Saturday, 17 May 2014

Panoramic Architectural Photography

Panoramic photography is one effective solution when the widest lens you have is not able to capture the entire scene in one shot. Stitching multiple shots together helps photographers achieve ultra wide angle of views, images with very high resolution (clarity and sharpness) and size suitable for making big prints.

Panoramic Architectural Photography
Photo by: Jijo John

Most commonly used aspect ratios of panoramas are 2:1 and 3:1. Though they are considered alternatives to fish eye lenses in reality the image proportions are quite different. One could either make vertical panoramas by capturing a series of frames moving the camera vertically or horizontal panoramas by capturing a series of images while moving the camera in the horizontal direction.

Multi-row Panoramas

Multi row panoramas take panoramic photography to the next level, here one takes pictures in multiple rows, as well as columns and then stich them together in image editing softwares. Multi row format is the way to go when one needs a very large image.

Start from the top left of the scene work across keeping an overlap of 25-30%. Once the first row is completed, shift down and back to the left and move across again. Repeat this for as many rows as you wish to capture. A standard longer focal length will be a better choice for multi row images as they produce much less distortions, making your stitching process easier and much more precise.Some photographers even go to extreme lengths stitching hundreds of high resolution images to create gargantuan “gigapixel” panoramas.

Panoramic Architectural Photography

Panoramic technique could be a lifesaver in many situations while photographing architecture; both interiors and exteriors. Vertical panoramas are often used to capture tall buildings with minimum distortion, while horizontal panoramas are used to capture long, low buildings.

panoramic architecture photography
Photo by: Jijo John

While shooting interiors, panoramas are often times a better alternative to using ultra wide lenses which extend into the fisheye territory. Shooting a series of images and joining them together will help you capture the scene with a much longer focal length and thus minimize distortions.

Although one could get reasonable quality just by rotating the camera on a tripod; creating high end panoramic images in architectural photography requires camera and lens to be properly calibrated on special panoramic equipment to prevent curved lines, distortions and improper stitches of objects that are very close to the lens.

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