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This chapter is from the book

How to Shoot a Panorama That Works

In volume 1 of this book, I gave you the seven or so things you needed to do to shoot a wide panoramic image that would actually stitch together seamlessly inside Adobe Photoshop CS or CS2. It absolutely required you to shoot on a tripod (no exceptions), and switch your camera to manual mode, and your focus to manual, and a few other critical setting changes, and if you followed each and every one to the letter, Photoshop would do a pretty decent job of stitching your panorama together. But, that all changed with the introduction of Photoshop CS3. Its built-in panorama-stitching feature is so incredibly brilliant that you can literally throw out every rule from volume 1, except one. Now you can handhold your shots (no problem), use program mode or aperture priority (or whatever mode you like), you can leave your white balance set to Auto (or whatever you like), and you can pretty much just point-and-shoot, as long as you do just one thing: overlap each shot by around 20%. So, for example, if you’re shooting a wide panorama, you’d start from left to right, taking one shot—let’s say there’s a tree on the far right side of your frame when you take that shot—then, when you move your camera over to take the next shot, that same tree should now be in the far left of your frame (so you’re overlapping by at least 20%, as shown above). That’s the key—overlapping—so I take a shot, move to the right, take another, and another (I’ve shot as few as three photos to make a pano and as many as 22), and Photoshop will put them together into one nice, wide pano for me (simply because I overlapped by around 20%).

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