How to Create Panoramas good enough for Dreamstime

posted on 17th of november, 2009

It took me quite a while to get started with uploading panorama images to microstock. The problem wasn't that I didn't have suitable subject matter, but that I didn't know how, and assumed incorrectly that the software available wasn't good enough to produce seamless results.

As with anything, there's a variety of ways of doing this. This is a summary of how I do it:

Camera Settings

1. Set the camera to shoot in "RAW" mode, not jpeg if you don't usually shoot raw.
2. Set the camera to Manual mode "M".
3. Set the ISO to a fixed value (I recommend ISO 100 on all Olympus DSLRs)
4. Set the exposure by adjusting the aperture and shutter speed. Generally for these types of shots I recommend an aperture of around 5.6-6.3 on an Olympus DSL-R - higher if you're using APS-C (eg. Nikon d90, Canon digital rebels) or Full frame DSLR (f8-f11).
5. Pan across the intended subject to check the exposure and adjust the shutter speed if necessary - you want a balance between the shadows and highlights. If there is a big range, I'd aim to preserve highlights and have other parts slightly underexposed instead.
6. Take a marker shot so that later you can easily recognise your panorama images amongst others - easiest is a photo of your hand
7. Take a series of images with an overlap of about 1/3 of the image
8. Take a second marker photo of your hand to identify the end
Stitching the Panorama
In order to stitch the panorama, I use Olympus Studio to process the raw file, then a free open source application called Hugin to stitch the panorama, and finish the whole thing off with Photoshop.

If you're interested in learning how to use Hugin I've also got a tutorial on it: Stitching panoramas using Hugin tutorial with screenshots

Hope you find it useful! :)

Comments (13)

Posted by Holgs on November 22, 2009
I hear very good things about Gimp... its been on my to-do list to try out for quite a while.

Pandora and Autopano also use Panotools core which Hugin, and a lot of other open-source panorama software applications use.

Thanks for all the comments... I always find it useful to see how other people do the same things I do - quite often I actually learn a lot that way.
Posted by Mrcq4 on November 22, 2009
Really nice:) I use Gimp (with plugin Pandora) usually. It's for free and quite good. Greetings!
Posted by M_agullo on November 22, 2009
One thing that caught my eye is the accent of preserving highlights. In fact, digital sensors preserve details much better in over-exposed areas that they do in underexposed ones. This is easy to see if you have access to a raw editing program and play with the exposure compensation settings: when pushing limits, details in dark areas always come out with noise (if they do at all).

Your work looks awesome and I do not suggest for a second that you change your current way of creating it. But this bit of info might come handy if you find yourself in a tight spot. Personally, when doing night shots, I pay more attention to the dark areas when shooting and then fix the highlights in post-processing.
Posted by Digitalg on November 20, 2009
I must give a try to this Hugin program.
I'm using an old version of autopano, but I still prefer it over Photoshop. I've tested photoshop on some difficult situations where autopano left a lot of "manual work" to do, and in all of them the results were even worse. Rather unseamless connections, a lot of unconnected images and some false connections that created completly new landscapes with foggy areas under brigth sun! Too much fiction for my taste :)
Posted by Jjphotos on November 18, 2009
Thanks very much Holger for the info. I've always wondered how it's done. Ought to give it a try.
Posted by Preckas on November 18, 2009
thanks! very good advise.
Posted by Cleaper on November 18, 2009
great advice thank you!
Posted by Melonstone on November 18, 2009
Holger you have some wonderful pictures in your port. Hope your trip is going well. Useful tips regarding panoramics, particularly to take a shot at the beginning and end of something inconsequential (hand, foot) - I didn't do this when I tried my hand at creating a panaroma image and just couldn't work out which was the first/last shot from the many landscapes I'd taken that day!
Posted by Adeliepenguin on November 17, 2009
Thank you for the "tips". I hope to venture into panoramic images soon, so found it very "useful". I love your images. I was wondering how many separate images do you usually stitch together? Do you find your computer is slow, processing such a large file? Continued good luck!!
Posted by Holgs on November 17, 2009
I find Hugin gives you more control over the panoramas, generally results in less errors and on top of that its quite lightweight, so is a bit faster on a laptop.
Posted by Mani33 on November 17, 2009
Great! Thanks for sharing... Cheers ;)
Posted by Wildmac on November 17, 2009
Great panoramas! I also use Hugin. Thanks for sharing :0)
Posted by Creativei on November 17, 2009
Panoramas, is become fav for me now, I love panoramas. Well Holger why dont you stitch the images using photoshop itself, Do you think Hugin is much better than photoshop.??

Well long ago I had written a blog, may be user might find it useful HERE IS THE LINK FOR MY BLOG

Comments (13)

This article has been read 1434 times. 5 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Holger Mette.

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