Shooting Panoramas

There are just a few things to keep in mind when shooting panoramas and I've summarized them here. You may want to read the equipment and software sections before actually attempting your shot.

 

Overview

Panoramas are created from a series of overlapping images which cover an entire scene, these images are "stitched" together into a geometrically encoded intermediate image, most commonly an equirectangular projection of the complete scene. A number of derivative images can be created from this intermediate image by applying geometric transformations upon it.

  1. Collect your equipment.
    • Camera capable of manual exposure and manual focus, with a wide angle lens; I use a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 10.5mm lens.
    • Sturdy tripod
    • Panoramic tripod head calibrated to the nodal point of your camera/lens combination; I use a Nodal Ninja 3.
    • Cable release or remote trigger; I use a Nikon RF remote trigger.
  2. Locate your tripod so that the scene "works" in all directions; I position the camera about 1.5m above the ground for most shots. Many panographers prefer a higher vantage point, sometimes 3m or more.
  3. Using manual exposure and manual focus, shoot the entire scene with overlap between shots; I shoot a scene horizontally, then one straight up, one straight down, and one handheld shot straight down where the tripod was.
  4. Stitch the images together into composite image using Photoshop, Hugin or PTgui; I like PTgui for its ability to successfully stitch sloppily positioned image series.
  5. Convert the stitched image to Flash or HTML5 for interactive viewing or virtual tours

Nikon on Nodal Ninja 3
Nikon on Nodal Ninja 3

Equipment

I use this equipment:

  • Nikon D7000 w/10.5mm lens
  • Nodal Ninja 3
  • Gitzo carbon fiber tripod
  • Benro carbon fiber tripod
  • TrekPod monopod
  • Yongnuo RF-603 remote trigger

Software

I use this software:

  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    File management and workflow
  • PTgui
    Stitching and image fusion
  • Pano2VR
    Equirectangular image manipulation and VR export
  • Adobe Photoshop
    Post production editing
    • Flexify 2 plugin
      Hyperbolic projections