A Beginner’s Guide to Panorama Creation
So you have seen this photographic awesomeness everywhere on this site and wonder how to make a 360° panorama? This page is for you!
Before becoming this highly entertaining interactive experience, a panorama is first and foremost nothing more than an image. You just need to know a few things to get this image right and then publish it.
I wrote this tutorial to help you get started at creating 360-degree panoramas. My goal is to introduce everyone to the world of panoramic photography even if you have no fancy panoramic photography equipment.
I have been interested in this type of photography since 2006 and my technique improvement has been very gradual. To be honest, at the beginning I was using this technique to compensate the fact that I had a very average equipment.
I found myself in a number of fantastic landscapes throughout my travels. What’s the common reflex you have in these moments? You want to capture the grandness of the place with a wide angle shot. Problem: a basic not-so-wide-angle lens is all you’ve got. Solution: you take several pictures of the whole landscape and stitch them together later! Without realizing, you start creating partial panoramas!
To follow this tutorial, you do not need to have any fisheye lens or super-wide angle lens. You can start with creating hand held panoramas, with no tripod and no panoramic head. If you do have a fisheye / wide angle lens, this tutorial will still be valuable to you (there is a section about how to use them). It will just be a little easier for you to shoot your panos 😄
What Will You Need?
Here is the most basic list of things you will need to make your panorama. You can see what equipment I personally use by checking out what’s in my camera bag!
Any camera will be able to shoot 360° panoramas. If you have the choice between different cameras (your smartphone, a compact camera, a DSLR…) take the one with the widest lens. If you have one, I suggest you take your DSLR with its kit lens in order to get the best image quality. It is what I used for years and it can result in very good quality panoramas.
As I just said, any lens is capable of capturing a 360° panorama, but the wider the better. If you have a fisheye lens it is much easier! And trust me, if you get addicted to making panoramas you WILL end up buying a fisheye lens, like I did.
It is the software that will stitch all your pictures together to create your panorama. Such software is not cheap. If you are not ready to make the investment yet, there is a free panorama software called Hugin that does a decent job.
If you are more serious about panoramas, I really recommend you invest in a paid panorama software. A piece software I loved wasAutopano Pro/Autopano Giga but unfortunately they closed down in 2018. Another paid tool you can check out is PTGui. Such tools are more powerful and will usually do a better job automatically without you having to manually add stitching points etc. But if you can’t make the investment right now just get your feet wet with Hugin!
Basic Photography Skills
You don’t need to be a photography expert to make panoramas but, you know, it always helps to at least understand the basics of photography.
In this tutorial I will mention things like exposure, white balance… If you heard of that stuff but you are not too sure about what it means, I suggest you quickly get some basic knowledge about how photography works!
OPTIONAL: Tripod And Panorama Head
Not compulsory if you are just getting started but you will soon realise how much they help! A page of this tutorial will be dedicated to shooting a panorama with this equipment.
Okay, so now that we know all the stuff we will need to create a panorama, let’s get to the tutorial itself. Click on the link below to start!