As underwater photographers we spend a lot of time on boats. We often anchor close to beautiful islands and if you’re like us then you can’t resist taking pictures of them. But we found it hard to capture the look and feel of some of the places we visit with a single frame. Our solution is now to shoot multiple images and stitch them together into panoramas.
Panoramas are simple to create. Even iPhones are capable of capturing fantastic looking panos. We typically use DSLRs and more recently a DJI Phantom 4 drone to take a series of 3 or more frames and use the panorama photo-merge function in Lightroom or Photoshop.
To get the best looking panos we suggest turning off the auto modes for exposure, white balance, and focusing. You don’t want any of those to change during your series of images. Frame your subject with some extra room for cropping especially when hand holding your camera and give yourself about a 20% overlap on each frame. For more detail and super high resolution, shoot your panos with the camera vertical. It’s a good idea to shoot a photo of a slate or your hand before a new series of shots. This will make it much easier to select your images in post.
The file size of panorama images can get pretty large depending on what resolution camera you are using. A decent computer is also a must. Start out with a series of 3 to 4 images before trying anything more complex. We typically use 4 to 5 images.
Give panoramas a try the next time you’re out shooting. They are easy to create and look great in your portfolio!
Todd Winner is a contributor, instructor, and trip leader for Samy’s Underwater Photo & Video and has over 20 years of experience in underwater still and broadcast video. To see more of Todd’s work please go to www.toddwinner.com. For the latest information on workshops and trips, sign up for our newsletter.