Timothy (Pano King) Poulton’s Top Ten tips for shooting Pano’s successfully.
Let me just say there are a million ways to shoot pano’s and whatever works for you is the right way.
This is a rough list that I have put together whenever I get asked the question, “How do you shoot panos”, and trust me I get asked a hell of a LOT!
Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need the right gear; companies like RRS, Novoflex, and Nodal Ninja to name but a few, haven’t built massive companies with tens of thousands of sales worldwide, for the fun of it. My complete kit costs over 20k and I wouldn’t get the results that I do, without it. I’ve spent time researching the best out there, to optimise my setup to shoot. The right pano head takes all the hassle out of guessing. Doctor Google will help you find the right one for you.
Now I’m not going to tell you all the basic settings, but if you’d rocked up to a car lot looking to buy your first car, get the one with the manual gearbox and drive it like you stole it. Like anything in life, the more practice, the better you’ll become.
Just because you started shooting pano’s doesn’t mean you have to change your approach. Except for a few set-up changes, I still shoot like I’m shooting wide-angle single frames. Speed is another factor, I can set up my kit and be shooting my first frame in less than 45 seconds, anyone that can beat that time I’ll shout you beers all night.
Get to the location before anyone else, the last thing you want is a bunch of muppets in the frame just because you struggled to get you lazy arse out of bed. And tell everyone around you that you’ll be shooting pano’s and if they get in the way, look out!
Think about the audience viewing your work, put them in the scene, contrary to what everyone says about shooting landscapes for themselves, we do this for people to admire our work and get hits on social media; bums on seats right!
Timing is everything when it comes to shooting pano’s and I’m not talking about golden hour either, I’m talking about shifts in light, shadows and colour, nothing is going to ruin a sweet pano than massive variation in your frames.
Unless you’re after than mega wide, 360º “little planet” rubbish, keep it simple and within your field of vision, remember the wider you go the more distortion and curvature you’ll get in the final result.
Make sure you check all the settings on the camera, many times I’ve been out shooting with a crew for astro or even a little candid work and the ISO is left at one million or they decided to shoot in Jpeg mode, nothing is worse than capturing that epic scene to only find later you fucked up the settings.
Epic shots come from epic effort, there are no shortcuts. The next time I hear someone say you don’t need to travel to get the epic shots I’ll knock them on the head and send them off to the passport office to get a life. New, stunning locations not only keeps the audience interested, it will inspire you to strive for the better, learn and create more interesting images!
Finally, anyone feels like disagreeing with me on any of this or giving me pathetic constructive criticism can #EABOD
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