Login or Join Now

Upload your photos, chat, win prizes and much more

Remember Me

Can't Access your Account?

New to ePHOTOzine? Join ePHOTOzine for free!

Photographing Panoramas

Techniques > Photographing Panoramas

Join Now

Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!

50% OFF new PortraitPro 12, plus EXTRA 5% OFF code EPHZROS414
Category: Landscape and Travel

Panoramas With And Without A Panoramic Head - How to shoot panoramics hand-held and with the help of a panoramic head.

Print Article Add Comment Add CommentJargon Buster: Off Jargon Buster: Off
Panoramas and landscapes go together like gin and tonic, and make a potent combination.

There are several panoramic heads available from companies such as Manfrotto and we will be discussing how they are used in due course. To start with, though, this is a technique that you can shoot handheld.

Glencoe Lochan Panorama
Photo by Daniel Bell

Working Without A Panoramic Head:

This technique works fine for subjects some way from the camera position. If you have subjects quite close to the subject you do need a proper panoramic head that can be adjusted to get the optical centre of the lens directly above the tripod's centre axis.

Gear Suggestions

Your normal DSLR and a standard zoom are fine (30-50mm on an APS-C sized sensor and 50-75mm on a full-frame camera.)

Work Manually

Go manual control for this technique. Set your DSLR's white-balance to manual using a suitable preset, set manual focus and set manual exposure. Shooting manually does make life easier, and streamlines workflow rather than having to tweak each image before stitching.

Check Your Exposure 

White-balance and focusing are pretty straightforward, but manual exposure needs a little thinking about. Ideally, you want an exposure that ensures good highlight detail and shadows will look after themselves. Take a meter reading and shoot three images, one at the centre of the panorama and then one at each extreme edge. If the exposure works for each area you have got it right.

Don't Adjust The Focus Once Set

It is also important that focus is not adjusted during the panorama so take care not to touch the focus barrel once you have focused.

Take Your Shots

Try shooting in an upright format and start from the left, allowing a one-third frame approximate overlap between each frame. Capturing between six to eight frames should be fine.

Shooting horizontal format is fine too but it is good to have some area spare to crop into should it be necessary. Shooting upright gives less of a letter-box effect, too.


There are various stitching softwares available. Try Panorama Factory - it is quick and very effective or you can always use Photoshop.

Working With A Panoramic Head:

For panoramas where there are elements much closer to the camera you need a purpose-built tripod head.

Gear Suggestions

There are various models of panoramic head available at a variety of prices and enable single row panoramas and some multi-row. Manfrotto's panoramic heads are solid and well engineered. Take a look at the Manfrotto website if you're considering purchasing one. The key thing is that the instructions of the head are followed to find the no-parallax point of the lens, usually called the nodal point.

The Set Up

Find your scene, set up the tripod and camera so that it is level. Set manual white-balance, manual exposure and manual focus. Meter to get tones in the important part of the scene – and bracket exposures if it is contrasty.

Take Your Shots

Shoot from left to right once you have set up and the head has click stops to ensure that you get the correct amount of overlap. Do a ‘dry run’ before shooting for real.


Back home, get the images corrected and cloned and put them through your usual panorama software. 

See what exciting & new content is available on the Manfrotto website:


Explore More

Improve Your Landscapes Instantly By Capturing Mood

Improve Your Landscapes Instantly With Mood

Learn how you can add mood to your landscapes to improve you...

Lens Choices For Landscape Photography

Make The Most Of Your Lenses For Scenics

Here's ePHOTOzine's guide for lenses in the landscape and a ...

Pier Photography Advice

Tips On Photographing Piers

If you're heading to the coast over the Easter weekend here ...


There are no comments here! Be the first!
- Original Poster Comments
- Your Posts

Add a Comment

You must be a member to leave a comment

Remember me:
Un-tick this box if you want to login each time you visit.