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Chapter 12. Creative Techniques > Taking pictures for panoramas

Taking pictures for panoramas

If you’re getting ready to snap some scenic photos and know you want to assemble them into a panorama later, making a few camera adjustments will make it easier to assemble a seamless panorama.

  • Use a consistent zoom level when taking the pictures.

  • Use a consistent focus. If your subject matter is far away, set your camera’s focus to infinity, if that option is available.

  • Use consistent exposure. A panorama with widely varying lighting will be difficult to merge seamlessly. Set your camera’s exposure manually or lock the exposure setting if possible. Photomerge can make slight adjustments for images with different exposures, but it is not as effective when the image exposure varies greatly (Figure 12.2).

    Figure 12.2. Images with different lighting exposures can be more difficult to merge than a series of images with consistent exposures.

  • If possible, use a tripod. You can take pictures for a panorama with a handheld camera, but you might find it difficult to keep all of the images perfectly level (Figure 12.3).

    Figure 12.3. Photomerge does its best to merge images that are rotated slightly. When shooting panoramic photos, try using a tripod to ensure that all your shots have consistent angles.

  • Overlap sequential images by about 15 to 40 percent (Figure 12.4). Photomerge looks for similar detail in the edges of your images to match consecutive pictures. Try to capture as much detail throughout the frame to give Photomerge more reference points to match up. A large area of clear sky will be difficult to merge automatically, whereas an image containing unique, discernable shapes like peaked rooflines or the boats in our example make the best candidates.

    Figure 12.4. The more your images overlap, the better your chances of successfully merging them together. Try for an overlap of between 15 and 40 percent.



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