Shooting modes

Panorama mode

Written by Gail Bjork

Panorama mode allows you to create a single, wide vista photo by “stitching” a series of single shots taken with a digital camera.

Many digital cameras with a panorama assist mode that let you take multiple shots of wide scenes and join them together to make one large image. The process is known as “stitching.”

Special software combines the images together into a single, super wide photo. The stitching software needed to combine the photos is typically included on the CD that comes with the camera that has a stitch assist mode.

pano-stitch

When a camera is set to panorama mode, the photographer selects how shots will be stitched: right to left, top to bottom, etc. After taking the first shot, the camera is panned in the selected direction. About a third of the shot will appear as a semi-transparent image on the LCD. For each subsequent shot, you superimpose the image to match the next part of the scene.

Exposure and white balance are locked after you take the first photo so the same settings are used for each subsequent shot in the series. Whenever possible, use a tripod when taking panorama photos as it is easier to overlap each photo.

pano-crop

Using panorama stitch assist software is pretty straightforward and only takes a few steps. It will automatically merge the images into one and auto crop the final image as well.

pano-final-small

Taking panorama photos manually

To ensure a properly exposed and focused final image, lock focus and exposure before you begin so it will remain constant as you shoot. Start your series of photos by taking the first one either from the far right or left (or top or bottom) of the scene.

Next, move the camera about 30 to 40% in the other direction, then take another photo. Repeat these steps until you capture the entire scene.

If your digital camera has a panorama mode, check the manual for specific instructions.

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.