Creating panoramic photos is a fun and easy way to add to your repertoire. In fact, once you learn how easy it is you might even become addicted as many have. The definition of a panorama is an image that has a 2:1 or greater ratio of sides, though ratios up to 3:1 are considered to be the most visually pleasing. Even so, it is not uncommon to see panos that have a 4:1 or even greater ratio.
Good panoramas begin in the camera. While it may seem logical to record the subject using horizontal orientation of the camera, a vertical orientation will usually provide better results. The first choice is whether to use a tripod or record the images handheld. It depends on the purpose of the photo. For anything critical, such as an architectural assignment for which I am being paid, I use a tripod and a bubble level for precise alignment. For anything personal, such as Silvergate Bridge, which I am using as my example in this article, I almost always work handheld.
To begin, set your focus and light meter on manual. As you move across the scene you want your focus to remain at the same distance so that the background, middle ground, and foreground maintain the same degree of focus throughout. If the exposure changes from one frame to the next, compensate by changing the shutter speed only; never change the aperture, as this will alter the depth of field.
One more suggestion: begin any panoramic sequence by photographing either an X-Rite ColorChecker Passport or your hand. The Passport will allow you to standardize the color temperature in Lightroom (LR). No Passport? Then at least photograph your hand stretched out in front of the lens. You won’t be able to use it for accurate color balance but if you repeat this at the end of your sequence it will allow you to know where the sequence both begins and ends.