How to Shoot & Process Panoramas

The Joys of Multi-Shot Panoramas

By: Lee Varis

I did a presentation about shooting and processing panoramas, for Fujifilm, at PhotoPlus Expo 2015 this past October. I have recorded a video of that presentation for this blog post, and you’ll find the whole presentation at the end of this post. First however, I’d like to examine my shooting technique in detail.

The ideal technique requires the use of a tripod—preferably one with a special pan head— when shooting for multi-shot panoramas. However, I find that opportunities for shooting panoramas often present themselves when I do not have a tripod with me. So… I have developed the following hand-held shooting technique. The key is to pivot around the camera as much as possible when panning. Observe the following illustration:


Assume a normal stance with the camera up to your eye—this should place the camera directly over your forward foot.

The technique is to pivot on the ball of the front foot when panning the camera (making sure you overlap subsequent frames by at least 33%…


Pivot over the ball of the from foot, moving your rear leg around the outside of the circle.

This approach keeps the camera more or less in the same place…


You want to move around the camera as much as possible, such that the camera pivots around its center during the panning action.

YOU SHOULD NOT pan at your waist while looking at the LCD on the back of the camera—the camera will arc through space, and this displacement can cause problems for the software stitching process later on!

CameraPan (1)


Here is the complete presentation, as delivered at PhotoPlus Expo in New York:


BPSOP Instructor: Lee Varis

Lee Teaches: 

Photoshop Layers Fundamentals: Selections, Masks, and Adjustments 

Portrait Retouching Fundamentals in Photoshop

“I just wanted to thank you for another wonderful class. I have to confess that each week when I read the new assignment, my first reaction was mild panic and a deep certainty that I would not be able to produce anything worthwhile that fit within the parameters you had set. But before I knew it, the ideas started to flow, and I quickly became obsessed (no, that isn’t too strong a word!) with exploring the possibilities. I can honestly say that the photos I produced in response to your assignments are among my favorites. Thanks for bringing out a creative side I didn’t know I had!”

Barbara Geiger
Understanding Color

“Thank you so very much for this course! It’s allowed me to take the blinders off and present my images for what I want them to be without being a slave to the “reality” of the camera. I would also add that in conjunction with your printing course, this has been the most useful course I’ve ever taken. Your notes are more than comprehensive and your comments and critiques are direct, clear, and always directed to the improvement of the art.”

After the click

” I want to thank you for this class and for your patience and availability to answer all of my questions. I have learned very much through this class. I have used LR in the past, but mostly for editing images. I now have a better grasp in the organization of my images, an even better understanding of editing images, and an understanding of the value of presets. I still have a lot to learn, but this has put me on the road to be able to improve my photography. Again, thank you! ”

Dale Yates
Lightroom Quickstart

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