WHAT IS A PANORAMA PHOTOGRAPH?
Panorama photos come in all shapes and sizes. But to be more specific, a panorama photograph starts when it's twice as wide as it is tall. Therefore 2:1 ratio to start. I know some photographers like to have their panoramas much wider so more of a 5:1 ratio to get the entire scene in the image. That would be 5 feet wide and 1 foot tall. I used to have some images like that but I found they didn't look right. I prefer the 2:1 ratio as it's a more manageable size. According to the dictionary, the word Panorama means the view of a wide area. By creating a panorama image, I'm able to capture the entire scene and not just a small portion.
Panorama photos use a wide aspect ratio to constrain our vision for telling a more impactful story. The human eye sees in a 3:2 format for the most part. However, if I use a 12 mm lens to capture a mountain range, the mountains will be real small, lots of sky and foreground, and your eye will wander around the image wondering what the story is. Using a telephoto lens to make a panorama will create the story of the mountains with no distracting sky or foreground.
HOW DO I CREATE A PANORAMA IMAGE?
For most people, put your phone on the Panorama setting, touch the shutter button, then move your phone across the image. As a photographer using a mirrorless camera, a little more work is involved.
When I first got in to photography and I wanted to get an entire scene in the image, I thought I needed a wider lens. I took a 1 day photography workshop with Justin Reznick and he told me to make a panorama. I was just learning so I had no idea how to do this. It is quite simple. Make sure the camera and tripod are level, point your camera at one side of the scene, take the first image, turn the camera for the next image but overlap the first image by around 30%. Continue doing this until you have the all the images you need. But make sure you have more images than you need. Therefore, you can crop out what you don't use because you can't add in what you don't have. Now use Photoshop or Lightroom to stitch all the images together. I have a preset crop factor of 2:1 in Photoshop so it makes it easier to get the size I want.
Some photographers use special equipment like nodal rails and tilt-shift lens but for 99% of the panoramas, they're not needed. I have never used a nodal rail but they rotate the camera around the lens and not the body. This prevents parallax shift but for the prints I make, parallax shift isn't a concern. I don't have subjects in the near foreground that can get distorted when rotating the camera around the body.
ADVANTAGE OF PURCHASING PANORAMA FINE ART PRINTS
When purchasing a fine art panorama photograph, the image captures the entire scene. For instance, the image above this paragraph is from Bryce Canyon National Park showing the famous Hoodoos. While it is not quite the entire scene, it's a good portion of it. Now think of this as a 2:3 format or standard 35 mm film and you can imagine how much of the scene it won't show. When you purchase a panoramic fine art print knowing it will be above your bed or couch, it will fit nicely with the dimensions of the print. The 2:1 format of a panorama print looks different and will stand out in any location. When I started incorporating these into my workflow, the phtoographs became more than I could imagine. Instead of buying an image that has one mountain, purchase a print that has the entire mountain range. Well, at least most of the range. I realize one photograph can't have the entire Cascades or Rocky Mountains.
CAPTURING THE SCENE
When I mentioned using a wider lens before I knew about panoramas, using an ultra wide lens like a 12mm or b16mm would be needed. But the issue is that anything in the background will be small and won't reflect how the scene looks. Therefore, using a longer focal length allows the image to look more lifelike. Maybe I can use a 50 mm or 70 mm lens and 6 images to create one panorama which will cause the background to be much more lifelike as the image becomes "compressed". "Image Compression" is another topic for different blog. Purchasing fine art panoramic prints will show the entire scene of a location in your home gallery that most people will not have. When I mention I create panorama prints, many people don't understand what they are. Now you can enjoy a unique image others won't have.
Basically, you need to purchase panoramic prints from me to stand out from all your friends. So, have you made the purchase yet? What are you waiting for? Since I started making panoramas, I feel my fine art prints have become more than I was expecting. Creating a unique look by showing an entire scene, the viewer can experience this when purchasing fine art panorama photographs. Please reach out with any questions about panoramas using my Contact Page.