picture with the help of software.

Camera technology: Setting focus correctly

When taking panoramas, some aspects have to be considered. The most important thing is to set only one focus point. You can do this by focusing manually. Or by switching off the autofocus after the first focusing of the optical center.

Serial pictures: Pay attention to overlapping at the edges

In good lighting conditions, panoramic shots can also be taken easily from the hand. It is important to rotate around an axis as evenly as possible when taking pictures. The individual series shots should overlap at the edges. This is a good way to assemble them later.

For more details: Shoot landscape motifs in portrait format

In order to capture as many details as possible, it is advisable to take serial pictures in portrait format, also for landscape motifs. A few more serial shots are needed. Therefore, one can use longer focal lengths and has more image information in the vertical.

Panorama software: Assembling serial images

After shooting, programs support to combine series of images to a panorama. For example, you can do this in Lightroom using the “Merge photos” function or in Photoshop using “Automate/Photomerge”. An alternative to the premium software of Adobe is the free program Microsoft ICE. However, it’s quality does not come close to the result of Adobe products.

Largely automatic image compensation

The panorama is ready in just a few clicks. All you have to do is load the images into the program. The program automatically assembles and compensates the individual images as far as possible. However, the choice of the correct projection mode is decisive here. A subsequent distortion correction in editing programs like Photoshop is not recommended.

Fine tuning: The right projection mode

Many programs offer an interactive preview so that you can directly see the effects of the projection mode. Linear or cylindrical projection is often suitable for landscape subjects. A linear projection is usually the right choice for images with buildings, façade edges, streets, power lines, etc.

Motif trimming and image export

Once the panorama has been assembled, the cropping tool helps to remove protruding and empty image areas. Once the cropping is set, the image can be edited and exported to various formats such as JPEG, TIFF, BMP, PNG and others.

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