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Home > Blogs > Photography 101: Tips for Better Smartphone Panorama Photos

As mobile photography - smartphone photography - has gotten better and better, the advance of easy to shoot panorama photography has crept into the mobile photo landscape. With this in mind, we want to take this time to highlight some tips for taking cool panoramic mobile photos.

1. Choose An Interesting Subject

While this one seems obvious, it is more so meaningful with panoramic photos. The reason for this is simple: more landscape for the eye to traverse. In a typical photo, your eyes aren't scanning an extended width of a photo looking for detail. With panoramic photos however, that scanning is exactly what your eyes are doing. Just as you might use distinctive lines to draw the eye in a normal photo, having a sense of how the eye will travel over your panoramic photo is a good idea when shooting.

Find an interesting subject which will draw the eye easily.

2. Bookend the Panorama

One of the best ways to focus the eyes of your viewer when taking a panoramic photo is to bookend your picture with a constant at either end. In the photo above, that constant is the fence, sidewalk and trees on the Hoboken pier. Not only does the bookend allow the viewer to focus on the center of the image with greater clarity, it also inherently directs your viewer where to look. By providing a bookend for your image, the photo gains balance on both ends boosting the prominence of the image intended to be in focus.

Bookend your panoramic images for clarity, focus and prominence.

3. Center and Constant

Part of the fun of a panoramic image is the ability to break it into distinctive sections while at the same time grounding it with a constant. In the image above, the tree in the middle of the frame provides a clear break between left and right while at the same time, the double constant in the stone statue signals a full 360 turn has been completed. These elements break up the image for dissection and bring it together for cohesion.

Break up your photo. Give it a constant.

4. Nix the 360 Degree Take

The entire idea of a panoramic photo is 360 degrees. A full circular take of the world around you. While this image type is wonderful, the end result is a very long, very narrow image which, due to its format, can take away from clarity and detail. For this reason, instead of taking a full 360 panoramic, choosing to limit the panorama to 180 degrees or less will greatly increase clarity and detail of image.

Nix the 360 degree shot.

5. Choose Sides

This is another matter of framing. As a panoramic photo inherently lets you show a larger landscape, one of the cool parts of shooting is catching two wholly different elements in the same photo side by side. In this case, the photo above is water and skyline on the left matched with park and green on the right. In a way, this type of mobile smartphone photography mimics what many mobile photographers do with apps like Pic Stitch. The only difference, no additional app is needed outside of your cameras panoramic function.

Shoot two different elements in one image.

6. Play with Depth

Lastly, play with depth. The photo above is of the Hoboken Train Terminal both leading into Hoboken, NJ and down into the NJ/NYC Path System. The image shows both side of the terminal yet more specfically, it draws the eye of the viewer into the photo by showing the depth of the station in both sides and towards the center. By creating a field of depth, the photo invites viewers into the frame to explore the area. Depth beckons the viewer into the frame.

Add and play with depth.

If you have any tips for taking better smartphone panoramic photos, leave your thoughts in the comments.

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