Panoramic Photography for Beginners


Panoramic photography has never been easier than it is today, thanks to digital technology. In the days of film, your options for panoramic photos were the purchase of expensive, but very capable, panoramic cameras, stitching images together in a darkroom, or physically cutting and pasting prints together. Panoramic cameras, like the Linhof Technorama-series, Hasselblad XPan, Fujifilm GX617, or Horseman SW-series cameras, are beautiful machines and still incredibly viable tools of the trade if you want to take exquisite panoramic images with film. The B&H Used Department often has a nice selection of gorgeous panoramic cameras to choose from. And if you must shoot digital images, Horseman makes dedicated mounts that accept popular medium format digital backs.

For those looking for the film-panoramic experience without a foray into costly, dedicated camera equipment, Lomography produces many dedicated panoramic cameras that take 35mm film, as well as cameras that offer panoramic modes on some of the company’s medium format film cameras.

Today, thanks to digital technology, panoramic photography has never been easier.

Panoramic Modes

Almost every point-and-shoot, mirrorless, DSLR, and smartphone camera has built-in panoramic modes. Once you select this mode, the photographer pans the camera right or left, up or down, and the camera’s computer automatically begins taking photos and stitching them together into a single panoramic file. This is as easy as it gets!

Panorama of the B&H SuperStore, taken with an iPhone 6. © Jill Waterman

However, if you do not have a panoramic mode on your camera, or if you want to have the ability to stich together raw images to form your panorama, you can always create your own panoramic images manually. Success depends on simple planning and a fundamentally solid process. The process is easy, but there are pitfalls to avoid and hardware that can help you out.

Do-It-Yourself Setup

Camera position  You can shoot horizontal panoramas with your camera in the “landscape” position, but the best method is to roll your camera 90 degrees into the “portrait” position. This allows you to, in post processing, crop the top and bottom as needed to keep the main subject inside the panorama. Also, you should get less distortion.

Lens Selection  At first, you might think a wide-angle lens is best for a panoramic. This isn’t always the case. Depending on your subject, and the distance from the subject, a normal or telephoto lens might be best. Remember, one of the draws of the panoramic image is the detail you can see in the final photo. This means your lens needs to bring you in relatively close to the subject, but not too close. You will want to have some space above and below the subject (think skyline or mountain range) as you pan through the landscape, but not too much space, as the goal is an image that is very wide, but not very tall. A standard 50mm lens is often perfect for panoramas. If you need more reach, go with longer focal lengths. Prime lenses are best for consistency, as you do not want to accidently jog your focal length on a zoom while panning.

Remember, one of the primary benefits of shooting a panoramic image consisting of multiple frames is the intricate detail that is possible when viewing the image up close. A wide-angle lens is counterproductive to this goal.

Panorama at the beach, taken with a Sony NEX-6 ILC. © Nick McGuire

Panning Direction  I don’t know why this is, but unless you know if your camera or software supports the opposite, your panning should be left to right, as the camera’s automatic modes use this and the post-processing engines also work from left to right. Don’t ask me why. Just do it! Some futuristic-type cameras and software allow right-to-left panning, but the old-school default has been left-to-right panning.  

Support  Besides helping to stabilize your camera and give you the best chance at getting sharp images, a tripod also makes it substantially easier to pan across the scene between exposures and maintain accurate framing. Also, a remote or cabled shutter release will add to the overall stability.

Level  You want to keep your panning level. You can verify this with the use of bubble levels that are either built into your tripod or tripod head or attached to your camera’s flash shoe. Some cameras have built-in level indicators. Not only do you want to be level, port and starboard, but also level fore and aft.

Exposure Modes  Manual mode should be your choice for your panoramic. Other modes might work, but have the potential to send you into one of the aforementioned pitfalls, so go with Manual to improve your odds. What you want to do is get a consistent exposure through the panorama. Often, one part of the landscape is brighter than others. For me, I want the final image to look like what I see through the camera—as if I had made the panorama in a single exposure.

Panorama of the San Francisco skyline from the Alcatraz Lighthouse, captured with a Nikon D300 DSLR. © Todd Vorenkamp

To set my exposure, I set the camera to a middle aperture for maximum sharpness and, on Aperture Priority mode, I scan through the landscape and look at my camera’s light meter and exposure information. I mentally register the required shutter speed in the bright sections and in the dark sections and then I pick a shutter speed value in between the two. If there is no difference, or only a difference of one stop, I will choose the darker exposure, as I know I can pull more details out of the shadow areas of the panorama.

Some panoramic experts will adjust aperture instead of shutter speed to fine-tune their exposures. Regardless of the mode you choose, check your histograms and look for clipping in all channels. If you need a faster shutter speed to freeze movement in the frame(s) and you do not want to open your aperture more, you can bump up the ISO as needed.

Focus Modes  Depending on the subject of the panorama, and the distance involved, you might want to focus initially with autofocus and then switch to manual focus so the focal plane does not shift. Be careful not to bump the focus ring as you pan, if you do this.

Panorama of crashing surf, taken with a Sony NEX-6 ILC. © Nick McGuire

There are many opinions online about focus and panoramas. I have had no issues using autofocus to lock me onto a distant scene and leaving autofocus on for all the frames, but if you are focusing on objects closer than infinity or closer than half of the hyperfocal distance for a given lens, then you need to make a conscious decision about your focal distance.

White Balance  Make sure you chose a specific white balance for your panoramic. If you leave the camera on Auto White Balance (AWB) and the camera shifts while you make exposures, you might have a post-processing/blending nightmare. If you forgot this, but shot the panoramic in raw, you can adjust the WB in post processing before you stitch the images. For those shooting custom WB settings, feel free to bring this technique to your panoramics.

ISO  Ensure that your ISO is not set to Auto ISO. It's also best to shoot at lower ISO values to avoid unwanted noise when possible.

Filters  Your awesome polarizing filter might make that sky and those clouds pop, but as the camera changes angles on the sun, the polarization will shift as well. Shoot your panoramas filter-free to avoid problems later.

 Panorama of a sandy walk, photographed with a Sony A7r ILC. © Nick McGuire

It is crucial, for the success of the panorama, to have the same camera settings (shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and focus) through the image.

Do-It-Yourself Process

If your camera has no Panoramic mode, or you just want to do this old-school style, here’s how I do it. I take a “dark frame” before I start and after I finish the panorama. This way, when I am browsing the images later, I know where the panorama starts and stops, as it is likely that I may have similar images from the same shoot. To get a dark frame, I simply hold my hand over the lens while I shoot an exposure at the manual settings I will be using for the panorama.

While panning between frames, you want to overlap your images by between 20 to 50%. The more overlap, the better, generally. I use the grid option on my viewfinder to help me with my overlap; since it is set for thirds of the frame, I am getting a healthy overlap when I use both sides of the grid.

Panorama of upstate New York lake, photographed at Minnewaska State Park with an Olympus TG-850. © Allan Weitz

To verbally illustrate, I look through the camera at my first frame, depress the shutter, and then, before I pan to the right, I look for an object that is lined up at or near the right side vertical grid line. I then pan until that object is now lined up with the left side grid line and I take the next image. Repeat as needed until you are done.

Finish with a dark frame to help your file organization later.

And, before you pack up, shoot one or two more. I have found, through trial and much error, that I need several panoramas to get one “perfect one.” It is likely that one frame is not as sharp as the others, or something may have changed position without your permission, or your exposure was off. Be meticulous, change exposure if needed, but shoot at least a couple of panoramas separated by dark frames to give yourself the best chance at success when it comes time to stitch them!


Vertical panorama of the Empire State Building, captured with a Sony NEX-6 ILC. © Nick McGuire

Subtle Pitfalls

The section on setup, above, is designed to help you avoid some hardware-based potential issues that will wreak havoc in your panoramic images. There are external elements that you cannot control that you should be conscious of as well.

Parallax  Parallax, or the shifting of an object as the camera changes position, is the enemy of the panorama photographer. If you are photographing a distant landscape, this effect is minimized by the great distance to the subject; however, if there are foreground objects close to the camera, parallax created as the camera pans can cause headaches for the stitching software and leaves your image with unwanted issues.

To reduce parallax effects, avoid close foreground objects, use a camera system that allows the lens to stay stationary while the film or sensor is moved behind it the way a view camera permits, or ensure your camera is panned about the lens’s no-parallax point using a specialized panoramic mounting system that allows sliding adjustments to the camera. If you have one of these mounts, the manufacturer should provide instructions for its use, and there are several online tutorials to help as well.

Movement across the Scene  Visualize shooting a cityscape across a busy waterway. Pay attention to moving boats and ships and try to make sure that you have them contained entirely in a frame instead of at the edge where they might appear in two or even three images as they move through the scene. If an object is moving across your panorama, simply adjust your overlap as needed. Remember, you cannot have too much overlap. Once the object is out of the frame, continue as planned.

Movement in the Scene  Watch for things in constant motion. Waves, trees in the wind, flags, etc. They are in motion and, if captured in more than one frame, can cause grief for the stitching process.

Level  Sometimes a bubble level on the tripod might not be extremely accurate if the bubble is “sticking” or if you looked at it from an angle. Test-pan your camera through the panoramic scene to make sure you are staying level before you start the shot.

Gear for Panoramic Photography

Like many things in the photographic world, you can make a panoramic photo without any gear at all, outside of your camera. But, there are numerous tools available to make the task easier and more precise. Below is a summary of common panoramic gear. If you want a more in-depth look, please head over to this partner article.

Panorama of New York City skyline from a Williamsburg rooftop, taken with a Nikon D90. © Eric Reichbaum

A sturdy tripod isn’t required to make a good panoramic image, but it will certainly give you the best chance of success with your images. By all means, use a tripod, but if you are out in the field without one and a panoramic is begging to be captured, don’t let the lack of support deter you!

Specially designed panoramic and time-lapse camera mounts help the panoramic photographer get the shot they want. Some panoramic heads are designed to ensure the camera stays completely level through the rotation, many have calibrated markings and ratchets to assist in precision panning, and some can be programed to pan the camera automatically at specific increments. Some even come with proprietary software to program the mount and assist in post-capture stitching.

These mounts are designed for cameras of all types, from DSLRs to point-and-shoots to action cams like the GoPro.

As we discussed above on the subject of parallax, many of these panoramic mounting systems are designed to rotate your camera and lens system precisely about the no-parallax point of your gear, once you set it up correctly.

Panorama in the New York City Subway, photographed with an iPhone 6. © Jason Wallace

Alternative Panoramic Options

Multi-row  If you have a panoramic mounting system, the vertical slide can be used to create a multi-row panorama by shifting the camera up or down to create another layer of, or more, images. If you try this without a sliding support system, the tilting of the camera up or down will introduce perspective distortion and create a difficult solution for the stitching process; however, some modern software can handle this, so you might want to give it a try.

Perspective Control Lens  Specially designed perspective control lenses, also called tilt-shift or shift lenses, are not only great for removing perspective distortion when photographing buildings. They are also great tools for panoramic images. Instead of panning the camera, simply shift the lens through the panorama!

Go Vertical  99.9% of panoramic images are taken while panning horizontally. Try a vertical one for a creative change!

A vertical panorama of New York City, taken with a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1. © Allan Weitz

Be creative  Mountain ranges and cityscapes are the most popular targets for panoramas, but think outside the box! One of our resident B&H Photo panoramic photography experts, Roman Tyczkowskyj, says, “Since I’ve been doing this long enough, I’ve challenged myself with subjects that don’t lend themselves naturally to panorama. Examples include people, vehicles, and ferry boats moving at more than 20 mph. Because of the detail captured at a great distance, you can, through the polarized window in the ferry cabin, see the lines of type on the bottles of mustard that a woman is reaching for in the galley.”

Another vertical panorama of New York City, captured with a Sony Cybershot DSC-WX1. © Allan Weitz

Finally, Stitching it Together—It’s Easy!

Most of the mainstream photography post-processing software these days has the organic capability to stitch panoramic images together into one seamless file. These systems have drastically improved over the years. There are also a number of third-party software systems available that specialize in panoramas, which may afford more control and options to the stitching.

A panorama at night of the Long Beach, Long Island, boardwalk, captured with a Nikon D610 DSLR. © Nick McGuire

Panoramic Photos are Fun!

Besides the visual candy, one of the best parts of making a successful panoramic image is that it is fun to do. When I slow down the photographic process and sprinkle some technical steps into the experience, I find it more rewarding than capturing the passing snapshot. This is what draws me to night photography, and also to panoramic photography. Speaking of which, its time to head out to make some nighttime panoramas!

Panorama of the Lower Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn, photographed with a Nikon D5300. © Allan Weitz

Do you have other pointers or tips? Please share them in the Comments section, below, and thank you for reading!



One additional tip I would offer is panoramic focus stacking. It is more work to do, but can be totally worth it. In order to accomplish it, one must shoot the same row of images multiple times, while each row is focusing on different parts of the image. For example: the first pass could focus on the foreground, the second on the mid areas, and the third on the furthest objects in the scene. Then, in post processing the images can be:

a.) Focus-stacked individually first and then stitched as one panorama, or

b.) Stitched first and then focus-stacked as individual panoramas

The image in the example below is one where I applied panoramic focus-stacking:…

Hi Lazar,

That is an awesome image!

Thanks for reading and sharing the pro tip! I can't wait to try it!



B&H Photo is the best source! :)

When I stich the iamges together in CC I can see faint lines at the joints can anyone help me cure this, it is driving me nuts.  Canon eos600d woth 70-300 is lens af off at 300mm  on a tripod with cable release

Hey David,

I have had similar issues in the past, but, lately, when using Lightroom CC, I have had a lot of success in the automatic stiching—no telltale signs of the seams.

Possible causes for the lines can be changes in exposure and white balance (make sure you are using manual settings for both), edge darkness from lens vignetting showing at the seams (try to increase your overlap so that the automatic stitching discards more of the edges), and other possible factors.

After that, you can use the healing brush and see what you can salvage.

This probably isn't the magic pill you were hoping for...sorry! Feel free to send follow-ups, if you wish!

Thanks for reading!



Try flatten layers. The joints or seams just vanish. It worked for me.

Hi, Todd!

Thank you for the extremely informative article. I learned so much from your expertise. But I have a question: I understand the concept of making a panoramic photo when the camera remains at a specific pivot point. But can panorama photos be made by by moving parallel to an object? Or, maybe there's no advantage to it...

For example: If I want to photograph a really long building, rather than setting up in the middle of the building and panning it, I start at the very left of the building at, say, 50 feet away, and take overlapping photos at that same distance until reaching the very right side of the building. Would that work?


Hi Michael,

Thanks for the kind words! I appreciate the positive feedback!

Yes! Panoramic photos can be made by moving the camera parallel to the object. This is what virtually happens when you use a shift lens to make a panoramic image. In fact, there are some definite advantages to doing panoramas by keeping everything at right angles as distortion is reduced. One reason why this isn't a more common practice is because it isn't always practical.

The key is to keep things at right angles, which can be very tricky as you move laterally. I've done panoramics like that using a laser rangefinder and hoping that the guys who put out the concrete sidewalks were working precisely parallel to the building—big assumption. Videographers often use rail systems for panning shots that would work well for this purpose.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!




I just wanted to let you know you your prompt and informative reply has earned B&H a customer for life. Far too often large mortar and internet companies feel unapproachable and/or a million miles away when it comes to relationships with their customers. Customers become parts of pie graphs, charts, and financial spreadsheets. Your personal, one-on-one response has shown me, and likely many other B&H customers, that B&H doesn't see customers as a bottom line; they see customers as folks who have the same passion for photography as they do.

Bravo! Continued Success!


Hi Michael,

Thank you very much and thank you for shopping at B&H! It is my pleasure to help.


This was very informative but I would like more information!  I am experienced at making panos with an 8 mm lens using a Nodal Ninja III tripod mount. Now I want to make panos with longer lenses and need to know exactly what equipment I need to cut down on lens paralax. Will the Nodal Ninja work for that too?  If not needed then what is the best method to get the lens to turn on it's axis so there is no paralax?

Hi Janis,

Thanks for the compliment and your question.

As you know, the job of the panoramic mount is to keep the camera centered over the nodal point of the tripod head. With normal lenses, this works fine. However, large telephotos are heavy—some have their own tripod mounting arrangements. Attaching a long telephoto directly to the panoramic mount will introduce parallax to the image(s). Also, the Nodal Ninja III likely has a recommended maximum load that you will not want to exceed. There is nothing to say you cannot use a long lens and leave your camera mounted to the Nodal Ninja, just be conscious of the weight limits and balance of the setup.

I hope this helps! Thanks for reading!

By the way, what kind of lens(es) are you considering for your new shots? What camera are you using?


thank you for taking the time to break down your process so many others may have the pleasure of giving this technique a go. I already do landscape panos with astrophotography, but would like to do the same thing in vertical when the milky way is on a diagonal left slope and the core is at the base of the foreground object. I have a sunwayfoto pano head with L bracket and can shoot multiple layers - so do I position my camera in a vertical or horizontal position for this look? I understand that I need to create an inverted triangle with the images so when cropped it is high in finished look.

Hey Leanne,

I think I understand your challenge, but guide me if I seem incorrect...

The issue with a pano of the Milky Way is that it is not perpendicular to the horizon due to the tilt of the solar system's ecliptic tilt in relation to the Milky Way's plane. So, if you are keeping a foreground object in the panoramic image, the "top" of the Milky Way will be cut off as you pan. If you shoot vertically, you will get more Milky Way, but probably not all of it.

The solution, as you pointed out, is multiple layers. I would keep shooting the layers vertically just as if you were doing a "standard" pano.

I am unclear as to what you mean by the "inverted triangle." Can you explain that? My thought is that you would want to make a wide rectangular swath with lots of overlap and as many images as you can manage.

Of course, digital is virtually free, so, as long as you have time, don't hesitate to experiment! The Milky Way isn't going anywhere anytime soon!

I hope this helps! I'll be standing by for a follow-up. Thanks for reading!

I'm struggling with pano's of the milky way where it moves relative to the foreground objects during the shoot.  Each image takes about a minute (20 sec exposure, 20 sec noise cancellation, and a few sec to shift to the next position) and there is enough movement that Photoshop photomerge won't combine all the images.  Instead it creates two or more separate pano's consisting of roughly three images each.  Does anyone have a work flow or other software that gets around this?

Hey Jeff,

I would definitely try, as a quick fix possibility, turning off LENR and saving 20 seconds that noise reduction in post processing.

Also, open up the lens more and shorten your exposure, if possible...or bump up the ISO.

After that, my guess is you might have to manually align and stitch them together in Photoshop.

I'll ask around to see what others might have up their sleeves! Thanks for stopping by! 

Nice Article.

I have found it is sometimes helpful to take a full 360 degree pano even though you may not want a full 360 degree image.

Having full 360 degree image allows you to position the subject within the image to your liking then crop the rest away.



Multi-row  If you have a panoramic mounting system, the vertical slide can be used to create a multi-row panorama by shifting the camera up or down to create another layer of, or more, images. If you try this without a sliding support system, the tilting of the camera up or down will introduce perspective distortion and create a difficult solution for the stitching process; however, some modern software can handle this, so you might want to give it a try.

What is a vertical slide? I have a Nodal Ninja that I am using an need to tilt the camera for multi row.  I assume this is also used for verticle pano?







Hi Don,

Thanks for reading and thanks for the 360-degree tip!

Regarding the vertical slide, some of the panoramic mounts allow the camera to slide up and down vertically without tilting, almost like a shift lens, to allow vertical perspective change without introducing distortion.

Some mounts allow multi-row panos differently and some handle the distortion automatically in post processing. Your version of the Nodal Ninja might have specific instructions for how to best do a multi-row pano.

Thanks for reading!

Excellent articucle! Very usefull! Thank´s a lot!

Thank you for reading, Javier!

Wow! this article stirred up a lot of interest!

On printing panoramics:

I use an Epson R2400 with roll paper and have made a few up to about 36" long on 13" paper. Recently I upgraded to the new Photoshop and their driver allowed me to make a print 11" high and109" long. Gorgeous!

Hey C.H.!

Yep, it looks like we have lots of panoramic photographers lurking around the B&H website! Good stuff!

Thanks for sharing the printing info!

hey what are some budget but not too bad printers for printing panoramas? i can't find them on internet and i dont know what to look for either. i want to print panoramas on thick glossy paper which are very wide say around 1 meter wide and 30-40 centimeter tall for posting on wall as home decor. 


Hey Asif,

Sorry for the delay in replying. I would contact us by email or use the chat feature to have a knowledgeable salesperson walk you through the current options as they will be more helpful than I!

There is a Chat button at the bottom of this page, as well.

Please let me know if you have difficulty connecting with someone!



Excellent article. The local camera club Show-n-Tell theme for one month was Panoramas. Initially, I was going to leave it to the digital and PhotoShop guys, but I found that Corel Paint Shop Pro supports creating panoramas and I asked myself "Why not?"

I agree! Full manual! It made sense to me that I didn't want the aperture or shutter speed changing. My camera, a Canon A-1, doesn't support Auto ISO or Auto White Balance, my choice for ISO and white balance is decided by the film. I used a tripod and leveled it; I chose about 10° overlap on the horizontal coverage for my 28mm lens.

Below is the better from two locations; the one above the dam had too much dynamics in clouds and waves. Canon A-1, FD 28mm f2.8 (bought used from B&H), Kodak Ektar 100.

Hey Ralph,

Thanks for reading again!

All manual, yes. But you might want to change shutter speed, depending on the subject matter, and leave the aperture alone to get a consistent exposure across the panoramic.

Great shot!


Well written article.  Will you do one on photographing groups of people and/or objects in the foreground?

I've had to do this at family reunions, and university events.  In a nutshell, the individuals have to be nearly equal distant from the camera to maintain the same scale.  Each person has to be able to see the photographer and vise versa.  Large groups may have to have two or three rows and those in back need to be elevated.  Some arranging has to be done.  

The hardest part is to keep the participants in two adjacent frames completely still.  Movement, as you said makes for difficult manual stitching.  Using a normal to telephoto lens is important to avoid the distortion in legs and feet, and the background above and behind the participant's faces.  A blue sky is a great background.  Some of it can be cropped. Shooting out side gives the photographer more space to use a longer lens, but Indoors is doable, but not perfectly. 

Hey Richard,

I don't know if I can fill an entire article on this topic, but the challenge is to get everyone to freeze while you take the shots. Those on the "border" need to be precisely still.

I remember in grade school we did a class photo on a row of bleachers. A gentleman came out with a panoramic camera that scanned the crowd from left to right onto film. The cool part that I remember is that he had a student on the left edge of the image  sprint behind the bleachers and then rejoin the crowd on the right side as the camera panned. Then, in the final image, there were two of him in the photo.

A fun trick back in the days of film; super easy to do digitally these days!

Another key might be to get your camera setup perfected before the crowds arrive so that you can work faster and keep people's interest. Also, take a few as people inevitably blink or make ridiculous faces in one pano, but not the others.

I hope this helps. Thanks for reading!

Hi guys,

I've found this article and the responses very helpful. I'm preparing to photograph a group of about 700 people arranged on bleechers. My challenge is should the bleechers be arranged straight/flat or curved at an angle to maintain equal distance from the camera position. I'll be grateful if you can respond to this

Hey Tega,

Great question. In my experience with having my photograph taken on bleachers, they were always straight/perpendicular to the camera's center position.

Thinking about it, there are probably advantages to curving the bleachers around the camera position and I suppose you could also center the camera on each section of bleachers and leave them straight. Let me ask around B&H to see if anyone has other ideas. Thanks for reading!

I disagree on your assertion to always pan left to right. My Sonys allow you to change the direction of the pan left-to-right or right-to-left.

Hey Pete,

Yep, I have heard that (after publishing) about the Sony camera's embrace of the ambidextrous panoramic photographer's preference! We will update the article soon to correct it.

Thanks for reading and thanks for keeping us straight!

Great article!

I like the photo "Crashing surf panoramic, taken with a Sony NEX-6" by Nick McGuire.  Any idea on how Nick made a panorama where the wave is constanly moving and changing across the various shots? The article mentions the trick on confining a moving object to one frame, but Nick seems to have found another way.

I have read of a setup where the photographer mounted 6 cheap P&S cameras to a board each with a fixed orientation so take 6 simultaneous shots that could be merged.  Any moving object would be captured at the same instant.



Hi Drew 

I have that problem all the time in my ocean shots. I usually never use the in camera panoramic modes and stitch it together afterward in Photoshop and try to blend the water panels as best I can:) With the shot you mentioned the stars aligned and there is very little blending done post stitching.

I haven't seen that mount but it sounds to complex for me. Personally I hate waiting for 1 or 2 memory cards to download let alone 3 times that but thats just me lol. 

Hey Drew! I forwarded your question to Nick and he replied below. We are glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for reading!

The sequence of photos depends on the panorama software, and the software I know doesn't care whether it's left-to-right, right-to-left, or even out of order (like 2 left, one right, 2 left, etc).  Good pano software can also make up for the lack of perfectly level mounting, though it can lessen the height of the resulting panorama.  One of my most popular panoramas is over 50 years old, taken when I was a boy with a simple 35 mm camera:…  I certainly didn't consider the orientation when I took it.

You are correct, Greg. Some cameras, and a lot of modern software allows panning in either direction. We have corrected that portion of the article to reflect the fact that I learned something new! 

Thanks for reading!

Great article.  If you pan from left to right, your panoramas will be much more evident in a thumbnail file.


Great point, Verne! I just learned (after writing this piece) that some cameras and software allow right-to-left panning. But your point about the thumbnails definitely encourages left-to-right panning!

Thanks for reading!

Question:  What about printing the final image?

Hi W.,

There are a lot of options for printing. Some custom printers allow rolls of photo paper for making very long prints. I personally sent my panoramics to a big box store's photo lab where their maximum print size is 20x30". You upload the image just like any other "regular" photo. When they print it, there is a lot of white border to the top and bottom of the image, but the panoramic gets to be almost 30" long - pretty big for a lot of walls in your home!

Thanks for reading and thanks for your question!

One way to cut cost is to create a two up file for the 20 x30 inch print.  If you want a 60 inch print cut your pan in half and print the left ont he top and right on the bottom.  The butt splice them on mounting board.

In addition, it just occured to me that one reason the pan should be created from left to right is that we read in that direction.  If one created a panoramic in two parts, wouldn't the left go on the top where people in the west start to read?  Just a thought for standarization.


Hey Richard,

Thanks for your printing tips! Also, there are some people that read from right to left, but I consider myself a bit old-school and shoot panos from left-to-right. It feels strange to do it the other way.

One reader mentioned how the L-to-R panoramic allows you to view them more "easily" in preview grids. Great tip there!

Thanks for reading!

Microsoft has a FREE downloadable program called Image Composite Editor (ICE).  It works very well - even when the photos are not lined up so great.  I've used it on photos I've taken that were not specifically made to be panoramic.  To your comment about left to right - it doesn't matter with ICE (and probably others, I'm not sure.)  I do like your suggestion to take the pics in vertical mode.  It gives more latitude when cropping - especially when the pics are not lined up so great.

Thanks for sharing the information on ICE! It seems like this is a popular program amongst readers.

Thanks for reading, Robert!

Good, to-the-point article.

I would only add two comments for consideration:

1- Best FREE pano stitching software is Microsoft ICE.

2- After a while when you feel good about pano taking, try taking high-dynamic-range panos (vertical and horizontal). I use Photomatix on my HDRs, touch-up with Photoshop, and then lastly apply Microsoft ICE. I shoot JPGs instead of RAW...saves much agony and time.


I can't comment on Microsoft ICE, because it doesn't work on my computer, but the favourite free software stitcher is doubtless Hugin, which runs on all computers.

Thanks for reading and sharing the link, Greg!

Thanks for input on Hugin. I'll give it a try. I'll send to my friend who has a MAC (I assume that's what you have), since ICE doesn't work on MACs.

Hey Peter,

Thanks for reading and sharing the tips. ICE is getting a lot of votes here in the comments!

I can see why...very easy to download.

 I tried several times to download Hugins to no avail. I'll stick with ICE.

Thanks for reading and sharing, Greg!

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