Panoramic Photography – The wider view

Panoramic photography if I’m honest it is my secret pleasure!

Panoramic photography never used to be something I paid any attention though. I always thought that panoramic photography was far too fiddly and time consuming. Add to that that the thought of needing specialist kit like tripods and heads it was something I was pretty keen to avoid!

But, and here it is, its a lesson in not believing everything you read! You don’t need all that stuff, unless of course its your bread and butter and you can justify spending the ££’s then that’s fine. But I’m a press and PR photographer and I cant so I have to make do with what I have and my available subject matter. I increasingly find myself out on an assignment shooting a set of frames specifically thinking about a panoramic.

I mean a good panoramic is  just nice to look at, isn’t it?

Week 25 - Dunstanburgh Castle Northumberland

Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

There just something about the above image that to me is just ‘nice’ and I suppose that’s why I like Panoramic Photography. Some people will say ‘but hey, you can get that effect from a nice frame with a  wide angle lens’ and yes you can but you venture into the realms of distortion and absurdly shaped people. However a word to the wise, you can go over board with a panoramic especially if you shoot wide. Below is a great shot which would have been better shooting a little less wide so the balloons are, well round looking!!

World record balloon channel crossing attempt

World record balloon channel crossing attempt

However sometimes that just the effect your looking for.

GB Mens Basketball V Peurto Rico, Copper Box Arena. August 2013

GB Mens Basketball V Peurto Rico, Copper Box Arena. August 2013

So here’s how I do it. I always, always shoot upright. Otherwise you’ll end up with such a narrow and wide final image it will be painful to look at it! I find at least 6 frames make for a decent final image. Make sure you keep the exposure even (I’m not going to tell you how to expose a picture) and have a landscape appropriate aperture. Then in post I use PS to stitch it all together. I think its important to have a point of focus, for example:

Richborough Towers, Sandwich, Kent

Richborough Towers the day before they were demolished.

There is also a technique called the Brenizer Method developed by american wedding tog Ryan Brenizer. I think its a missed panoramic technique as you shoot in the same way the only difference is that you use a shallow DOF and shoot more of a grid but the wide effect with a point of focus is still the final target. Yes Ryan has developed it as a portrait thing as you end up with a such a super small DOF but there are a lot of similarities, and the possibilities are endless!

Brenizer Method

Brenizer Method – Just a different way to shoot a panoramic

In ten years the only panoramic I can remember being published is this one I shot and added as an afterthought for the KM group an assignment on the National Trust property South Foreland Lighthouse and made a very nice 2 page spread in the paper a couple of weeks ago.


If you perfect the technique it is possible to get a group of people into one, which believe me isn’t as easy as it sounds


Anyway that’s enough of my guilty photographic pleasure. I think every photographer both amateur and professional alike ought to have one and now mine is out in the open. Have a go. I’d like to to see the results you might get.

So in finishing here’s a few more of my favorites:

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