Creating your first panorama

There's a lot of information in this website and I guess for the first time visitor it might seem as though panoramic photography is a complicated thing to do. It's not. It's simple.

Whatever equipment you have, I suggest you go outside with a print-out of this webpage and your camera. You will learn a lot by trying to create a panorama straight away with your current equipment.

Shooting the pictures

You don't need a special camera, a tripod or any special equipment.

Hold your camera as still as you can, and try to keep your camera level. Take a picture and then turn to take the next picture, making sure that the next picture overlaps the first one by at least 25%. Imagine the camera is on a tripod, so you keep the camera in the same place and you walk around the imaginary tripod (doing this reduces the effects of parallax). Take as many pictures as you like, and if you want to create a full 360 degree image, don't forget to make sure the last picture overlaps with the first one.

Getting the pictures into your computer

If you have a film camera you will need to get digital pictures. You could do this by:

  • Asking the photographic lab where you get your film processed to digitise your pictures for you
  • scan the photo prints yourself using a flat bed scanner
  • scan the negatives or slides yourself using a film scanner

Using computer software to stitch the images together

If you are a newbie I guess you won't have any software. For now I assume you don't want any annoyingly complicated software so I suggest either of these:

All you have to do is:

  • start the program
  • select the pictures you want to stitch, and make sure you've got them the right way up and in the right order
  • tell the program what lens you used (if you are using PhotoVista Panorama - AutoStitch works this out for itself)
  • click the stitch button

In PhotoVista Panorama it is a good idea is to click 'custom' in the lens selection window. Then enter your guess of the lens focal length, and click 'fine tune'. PhotoVista Panorama will then analyse your pictures and work out whether a slightly different focal length will work better.

What next?

You should by now have created your first panorama. I hope that this page helped you realise how easy it is and what great pictures you can create! If you want to create more panoramas or learn how to create better ones keep reading through the detail in the how to shoot panoramas section!