One awesome component of mobile photography that has not taken off on the social media front too much is the art of taking panoramic photos with your smart phone. I believe that the biggest reason for it not taking off on social media is because typically when you are on social networks you are on your mobile device. Panoramas then are too small to view. This still does not take away from people doing it and capturing beautiful scenes in a wide format.
Luckily these days, all the camera phones have panorama photo features on them. You do not necessarily need to get a 3rd party app to do great panoramas. If you have not tried panorama or you just have not had great success, hopefully these tips will get you going.
Find a Focus Point
Finding a point of focus will help you decide where you are to begin to start your capture.
One of the fundamentals of photography is composition. I would say this is true especially in taking panoramas. With composition in mind then, the Rule of Thirds is very important for you to use in getting your shots. Place your focus point somewhere in the horizon about one to two thirds of the way across. This way the viewers eye will remain moving from your focus point to the rest of the image.
Keep the Light Consistent
In just taking regular photos, you should always seek the best light source for your images. Once you have figured out the best light source, then you can incorporate the rest of the fundamentals of photography and really, letting your camera phone do the rest.
This is especially true with panoramic photography.
When panning a scene, I guarantee you that the light changes with each composite snap. Indoors even more so. Light will diffuse across the materials indoors. Softer materials and bounce off walls and floors cause issues and problems. Outdoors can also be very difficult.
Stay Away from Motion in Your Scene
Think of panoramas as stitching together images to create a final scene. Well imagine a runner was running across your scene. Your panning will not be at the same speed as the runner. In your final image, you will capture pieces of the runner spread throughout your scene and more often than not, your images will turn out very blurry. These are important for you to avoid as it makes for bad panoramic images.
Stay Stable, Turn Slowly
Panoramic photography requires the shooter to move from left to right, basically having you move between each composite.
Here is where I tell you to some tips to stay steady and capture slowly. Find a position that is comfortable and suitable for you, one that helps you capture a scene that you want to record. Once you have positioned yourself badly, lends you to a poorly stitched image; ghostly images, offset objects that are otherwise symmetrical. This will lend you to start over again.
Look at your scene and look for horizontal lines. Use these lines along with the panoramic “line to follow” for capture. Stay stable, move slowly. This is counter-intuitive with image creation right? In photography we tell you to not move, avoid camera shake, etc. Well with panorama, you have to move. So again do so slowly and in a good position will help you stay stable and comfortable.
Finally Have Fun
Panoramic photography is really fun. It takes time and practice for you to capture the perfect panorama. Beautiful landscapes or sweeping, massive city skylines are all great to capture in a panoramic fashion.
These tips should help in your process. Capturing a smooth panoramic is truly gratifying and again in order to do so, you have to practice and if your like me, find your sweet spot.
By Brad Puet
Mobile Photography Expert