The Joys of Multi-Shot Panoramas

I did a presentation about shooting and processing panoramas, for Fujifilm, at PhotoPlus Expo 2015 this past October. I have recorded a video of that presentation for this blog post, and you’ll find the whole presentation at the end of this post. First however, I’d like to examine my shooting technique in detail.

The ideal technique requires the use of a tripod—preferably one with a special pan head— when shooting for multi-shot panoramas. However, I find that opportunities for shooting panoramas often present themselves when I do not have a tripod with me. So… I have developed the following hand-held shooting technique. The key is to pivot around the camera as much as possible when panning. Observe the following illustration:

Normal hand holding stance

Assume a normal stance with the camera up to your eye—this should place the camera directly over your forward foot.

The technique is to pivot on the ball of the front foot when panning the camera (making sure you overlap subsequent frames by at least 33%…

foot pivot

Pivot over the ball of the from foot, moving your rear leg around the outside of the circle.

This approach keeps the camera more or less in the same place…

Shooting Pivot

You want to move around the camera as much as possible, such that the camera pivots around its center during the panning action.

YOU SHOULD NOT pan at your waist while looking at the LCD on the back of the camera—the camera will arc through space, and this displacement can cause problems for the software stitching process later on!

Bad Camera Pan


Here is the complete presentation, as delivered at PhotoPlus Expo in New York

The presentation starts with a short retrospective of my photography career in the Entertainment Industry— skip to 4:33 to see the start of the panorama presentation.