Advanced Editing

Stitching panorama photos

Written by Bernard Dery

If you avoid the common problems when shooting digital images for a panorama, stitching them together should be easy. Learn the characteristics of photos that are best suited for making a majestic image with a wide view.

If you’ve avoided the common problems when shooting photos for a panorama, stitching should be easy. There are numerous panorama programs available, many of them free, and you probably received one with your camera.

waterfallMost programs operate in the same way, but experience has shown various strengths and weaknesses to many of them. For instance, some programs are better than others at creating a more uniform image, but will have trouble generating a flat horizon. Some programs have limitations on the various patterns they can stitch besides vertical and horizontal lines. But in the end, trusting the automatic programming should deliver good results most of the time.

What to do when the result isn’t good?

A good understanding of the stitching process helps. As stated before, most programs look for recognisable features arranged in a triangle on two pictures stitched together. Sometimes the software cannot find those features, but you can almost always manually select them.

The exact way to accomplish this will vary from program to program. When doing so, try to select features that:

  • Offer good contrast with their surroundings
  • Are, as much as possible, equally distant from the place the picture was taken
  • Are in focus
  • Are as distant from each other as possible, and do not form a line

After that, a little practice to better understand the particularities of each program should be all that’s needed!

About the author

Bernard Dery

Bernard was born and still lives in Quebec City, Canada. A doctorate candidate in Physics, Bernard works full-time as an optical designer at EXFO, a world leader in telecom tests and measurements tools. His professional interests go from fiber optics to atmospheric data collection and lasers.

His first contact with photography was a Vivitar fixed lens camera that he had purchased at age eight. His interest developed slowly, and for many years Bernard limited himself to family and travel pictures.

Bernard discovered the world of digital photography in February 2004, when he purchased his first digital camera. Developing an interest for composition, he experimented with many subjects: landscapes, nature, cities and architecture.

Bernard
soon began to invest more time and energy into his new found hobby, finding new and beautiful subjects to capture everyday. His challenge is to capture the mood and emotion carried by a scene as it presents itself to him.

A trip to Italy in
September 2004 fueled his growing interest with numerous magical photography opportunities.

Bernard and his wife like to spend free time near a lake at his family's summer house, where he finds new subjects to capture every day. His interests are varied and include hiking, camping, swimming, boating and reading, as well as most winter
sports.

Bernard, known as bdery on forums, uses a Pentax K20D and W80, Canon S2 and a Nikon SQ as a backup.

Thumbnails are of photos by Bernard Dery - used with permission
Copyright Bernard Dery All rights reserved