Shooting for Stitched Panoramas & Avoiding Parallax Shift (Podcast 452)

Today I'm going to walk you through a few tips for shooting images to later stitch together to create high resolution panorama photographs. We're going to cover two methods for finding the No Parallax Point which helps with avoiding parallax shift, as well as looking at some easier methods of...

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
18 Comments
  • tOM, Ottawa
    Posted at 02:44h, 15 December Reply

    We don’t all have pano gimbal heads. U Might also mentioned using a focusing rail to center the nodal point over the center of rotation of the tripod head.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 17:37h, 16 December Reply

      Hi Tom,

      You know, I like to talk from my own experience, which is why I don’t necessarily cover all possibilities. Besides, not everyone has a focusing rail either, right? 🙂

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Rafael Rios Saavedra
    Posted at 02:39h, 17 December Reply

    First things first.
    Thank you for your podcasts, I quite follow them and I always found them quite interesting.

    For this topic I have a couple of questions:
    How importan is the parallax problem related with the distant to the subject you are taken pictures of ?. May be for the Mt. Fuji picture there is no difference.

    How much have the fixing of parallax shift increased the quality of the images ?.

    Thanks forehand.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:35h, 18 December Reply

      Thanks for following the Podcast Rafael.

      In the example photo, parallax errors would pose virtually no problem. Apart from anything else, it’s water, which is moving anyway, but even if it was solid ground, it would not really be an issue. Parallax become more of an issue when you have close foreground objects in the scene. When you do have close objects though, it makes stitching much more accurate, and you’ll see less artifacts where the software tries to match elements together.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Carey Riddell
    Posted at 11:29h, 18 December Reply

    A great podcast Martin, and thanks for the write up here on the site, will read it as soon as I can. Is all this covered in your e-book?
    Thanks
    Carey

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:37h, 18 December Reply

      Thanks Carey!

      Yes, this is all in my ebook, but we go on in later chapters to talk about the computer processing as well. I’ll get to that at some point here too, but it won’t be for a while probably.

      Cheers,
      Martin.

  • Vik
    Posted at 02:26h, 20 December Reply

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for doing this great podcast. Very informative and concise. I like the gif as it showed me visually your message. I will try a panorama with you in Hokkaido.

    Vik

  • Aaron Priest
    Posted at 08:16h, 01 February Reply

    I didn’t know about that LensCoat pouch, great idea!

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 19:03h, 12 February Reply

      It sure is Aaron. It makes traveling much easier. I’m glad you like that one. 🙂

  • David Riddell
    Posted at 12:17h, 28 April Reply

    Hi Martin

    Great article!

    I shot some images on a recent holiday (7 or 8 images per pano) and I could not get Lightroom CC (the latest version) to stitch them. I imported the same images into Photoshop and it seemed to work fine. I have tried various forums (Adobe and other) and nobody has come back with a reason other than check my software version(s)/re-install (or similar).

    Thinking about it, the most problematic group of images most likely would have had significant parallax problems; I had close up and distant objects, I was in a rush, and didn’t take much care :). In your experience, would this be more likely to cause artefacts or do you think it may be a possible reason for Lightroom to not stitch? The really confusing thing for me is that the stitching worked in Photoshop but not Lightroom.

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 12:56h, 28 April Reply

      Hi David,

      I’m pleased you found this article useful.

      I haven’t done any pano stitching in Lightroom for a while, as I jumped ship to Capture One almost a year ago, so I can’t say how good Lightroom is at stitching at the moment. I have noticed that there is often a difference between Lightroom and Photoshop though, and sometimes only one does a good job, and other times the other application works better.

      It is almost certain though, that in this case, it’s the parallax that caused Lightroom to give up the ghost. I imagine the premise is (on Adobe’s part) that in Photoshop you have tools such as layer masking, that would help you to clean up the artifacts, but they are not available in Lightroom. It’s quite good really, as they don’t dump you with a file in Lightroom that you can’t fix.

      Sorry I can’t be of much more help, but I imagine that this was a conscious decision on Adobe’s part, and probably the right decision.

      Regards,
      Martin.

      • David Riddell
        Posted at 13:28h, 28 April Reply

        Thanks for the prompt response, Martin!

        I’m pleased to hear that you’d noticed a difference between LR and PS as I thought they might process panos in the ‘same way’ . Anyway, I’ve only recently learned about parallax (assisted by your blog post); so, hopefully this is a moot point.

        Regards,

        David

        • Martin Bailey
          Posted at 09:37h, 29 April Reply

          You’re very welcome David. I’m happy to be able to help.

          Good luck with your future panos.

  • Alessio Belloni
    Posted at 07:57h, 07 June Reply

    Great tips thank you Martin. Kind regards
    Alessio

    • Martin Bailey
      Posted at 18:28h, 22 June Reply

      You’re very welcome Alessio. I’m pleased you found this useful.

  • Mohamed Hamdi
    Posted at 16:34h, 07 August Reply

    Thanks Mr. MARTIN BAILEY for the informative article about shooting pano with RRS Pano-Gimbal to avoid parallax issues. I’m landscape and capacities photographer and I have a wide angle lens. I need to shoot city escape and show the the tall towers vertical (architectural) without distortion using multi row panorama technique. which is the ideal solution (1) shooting multi-row pano using RRS Pano-Gimbal and normal lens or (2) using a tilt-shift lens to get very correct perspective. and please advise me whether method (1) or (2) gives the same results? or not? and why?

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 21:08h, 07 August Reply

    Hi Mohamed,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Using the techniques I cover in this post will not correct perspective. Even if you remove the parallax errors, the results of a stitched photograph are just the same as what you’d get if you used a wider focal length lens.

    The only way you can remove the distortion in tall buildings is to use a tilt-shift lens, as you say. Or you can remove it to a degree in Photoshop, but doing that too much will reduce the image quality, so a tilt-shift remains the best option.

    Regards,
    Martin.

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