How to Take Great Panoramic Shots

Panoramic images can really enhance your still photo tours or interactive virtual tours—and of course, the better the shot, the better the finished virtual tour. There are actually several ways you can take panoramic pictures. You may have the RTV virtual tour software system with Panohead and photo stitching software, you may have a camera with panoramic mode, or a ball attachment that lets you take 360-degree shots.

Whatever type of camera or method you use, here’s how to take terrific panoramic shots. You’ll need a tripod, a camera with panoramic mode or manual mode, and a regular (not wide-angle) lens—since wide angles create distortion at the edges of a photo.

Choose a time and place without motion
For the best results with panoramic photos, take pictures of the property or business at a time when there isn’t likely to be a lot of motion. Moving people, cars, and even trees blowing in the wind can be problematic for panoramic images, because movement creates blurring and places objects in different spots for subsequent pictures.

Setting up for the job
Use a level surface to mount your tripod, which should be sturdy enough so that it won’t be bumped or moved by the wind, or by you as you’re photographing. If you’re in deep carpet take care not to step too close to the tripod legs. Begin taking your photos from left to right if you’re using a panohead and if you’re using an internal stitcher in your camera be sure to set the camera to panoramic mode. 

Once the camera is positioned, use a leveling tool to ensure that it’s perfectly horizontal. You can use an actual level, or download a free level app for your smartphone.

Taking the pictures
Snap the first shot from the camera’s position, and then move the camera smoothly to the next part of the scene using the tripod handle or panohead. Take care to avoid bumping or jostling the camera or tripod. If you are using panoramic mode on your camera be sure to go slowly and take pictures with some overlap between each shot. This not only keeps you from leaving out part of the scene, but also helps to prevent the distortion that can occur around the edges of the photos. If you’re not using a rotator or panohead, begin each new shot with about 1/3 of the previous scene included.  If you are using a panohead simply take one photo at every click of the head to assure perfect accuracy. 

Completing your panoramic image
With panoramic mode, you won’t need to make any more adjustments—but you may want to take a second or third series of shots, so you can choose the best group for use in your virtual tour.
For regular images, you’ll need a software program that lets you stitch them together in a panorama, such as RTV’s Fusion HD+ or FusionMax X3. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more about this powerful virtual tour creation software.

Team RTV
Virtual Tour Software & Digital Marketing Training
Order a virtual tour – 866-947-8687