Panoramic tours are the new wonders of photography. The result may be one breath taking photo, but it takes more than that to make it. Panoramic photography is all about patience and choosing the right angle for more than one photo. But it sure pays off, for photographers and other people that use it alike. Panoramic tours look great, especially on realtors’ web sites or on photographers’ ones. Inexperienced photographers wish to be able to do that, while the rest of us wonder how they are made.
Truth be told, panoramic photography does not take that much. In the most basic terms, you only need a camera loaded with film, or a digital camera, a tripod that you can use to swivel 360degree (rotation) and to somehow stitch it. However, if you are looking for a more advanced explanation, you need to know the nodal point of your lens (the hole of which the light enters the lens and reflected upside down to your camera) and mount the center of the nodal point using special built camera mount. As well as that you should know there are some cameras that can capture a180degree or perhaps more angle in 1 single shutter click.
But how does panoramic photography work and what are the camera and film requirements? The things you have to do in order to make a panoramic tour are:
• First you need to put the camera on a tripod. This way you make sure it is steady and at the same height throughout the process. Next, you manually set the exposure; you have to average it out for the whole panorama but keep it fixed as you pan. If you are using a zoom lens, select a focal length with the least distortion (usually mid-way).
• Then, take a shot. Rotate the camera a few degrees, and repeat the process until you are all the way around. You have to leave a good margin of overlap on all your shots so you have wiggle room when you stitch them together with software.
But there used to be an easier way of making a panoramic tour – there used to be a 35mm camera that took panoramic 360 photos. It was attached to a tripod, had a slit lens and turned 360 degrees while advancing the film to give a panoramic picture. Although it has not been made lately used ones are still around. You could try and find it by using an Internet search. Another easier option is to use a digital camera in video mode; however, if you chose to do so it would have to be hand held.
There are several ways of stitching the photographs, most of them involving specialized software like adobe photoshop or picasa. These are just a couple out of dozens of programs that do the stitching in panoramic photography. Some of these soft wares can be downloaded for free; others come with your digital camera while others cost a lot of money. The software that a photographer chooses to use mainly depends on the budget and on how good a job he is supposed to do.
Panoramic photography poses one question: how can you print such photos? Some panoramic tour photos are about 60×20 cm, others more like 60×15. None of the standard shops usually does these types of formats. In such cases, photographers and realtors alike opt for specialized sites that print big or unusual sized photos. However, if you are looking for a commercial quality photo (rather than professional), try contacting your local photo processor lab, and if they do not do it, they will definitely know a local source to use.