How to shoot a perfect panning shot?

Panning is just following a moving subject with the camera either horizontally or vertically or in any direction to get the moving subject sharp and blurring effect in the background. This is one of the ways you can establish the effect of motion in a still picture. You can try this in wild life, wedding, sports, children and industrial photography.

panning 03

  1. Shoot in shutter priority exposure mode. Slow shutter speeds could give great panning effect – choose shutter speeds like, 1/30, 1/45, 1/60
  2. Follow the subjects that move relatively slow – slow moving vehicles or people or anything can give an easy panning effect.panning 04
  3. Use AF – Servo or AF-C auto focusing mode
  4. Use continuous shooting/drive mode
  5. Follow the subject as it approaches the camera, but shoot when it is just parallel to the camera.panning 01
  6. Choose to shoot subjects moving fairly closer the camera – may be 10 to 15 feet distance would be fine
  7. Try getting the full subject without cropping for an interesting compositionpanning 02
  8. Keep your legs little apart and hold the camera steady. Move only the upper part of your body (above the waist) to follow the moving subject.
  9. Choose a background with some patterns – trees, buildings, large group of people etc. Avoid plain and flat backgrounds.
  10. Check the exposure for the subject and the background by shooting few test shot. Use exposure compensation if needed.panning 05

How to shoot simple panorama?

Panoramas are not just wide-angle shots cropped horizontally. They are a set of images of a large scene shot in a sequence and stitched perfectly using the image editing software. These panoramas are either horizontal or vertical. They can be shot both in the outdoors and in the indoors. This final image as a panorama can show the details of the scene without any unwanted perspective distortion.

Panorama illustration

  1. Use a tripod preferably to perfectly align the subject evenly – the space of the sky and land
  2. Find the most center of the scene and position the camera – check the overall panorama is aligned evenly from the center.
  3. Avoid objects that are too close to the camera.
  4. Keep the aperture constant in all the shots – may be you can shoot in either aperture priority or Manual exposure modes.
  5. Preferably use manual focus and carefully focus at a 1/3rd distance of the scene from the camera.
  6. Avoid shooting in wide-angle lenses. Use 100mm or little less focal length on full frame sensor DSLR cameras and 55mm on cropped sensor DSLR cameras for perfect stitching in the software.
  7. Include the last 1/3rd of the frame as the first 1/3rd of the next frame. ie. Include the last 30% of the previous frame as the first 30% of the next frame. This will facilitate smooth stitching.
  8. Compose every frame little loose. This will give scope for cropping the final stitched panorama without sacrificing the main subject.

    Interior Panorama of a restaurant

    Interior Panorama of a restaurant

  9. If there are moving subjects like people or vehicles, check that they are not included in multiple frames.
  10. You can include as many frames as possible depending on the area included in the panorama. A 360 degree panorama is also possible.
  11. If you are shooting in RAW, process all the images of the panorama alike. You can do the final image correction after the set of images are stitched together.
  12. Remember that the file size of a stitched panorama will be really huge – the multiples of the individual file size. Check if your laptop/desktop could really handle it.
  13. Open the selected set of images in Photoshop. File>Automate>Photomerge. Select the Auto merging options and set OK. Relax…. the software beautifully stitches the images into a panorama.
  14. Save the file as JPEG quality and process it in Camera RAW/photoshop for further effective results. You may need to adjust the brightness, contrast and colour in the selective areas of the final panorama. Over all cropping and cloning in some areas of the panorama may be required some times.
Tanjore Periyakoil Panorama

Tanjore Brihadeeshwarar Temple, Tamilnadu, India

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What and how to shoot in Black and White?

Ancient stone sculpture

Stone chain at Varadaraja Perumal Temple, Kanchipuram

  1. Learn to see the scene /subject in black & white – convert the colors in to its closer tones of grey and visualize
  2. Justify if the black and white conversion is not taking away any important colour information of image.
  3. Prefer to shoot subjects with less color or single color in B & W – Ancient Indian temples are ideal subjects for B & W

    Street Vendor

    Street Vendor

  4. Emotions, character and expressions, depressions, sadness, loss, poverty, ecstasy, details of form, nudes, art, abstract, concepts, news (communicating horror, blasts, murder), old & antique things are some subjects and situations suitable for B & W photography
  5. Shoot in RAW and Jpeg quality. Set the picture control or picture style of the camera in ‘Monochrome’. This will give you a Jpeg image in B & W and the RAW will contain color data. The Jpeg image can be used for viewing in the camera for understanding the tones and exposure. RAW file can be processed in detail and converted in B & W.

    potter at work

    Potter at work

  6. The contrast adjustment needs to be handled carefully in the post-production to retain the details in the shadows and highlights. Photo filters in the Photoshop can be used to manage the brightness and details in the particular colour for an effective tone and details in B & W image.
  7. Use Polarizing filters and/or ‘white balance shift’ control of the DSLR to increase amber to darken the sky. This will give a good separation of clouds in landscape and nature shots.


    Gangaikonda Cholapuram

  8. Add ‘film grains or noise effects’ for the feel of time in a B & W image. Vintage and antique subjects will look great with this effect.
  9. Though a B & W gives an aesthetic feel by default, never shoot all the pictures in B & W just like that. Color is very important for some subjects (imagine shooting rainbows, Holi and rangloli in black and white..!).
  10. A very badly underexposed/noisy/off shooting color images salvaged through Photoshop can be converted in to B & W to cover-up the technical problems

    clay pots

    Terracotta Pots