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Taking the Photos

  1. Press your shutter button halfway down to set your exposure. Then look in your viewfinder and make note of the f-stop and shutter speed.
  2. Switch your camera to manual mode and dial in the f-stop and shutter speed you noted in step 1 (see Figure 2). If you don’t, and you shoot in an auto-exposure mode of any kind, your exposure may (will) change for one or more of the segments, and this will drive you insane when working in Photoshop.
  3. Once you focus on the first segment, turn off auto-focus for your lens. That way, your camera doesn’t refocus as you shoot the different segments, which would be (will be) very bad.
  4. Before you shoot your first segment, shoot one shot with your finger in front of the lens—that way, you’ll know where your pano starts. Do it again after the last shot.
  5. Overlap each segment by 20–25%. That’s right—make sure that about 1/4 of your first shot appears in the second shot. Each segment needs to overlap by at least 20% so Photoshop’s stitching software can match things up. This is very important.
  6. Shoot fairly quickly, especially if clouds are moving behind your landscape. Don’t be lollygagging for two minutes between each shot, or something could change (lighting, clouds, etc.) in your pano, which will really mess things up.
  7. Use a shutter release, or at the very least a self-timer, so you don’t have any camera movement as you’re shooting each segment. Nothing’s worse than one segment that’s blurry.
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