How to Create Panoramic Photos: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay

How to Create Panoramic Photos: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay


Hi I’m Doug McKinlay and you are watching AdoramaTV. As you can see from behind me we’re in Central London on the banks of
the River Thames, great architecture, great history, perfect for making great panoramic pictures. AdoramaTV presents, Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay. Hi, I’m Doug McKinlay and you’re watching
AdoramaTV, today we’re in Central London along the banks of the River Thames, what we’re going to do today is look at
some tips on how to get really good panoramic pictures. Now it’s a perfect storm right now
between photographic equipment and computing
software, in pre-digital days getting panoramas often meant buying very
expensive equipment or spending hours and hours in a dark
room trying to stitch exposures together onto photographic paper, in essence we still do that but we do it in the computer now where its a lot
faster and a lot cleaner. Now the first thing on any successful
panoramic photo expedition its finding your location, it could be
anything really anything you find interesting as long as a nice long sweep. Now for us
today we’re on the banks of the River Thames and behind me across river you’ve got Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and the buildings of the city of London this is going to be our subject for our
first panoramic shot. So for sure making panoramic pictures has become a
lot easier in recent years better cameras, better software etc, but one of
the first things you’ve really got to think about is you need a good solid
stabilized position to shoot from, which means a good tripod, preferably one that’s got a bubble, a levelling bubble on it, built into it
and a good head, either a pan head or like this one, a ball head. Like all landscape photography, because let’s face
it, panoramic’s are just big landscapes, there’s about three things you have to remember, first
white balance can be set to auto and you can always adjust in the computer,
make sure everything us on manual including the focus, shooting in manual
mode, and manual focus, just make sure you check the focus
before you start shooting and shoot in RAW, because with RAW files we’ve got much, much more
flexibility in the computer, little tiny mistakes easily fixed, jpegs; not so easy. Lets get shooting. Now that your settings of course are
going to be subject to the lighting conditions, and they will change. Now we want some decent
depth of field right, so because we’re on a tripod, we can shoot on f/8 to f/11 I think, that will give us enough death of field for a lot of clarity
from from the foreground to the infinity,
and the shutter speed will be whatever it is so for instance, for the shots
it was f/11 at about to 1/60th of a second. So that’s our first series of pictures for first time around now the reason why I’m I’m shooting
vertically rather than horizontal like this, is sure, horizontal you’re
going to use less images probably faster as well, so for quick
panoramas thats a good way of doing it, but the resolution
will not be as good as if you shoot them vertically int he way we
just did. So I suggest if you want really good
files big, big files you shoot vertically, also when it comes to darkroom work that computer darkroom work,
is that you need some room to crop, because as this
picture is stitched together in Photoshop, it’s going to look a little jagged on the tops
and bottom you’re going to have to crop all that waste out, and if you shoot vertically you can leave a
little bit of air above and below your picture which
will give you room to crop better. London in such a great city its always
changing, the skyline seems to change every month, as a photographer it’s brilliant but I
see a really good spot over by Tower Bridge we’re going to head over there now, let me put this stuff away. So the next thing we have to think about is lens choices, always the big question. Now, I tend to stay away from wide-angle lenses
and doing panorama’s because they distort a lot and they can be really
problematic once you’re in the computer, so my choices are; a 50mm and probably short zoom, 24-70mm up to an 80-200mm zoom
lets get a little more control with these lenses. Now, in keeping with that I know I always bang on
about using your tripod as much as you possibly can, but sometimes
its not possible so handhelds, handheld panoramic’s can be done there’s just a couple things you have to think
about, keep in mind. We’re going to choose this 24-70mm, first and foremost really is make sure you’ve got enough shutter
speed to avoid any kind of camera shake so you’re looking at around 250 ish in conjunction with that make sure you’ve
got depth of field, give yourself enough focus, depth of
focus, just before I continue with this shot, creating this
panorama I suggest you set everything to
manual, including your focus so set your focus
in auto and then switch it off to manual,
that way your focus won’t jump in and out as you swing the camera around. Now you
want to get nice and stable so when you’ve got your camera cradled in
your hands, firmly but gently, elbow’s in nice and tucked in give you some stability, legs;
shoulder width apart slightly bent but stable, making sure your
shutter speeds are fast enough to avoid any kind of camera shake, making sure you’ve got enough depth of field to give you lots of focus on picture,
lets try it. Just like when you’re on a tripod, make sure you overlap your frames, if you don’t overlap the frames the panorama won’t work. I just want to mention something about
filters, take them off. You don’t need them on there, you can get away a skylight filter but definitely if you’ve got a polarizer filter,
take it off because it will just mess with the sky and ND filters or grads, same thing, just get rid of them. So one of my favorite panorama’s I shot
recently was in Greenwich which is just down
the river east of here, where I live basically, the sky was blood red,
I woke up one morning, looked at my bedroom window and saw this amazing scene over Canary
Wharf. Fortunately I’ve got a little skylight in my loft I climbed up there on the latter, dragged my
camera up there in just started shooting and it just turn out to be this fantastic
panorama, like eight or ten frames across the scene all
the way from the BT tower in the west of the city all the way across to Canary Wharf, it was a blood red sky, it was pretty amazing. So in the end these are just some tips
and tricks on how to create better panoramic pictures,
it’s by no means exhaustive you’ve got to get out there yourself, try it out as much as
you can and just remember to learn from mistakes.
So thats it from me and I’m Doug McKinlay for AdoramaTV. Don’t forget to
subscribe to an AdoramaTV for more great videos and tell us what you think you can like, share, comment on this video
and please stop by the Adorama Learning Center for more great tips and tricks! Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure
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45 thoughts on “How to Create Panoramic Photos: Stay Focused with Doug McKinlay

  • April 6, 2015 at 5:09 pm
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    "…firmly but gently…"

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  • April 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm
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    A very good tutorial, thank you Adorama and Doug for this extremely usefull video.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:10 pm
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    Short and precise. Thank you.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm
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    another great video Doug.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:27 pm
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    Hi Doug, great stuff you always lay out there!  I just wanted to say that I noticed you tilted the ballhead to allow the camera to shoot vertical.  Wouldn't that have placed your camera at off-center to it's axis as you panned?  The use of an L-bracket would have kept it centered and more consistent as you panned for each shot don't you think.  I always look forward to all your tips and techniques.  More power to you….Thanks!

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  • April 7, 2015 at 9:19 pm
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    Adorama…..always worth watching 🙂

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  • April 8, 2015 at 12:48 am
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    What program did Doug Use to stitch RAW files? thank you love the videos every week

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  • April 8, 2015 at 5:07 am
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    Now that was good session explaining How to shoot panorama either by using a Tripod or even handheld, but Doug sir seams you have missed something, frame overlap ratio, how much is it sir?

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  • April 9, 2015 at 3:16 am
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    Good tips – I'm going to shoot vertically next time. 

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  • April 12, 2015 at 9:38 am
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    Great video Doug – thank you.

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  • April 14, 2015 at 8:23 am
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    Thanks for these great tips. One question though. You mention that you shoot RAW, so I am. But for panoramas I developed a way of processing the RAW files (I work in LR). I develop the center image as I like it, then copy the settings to all the other image, and then stitch the panorama in PS. Any tips here? Is it preferable to stitch first (and save to 16-bit tiff) and then process?
    Thanks!

    PS. https://500px.com/photo/96949193/bay-bridge-by-dmitry-rudoy

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  • April 15, 2015 at 3:30 pm
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    Very good video, Thank you.

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  • January 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm
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    Hi I notice a L bracket wasn't used for the workflow. All other videos I have seen show the photographer using this piece of equipment. Is this not essential then to get good images ready for post production stitching. Many thanks and great vid.

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  • March 21, 2016 at 6:10 pm
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    Please check out my 100 North America PANORAMA photos video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCLlmjZmitE and give me some advices 🙂

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  • March 26, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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    what happens to the moving objects?? won't they be distorted if you stitch them??

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  • April 11, 2016 at 4:46 am
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    Very helpful, thank you.

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  • May 9, 2016 at 5:17 am
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    is it just me or u really put 70-200 lens hood on 24-70 ?

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  • June 22, 2016 at 2:52 pm
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    Exactly what I needed! I'm heading out on a rocky mountain expedition tomorrow and didn't think I'd get to adding this skill to my shooting repetoir. Thanks for showing it perfectly! All questions answered.

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  • November 6, 2016 at 9:56 pm
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    You are manually focusing at infinity?

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  • November 23, 2016 at 7:29 am
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    do we need to change exposure for every shot or should we maintain a common exposure for all shots

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  • February 13, 2017 at 5:40 pm
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    Nice video but what about parallax? How are you getting an accurate pano without finding the nodal point? Should you not be using a pano head to rotate on the nodal point? Thanks!

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  • March 13, 2017 at 1:36 am
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    can you do this on smartphone cameras

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  • March 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm
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    thx for inspiration 🙂

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  • March 25, 2017 at 9:39 pm
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    I have a Fuji XT2 camera that has built in panorama stitching. Is it better to avoid these automated features and do the stitching manually post process? Thanks.

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  • April 11, 2017 at 9:34 am
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    love these concise tutorial

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  • July 14, 2017 at 8:01 am
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    My eyes popped. No caps on the end of the lenses?

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  • September 12, 2017 at 1:39 pm
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    Whats the best lens for aps-c canon dslr for doing psnorama photography thanks

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  • November 1, 2017 at 9:05 pm
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    good video, that isn't blood red sky tho lol.

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  • November 20, 2017 at 7:57 pm
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    Useful video with excellent tips. For those worried about nodal points PS is so good at stitching these days, pivoting precisely around a fixed point is not as necessary as it used to be.

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  • March 25, 2018 at 6:48 am
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    Omg! I can’t believe this guy isn’t using an L-bracket and a nodal slide. And he’s teaching people how to do panoramas? UNBELIEVABLE.

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  • March 26, 2018 at 11:18 am
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    Can we say de-interlace

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  • June 4, 2018 at 2:35 pm
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    Was that last pano shot using a tripod??? #amazing I sud’d

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  • June 11, 2018 at 3:59 am
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    Good explanation of how to take a Panoramic. Why people keep asking about lenses hood and silly stuff and not concentrate on what really matter. Also asking about expensive stuff when they are still don’t know about AF and AE lock?. But, I thing you forgot to explains "exposure lock", that can create a problem on the post processing. Good Job.

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  • July 7, 2018 at 2:04 am
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    Tried listening to your video, but the the music was terrible, tooo loud and drowned out the commentary.

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  • October 18, 2018 at 8:10 am
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    Was this a tutorial or an advertisement for canon 5d?
    One frame shows white lens, then black lens. If you are going to show someone how to shoot panoramas, show them the proper way so that they can learn to do it right without mistakes. Nodal and L brackets.

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  • January 13, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    ΤΕΛΕΙΟ=PERFECT!!!!!!

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  • January 29, 2019 at 10:54 pm
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    That vertical tip. THANK YOU. I never thought of that. I am about to go get a panorama of a sunset and wanted a few tips. Most I knew already, but the vertical thing I did not. Thank you so much.

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  • February 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm
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    Wanna try a panorama without a tripod

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  • February 23, 2019 at 2:19 pm
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    What app did you use sir?

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  • May 27, 2019 at 7:26 pm
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    TLDR: Shoot fully manual, use 50mm (full) or ~35mm (APC-S) lenses, and Adobe Photomerge.

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  • June 2, 2019 at 11:47 pm
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    As always Doug? Clear and Concise Video!

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  • July 11, 2019 at 5:16 am
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    Thank you.. great review.

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  • July 15, 2019 at 8:04 pm
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    Great I also love hand held rather tripod 👍📸

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  • September 11, 2019 at 9:30 pm
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    very nice video Doug.I love London.Thank you.

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