What Makes a Good Panoramic Image?
Neah Bay Harbor WA,6:1, 8 shots stitched. (Click to view larger image)
Brooklyn Bridge., 3.5:1. (Click to view larger image)
Alpine Chapel, 2.5:1. (Click to view larger image)
North Dakota Bison, 2:1.
Wyoming Rancher, 2:1.
Base Jumper, 2:1 vertical pano.
- Good panos use the wide aspect ratio to constrain our vision – and that has to be done for some positive reason, like improving the story-telling or the impact, or the composition of the image.
- Good panos move from some place, to some place. Alternatively, they focus on a specific subject.
- Good panos don’t make subjects feel cramped when they shouldn’t be (as in Figure 3). But they do limit surrounding space — if that’s used well, good pano, if not, bad pano.
- Good panos, like any good photo, tell a good story.
- The panoramic format helps the viewer concentrate on what’s important in the image, by limiting distractions and helping the eye go where you want it to.
- The basic structure of the image is horizontal (or vertical for vertical panos). Horizontal shapes, horizontal lines, stripes, striations, and patterns all work in horizontal panos.
- A basically vertical subject is squished into a strongly horizontal frame. NEVER try to force vertical subjects or stories into a horizontal pano.
- It’s one thing to use aspect ratio to constrict the eye’s tendency to roam, and another to squeeze things so tight the subject is camped.
- Eliminating context, background, and negative space to no purpose.
- Just because an image is 2:1 or wider, doesn't automatically make it a good example of a panoramic image, as in the example below...
|Washington pick-em-up truck, 2:1.|
|2.5:1 Still not a pano.|
Eric K. Hatch focuses on travel and fine art photography, and is an expert in digital photo restoration. Panoramas are currently one of his favorite photographic forms. He has won numerous regional awards and a number of competitions. His work has appeared in several AAA magazines, Oxygen Magazine, Bicycling, Alaska Milepost (annual) and Wooden Boat, to name a few. He has served on the board of the Southwest Ohio Professional Photographers Association, an affiliate of the Professional Photographers of America.
Eric has also written over 70 articles, essays, speeches, features, and professional articles in the last 30 years. His work has won two national awards: a Gold Quill from the International Association of Business Communicators, and Communicator of the Year from the Aviation/Space Writers Association.
In his youth, Eric studied under Guido Organschi, and later under Skip Schiel. He is the author of Explorations in Photography, Adventures and Advice for Advanced Amateur Photographers, which was recently released.
Explorations in Photography is an entertaining and informative how-to for advanced amateur photographers. The book covers artistic issues, explains some fundamental technical issues, and provides many hints from buying equipment to editing your photos. It also covers taking people pictures outdoors, handling nasty lighting situations, and includes a bonus chapter discussing photo restoration. Find it on Amazon here.
General Portfolio- http://ekhphoto.smugmug.com
Photo restoration- http://www.hatchphotofix.com