TUTORIAL – How To Make A 360° Panorama
A Beginner’s Guide to Panorama Creation
So you have seen this photographic awesomeness everywhere on this site and wonder how to make a 360° panorama? This page is for you!
Before becoming this highly entertaining interactive experience, a panorama is first and foremost nothing more than an image. You just need to know a few things to get this image right and then publish it.
I wrote this tutorial to help you get started at creating 360-degree panoramas. My goal is to introduce everyone to the world of panoramic photography even if you have no fancy panoramic photography equipment.
I have been interested in this type of photography since 2006 and my technique improvement has been very gradual. To be honest, at the beginning I was using this technique to compensate the fact that I had a very average equipment.
I found myself in a number of fantastic landscapes throughout my travels. What’s the common reflex you have in these moments? You want to capture the grandness of the place with a wide angle shot. Problem: a basic not-so-wide-angle lens is all you’ve got. Solution: you take several pictures of the whole landscape and stitch them together later! Without realizing, I had started creating partial panoramas.
For this tutorial, I will assume that you do not have any fisheye lens and just use a classic wide angle lens. I will also assume that you will create hand held panoramas, with no tripod and no panoramic head. If you do have a fisheye lens this tutorial will still be valuable to you, it will just be a little easier for you to shoot your pano 🙂
So What Will You Need?
Here is the most basic list of things you will need to make your panorama.
Any camera will be able to shoot 360° panoramas. If you have the choice between different cameras (your smartphone, a compact camera, a DSLR…) take the one with the widest lens. If you have one, I suggest you take your DSLR with its kit lens. It is what I used for years and it can result in very good quality panoramas.
As I just said, any lens is capable of capturing a 360° panorama, but the wider the better. If you have a fisheye lens it is much easier! And trust me, if you enjoy making panoramas you WILL end up buying a fisheye lens, like I did.
It is the software that will stitch all your pictures together to create your panorama. Such software is not cheap. If you are not ready to make the investment yet, there is a free panorama software called Hugin that does a decent job.
If you are more serious about panoramas, I really recommend you invest in a paid panoramas software. The two software I can recommend are Autopano Pro/Autopano Giga and PTGui. They are more powerful and will usually do a better job automatically without you having to manually add stitching points etc. But if you can’t make the investment now just try with Hugin!
Basic Photography Skills
You don’t need to be a photography expert to make panoramas but, you know, it always helps to at least understand the basics of photography.
In this tutorial I will mention things like exposure, white balance… If you heard of that stuff but you are not too sure about what it means, I suggest you quickly get some basic knowledge about how photography works!
What I can recommend is go get this set of video lessons called the Photography Masterclass. It is straight to the point, no fluff. I got it and I am glad I did.
The member’s area doesn’t look spectacular but you basically have a professional photographer explaining all the basics of photography, the basic knowledge that you will have for the rest of your life and lay a solid foundation for all the photos that you will take.
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OPTIONAL: Tripod And Panorama Head
Just for the sake of mentioning them, but I created this tutorial for those who don’t have a tripod and a pano head. If you just bought such equipment and are not sure of how to use it, I will be going through this in a next tutorial.
Okay, so now that we know all the stuff we will need to create a panorama, let’s get to the tutorial itself. Click on the link below to start!