How to Take The Perfect Panoramic Picture on Your Phone

Since smartphones have inched their way into everyone’s pocket, the possibility of taking a beautiful panoramic photo is utterly tempting for anyone who passes by something interesting. But many times, instead of the crystal clear beauty of a professional panoramic scene, you may get glitched-up images with the ugliest frame-to-frame transitions you have ever seen. In your disappointment, you might even give up trying to take panoramic photos. I know how it feels, and I managed to create beautiful panoramas of my city by following a couple of steps I’d like to share with you.

1: Make Sure The Lighting Is Balanced


If you take a panorama and the photo seems to go very dark in some areas and excessively bright in others, you have a lighting issue to fix! For the perfect panorama, you need an environment that has a balanced amount of light. Aside from lighting, however, you also need to take into account the shape of your environment.

If you are taking a panorama of an artificially-lit hall, you’re going to experience lots of difficulties due to the different ways that light reflects from objects depending on the distance to the source. Your mileage may vary, though, depending on the color of both the light and the walls of the hallway. Most run-of-the-mill smartphone cameras are only good at taking panoramas in large symmetrical spaces (or outdoor environments) with very balanced lighting.

2: Is There Movement in Your Environment?


Panoramic pictures are formed by lacing a bunch of smaller images together into a whole. Basically, you turn in one direction and take a bunch of pictures that are glued together into a bigger one. In theory, this creates a perfectly seamless panorama. However, when it comes to actually doing the task, lots of ugly things happen. Sometimes, there are many imperfections in your image.

Are there people in the environment you’re trying to photograph? If there are, and they’re walking around, you’re going to keep seeing imperfections and you can’t do much about it.

If there’s a lot of wind in the area, you’re likely going to see obvious transitions where one half of a tree will be juxtapositioned over another half that’s in a different “posture.” This will create visible seams in your image. Pick a less windy moment to do this next time.

3: Keep Your Hands Steady!


No matter how good your phone’s motion sensor will be, your hands will need to help it take adequate and clear pictures. This is where a phone with a fast shutter comes handy. But even with fast shutters, your hands may make small millimeter-sized twitches once in awhile. This makes a lot of difference, since the app you’re using to take panoramas will take a little time to send the shutter a signal after detecting that the phone’s position is proper. You must either train your hands to be unbelievably steady, or figure out a way to mount your phone onto a stable turning surface.

4: Learn to Move Your Feet Properly

Again, if you don’t have a tripod or something that you can mount your phone onto, you’ll have to rely on your feet. Keep them steady and make little movements with your feet that seldom involve the knees. Never move them further than a few inches apart. Keep twisting one foot after the other while turning and try to stay on the same spot, if possible. This way, you’re not getting pictures of objects that are closer or farther than they should be.

Now You’re Ready!

While you’re enjoying the experience of taking panoramic photos, keep these pieces of advice in mind. The more you experiment with them, the clearer your panoramas will be! Got any other advice to add? Add a comment below!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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