Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Shooting strategies for panoramic photos, part of Lightroom: Creating Panoramas.
- Before we jump into post-production, let's briefly talk about production. It's important that you shoot your panoramic photos correctly if you want to get good merges inside of Lightroom. Now by no means is this a full production class. I've already recorded that for Lynda.com, and you can check out our detailed course all about shooting panoramic photography. Join me and we'll explore red rock in Las Vegas, and you'll see a lot of shooting strategies. But for now, let's cover some of the essentials. I like to always have a beefy tripod, something really solid to shoot off of.
One of the things I like is to use a heavy duty tripod like this. Really solid legs, and as I start to open this here, while it's carbon fiber and it's a good balance of size to weight, turning these is really rock solid. What you don't wanna have happen is be in the middle of a panoramic shot and have your tripod start to lean or tilt. So I really like having these locks that really precisely let me be sure that the tripod's not gonna slip. There we go.
Pull that out. And let's get the last one. Alright. Drop that down. And let's talk a little bit about overlap. First up, one of the things that's gonna be important is that your images overlap when you're shooting. This means that at least 25%, if not 50% of one image appears in the next image. For example, as you look at these photos here, you'll notice that along each edge photo details repeat from one shot to the next.
This give Lightroom enough information to begin the overlap process. Well that overlap all comes from turning the camera a few degrees. So let's just level out the tripod here. I've got a bubble level right here on the top, which makes it easy, and I'll get that so it's a level platform, and then tighten it down. Now we can loosen this up a little bit, and you see it spins. And I notice as I turn that around that the bubble level stays even throughout the rotation.
There we go. Let's spin that. Yep. Still good. So because we've created a flat level platform, it's gonna be easy to avoid a lot of curvature. If you don't keep the tripod level, and you begin to create a merge inside of Lightroom, you might notice a bit of a serrated or scalloped edge. This is a telltale sign that your tripod wasn't level when shooting. Maybe it was rough, uneven terrain, or maybe you were rushing or just didn't pay attention to the bubble level.
But taking the time to get it right is useful, and I'm glad that my head here has this built in. If not, you can get this attached to your camera, or perhaps use the virtual horizon feature inside of your viewfinder. Alright, I'm gonna mount this in a vertical aspect ratio, and click that in. What's great here now is that the camera smoothly rotates, and the camera remains in a portrait aspect ratio. And on this particular tripod you'll note that there are degree marks here on the bottom.
This'll make it very easy as I turn to keep turning, perhaps 15 or 20 degrees with the turn. And each rotation allows me to be very precise as that moves through. The more you can make that overlap consistent, the better results you're going to get. No this precise turn makes it easy to get that consistent overlap. Now I turn the hood around to avoid any flares. And obviously, when shooting, remove the lens cap.
But there is another nice feature. Many cameras support bracketing. That's the ability for the camera to run through a series of shots. In today's lesson we're gonna use three shot brackets, five shots and even seven shots. And with each of those shots being anywhere from two stops in dynamic range apart, this allows you to cover a huge amount of information in the scene. You see, when shooting panoramic photos you'll often have dark shadows and bright highlights, and as that camera pans and you start to encompass more information, it's very easy to have a lot of change within the scene.
Shooting with HDR really comes in handy. And in fact, we've got some HDR courses here on Lynda.com, too, so be sure to check those out to get you some of the fundamentals of HDR shooting. But in any case, a good solid tripod with a level camera shooting brackets will give Lightroom exactly what it needs to create some panoramic photos. Alright, let's talk about a couple of other pieces of equipment that might be useful.
- Shooting strategies for panoramas
- Organizing photos in Lightroom
- Starting Panoramic Photomerge
- Merging raw files
- Changing your projection method
- Automating the panorama process
- Combining Lightroom and Photoshop
- Creating an HDR panorama