5 Tips to Shoot Panoramas for Cityscapes
Panoramas are a great tool to capture cityscapes, especially sweeping skylines that cannot fit in the usual 3:2 or 4:3 ratios. It will also allow you to create massive prints with the added resolution that comes with stitching a panorama.
Shooting a panorama can be tricky, so I thought I’d go over a few tips to make sure your files are ready to be stitched together (which we’ll explore in another article very soon) in Lightroom or Photoshop.
Make sure your tripod head is leveled
I guess I should have started with “use a tripod”, huh? You definitely need a tripod to make sure everything is nicely lined up. And you need to make sure your tripod head is leveled, so when you rotate your camera, it doesn’t lean on the far edges of the panorama. A lot of tripods have a bubble level, but you can also buy one to put in your camera hot shoe.
Shoot in vertical mode
Once your tripod is set up, put your camera in vertical mode. That will give you more resolution (the height of your final file will have more pixels) and I find it makes stitching easier (fewer errors).
Don’t shoot too wide
Do not shoot wide! The wider you shoot, the most distortion the lens will bring and the harder it will be to stitch the images together. I recommend shooting at 35mm or tighter. Just make sure you have some room in your foreground and in your sky, as you’ll likely end up cropping in post-processing.
Shoot all manual
To make sure everything is the same, shoot in manual mode and in manual focus. Now, it’s a pain to set that up, so feel free to use other modes first and then switch to manual knowing the right settings and once the focus is already done. Do a few test shots across your skyline to make sure everything is good to go.
Overlap images by 1/3
Finally, you’re ready to shoot. Assuming your settings are good and you’ve followed the previous steps, it will be easy. Just make sure you overlap images by about 1/3. It’s very easy to do if you have the rule of thirds grid overlay in your viewfinder. Just line up the line with whatever was at the edge of the image in the previous frame.
Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of how to shoot a panorama. So go out and shoot! And share the results in our Facebook group!
Leave a comment below if you have a question or more tips!