Making Panoramic Imagery

Have you wondered how I make my panoramic images and wanted to start making your own? Would you like to get a head start and avoid wasting many hours trying to follow instructions you found on the web? I offer two courses, a) an introductory course for people new to taking and making panoramas, and b) an advanced course for people wanting to improve their panoramic images. Courses can be for small groups of up to 8 students, or else individual tuition can also be arranged for a more personalised touch.

Panoramic imaging is an advanced technique in itself so it is highly recommended that you be reasonably familiar with conventional photography. Basic photography courses can be arranged in addition to the panoramic classes, or else I can recommend other photography classes to get you up to speed.

A. Introduction to Panoramic Imaging

The course would suit intermediate to advanced photographers new to the technique who would like to learn the latest digital techniques for taking, assembling, and outputting panoramas using powerful, yet free (open source) software.

Learning Outcomes

  • Familiarity with different types of panoramic photos and techniques
  • Ability to select suitable equipment, heads, tripods, cameras, lenses
  • Ability to set up equipment to avoid parallax error
  • Ability to take suitable source imagery
  • Ability to import, assemble and align source images
  • Ability to present finished panorama
  • Ability to create a cylindrical panorama, and ideally a spherical panorama

Syllabus

  • Overview of panoramic imaging
  • Background and history of panoramic photography
  • Principles of mosaic imaging
  • Taking Partial panoramas
  • RAW processing techniques for panorama assembly
  • Introduction to Hugin software
  • Geometric alignment, assembly and optimisation of source imagery
  • Photometric alignment
  • Panorama output, remapping
  • Making 360 degree (spherical) panoramas
  • Interactive display of spherical panoramas with Panozona

Required Equipment

  • Good quality digital camera, DSLR or ILC/CSC recommended
  • Wide angle lens, 28mm (35mm film equivalent) or wider preferable
  • Stable tripod
  • Computer/laptop suitable for running Hugin (PC, Mac, Linux)
  • Image processing software, e.g. Photoshop, Picture Windows Pro, GIMP

Pre-requisite Skills

  • RAW image development
  • Reasonable grasp of imaging fundamentals, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure
  • Familiarity with basic digital image processing, import/export images, curves/levels, white balance, sharpening

Desirable Skills and Equipment

  • Spatial reasoning
  • Imagination and creativity
  • Panorama head (e.g. Nodal Ninja)
  • Fisheye lens

Course Duration and Costs

  • Single day intensive, small group (8 people or fewer) £150 per person
  • Single day intensive tuition, individual £500, two people £400 each

A full day consists of a morning 2 hour session covering theory and examples, a 2 hour break for lunch and for people to apply the lessons learned in the morning to take example panoramas, finally followed by a 2 hour session covering source image development, assembly & alignment, output, and presentation of panoramas.

B. Advanced Panoramic Techniques

For photographer who are already able to produce panoramic images, this course will be a masterclass in advanced techniques. Available on an individual basis, 1 day £800.

  • HDR/Exposure blending for panoramas
  • Nadir techniques
  • Techniques for tricky stitching situations
  • Assembly and alignment tips
  • Advanced panorama post-processing techniques
  • Construction of virtual tours

C. Advanced Digital Photography Skills

New for 2013 is a tailored course for intermediate level students to learn advanced techniques in photography. The course is designed to elevate your photos from being “just snaps” to images which you can be proud of. This may suit people who may not yet satisfy the requirements for the above courses. An outline of the topics addressed:

  • Equipment choice
  • Visualisation and composition
  • Wide exposure capture (e.g. HDR)
  • RAW file development in Lightroom
  • Photographic post-processing for screen and print
  • Digital colour management and printing

Pre-requisites

  • Intermediate level photography, exposure/shutter/aperture/ISO, focus/depth of field, camera operation
  • Advanced digital camera, DSLR, micro 4/3rds, NX, NEX, Fuji-X or similar
  • Computer for digital photo editing

Course Duration and Costs

The course will be held in small groups of 4 to 8 and will consist of two half-day sessions over a weekend. Cost is £100 per person.

About the Teacher

I am an experienced teacher and regularly give presentations on panoramic imaging to photographic groups and societies. I aim to help the student understand the subject, not just provide a recipe to be blindly followed, so that they are able to apply their learning independently and creatively. The classes are a mixture of theory and example, but most importantly practical experience. Students will first learn the basic principles, see examples of their use, and then will put them into practice. Classes are kept small so that proper attention can be given to an individual needs. For that special touch, one-on-one or two-on-one tuition will allow an exclusively tailored experience.