- Capture and Print Panoramic Photos
- Using Camera Modes for Panoramic Photos
- Print Panoramic Photos from a Smartphone
- Special Camera Gear for the Best Panoramic Photos
- Where to Print Panoramic Photos
- Recommended Photography Gear
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When made correctly, panoramic photos are some of the most interesting images. The good thing is it’s simple to make and print panoramic photos you can proudly show others.
Once you create your images, printing panoramic photos is as straightforward as printing any other images, provided the printing company you use can handle the non-standard sizes and aspect ratios of panoramic photos.
I’ll discuss the various methods you can use to create panoramic photos and give tips on where to print them and some equipment choices for capturing the images.
Table of Contents:
Capture and Print Panoramic Photos
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What are panoramic photos, and why should I print them? These are two top questions; the answers will likely inspire you to create and print panoramic photos yourself.
Panoramic photos have a wide aspect ratio and tend to show an expansive view of a scene compared to the standard sizes of prints.
A Full Frame format image has a native aspect ratio of 3:2, which is why the standard print size was 4x6 inches when film and paper were common. Other print sizes that have survived the transition from film to digital are 8x10, 8x12, 11x14, 16x20, 16x24, 24x36 inches, and so on, which are either 3:2 aspect ratio or very close to it.
The resulting images are squatty rectangles, whether viewed as a physical print or digitally on a screen. Whether seen as vertical or horizontal, the rectangle is not very wide.
Most panoramic photos have an aspect ratio in which the long side is quite a bit longer than the picture's height. One side of a panoramic photo is usually at least twice as long as the other. With some panoramic photos, the image can be very long. Using the proper gear, views of 360 degrees can be captured and printed.
You should print panoramic photos as physical enlargements to view the images best. While they can be seen and appreciated in electronic format on a smartphone or tablet, nothing beats seeing a full-sized physical print enlargement in person.
I like to get my panoramic photos printed in a style without framing, such as metal or acrylic prints. This allows the image to stand alone without the distraction of mattes or frames.
Using Camera Modes for Panoramic Photos
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Making and printing panoramic prints is more than simply having a wide aspect ratio. Point of view (POV) also comes into play. Otherwise, I could simply crop in the aspect ratio and have a long, skinny image of a normal perspective image capture.
In order to obtain that expansive view, we need to move our camera from one point of view to another, pivoting on an axis so that the POV is from one vantage point.
Many cameras have a mode that lets you create and print panoramic photos without any special gear. The mode takes multiple frames while you pan across or rotate the field of view, automatically stitching the frames into one large file with a panoramic aspect ratio. With some cameras, you don’t need a tripod for this mode.
Using these auto or semi-automatic modes is a great way to start creating panoramas. Depending on what your camera model has pre-programmed as a panoramic image, you can print panoramic photos taken with these modes in several different aspect ratios.
Print Panoramic Photos from a Smartphone
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You can also print panoramic photos from many more sophisticated smartphones, such as a Galaxy phone, a Google Pixel, or an iPhone.
The modes and aspect ratios are similar to those on a DSLR or mirrorless camera. Plus, with mobile printing, you can send it directly to your personal printer or an online printing company without any extra processing.
Special Camera Gear for the Best Panoramic Photos
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You will want to invest in specialty camera gear and a good post-processing program to print panoramic photos that are very wide in aspect ratio, very sharp, and with non-distorted views.
A wide-angle lens and a nodal point camera mount are the two top items used by pros to print panoramic photos.
Let’s look at the nodal point mount first. For the sharpest panoramic photos with zero distortion, you want to make your camera POV swing around or rotate on the lens's nodal point. The mount is adjusted for your camera and lens combination so that the lens's nodal point (usually marked on the lens by a ring of color) is the axis for moving the camera around to capture multiple frames.
Using a high-quality wide-angle lens, even a fisheye lens, allows you to take fewer image files, which will be combined in a process called stitching. I find that 180-degree fisheye lenses are great for 180-degree and 360-degree panoramic photos, while less extreme wide-angle lenses are excellent for less extreme but still expansive views.
Here is an excellent video explaining how and why this all works from 360 Vroomers on their YouTube channel:
You take the resulting image files and then use a post-processing program to stitch them together into one file.
With a program that allows stitching, you can even create a virtual tour image file in which the viewer on a digital device can move around in the picture. This is a fantastic offering for a real estate or commercial advertising photographer.
That’s a very special use, though. With any of the methods I listed above, you can make impressive landscapes, cityscapes, beach scenes, and even group portraits that look great as a wall-display panoramic photo.
Where to Print Panoramic Photos
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To print panoramic photos that are truly spectacular, you should use a high-quality printing company and a specialty process, such as metal or acrylic prints.
I use Artbeat Studios for several reasons. One huge reason is that Artbeat Studios will print in custom sizes. They already have some sizes in their regular offerings for printing panoramic photos, such as 10x20”, 30x60”, and the mind-blowing 48x96” as acrylic prints.
With their custom sizing, you can print panoramic photos in virtually any size you want. To do so, go to their acrylic prints ordering page, upload your image file, and create a custom order.
Acrylic prints are perfect for jaw-dropping, eye-popping panoramic prints with a definite WOW factor. Made from optical grade materials, these prints are also archival, keeping the colors and sharpness you captured for decades.
Once you print panoramic photos of your own, you’ll want to keep creating these stunning images. Panoramic photos are useful for art photography of landscapes, architecture, or whatever you enjoy photographing. You can also add them to your photography business packages.
Try it out for yourself!