If you’re trying to create a linear panorama of a street, shooting the photos in a way they can later be used for the montage is crucial. There are several factors that can really make it hard to get the photos to work together later. Also there are some factors that are impossible to avoid but still will make the montage complicated later. Unless your have a lot of space you will not be able to photograph without having barrel or perspective distortions. So there is no need for trying to avoid that. What you can avoid is photographing from different heights and different distances to the street front. This will reduce two of the factors that further complicate the montage. So try to walk a straight line at the same distance from the street front and try to keep at the same height with your camera when taking the shots.
Something one should keep in mind when taking the photos is the intersections where the montage between subsequent images should be done. It’s best to always picture in mind where photos could be stitched and shoot photos accordingly. As often a little practice with some pictures will help to do this right. Also with a good technique of taking pictures one can eliminate things in the foreground like street-lamps, benches, bus stops, people or cars.
One might think this should be done faithfully precise. Well, yes of course, but it should also be done efficient and quick. The longer it takes to photograph a street the more likely it is that the light will change, clouds will throw shadows, it might get darker or lighter depending on daytime. Hence one should try to be quick and always use the same exposure and lens settings. There will seldom be optimal conditions and you will rarely have the chance to lay railway tracks and place the camera on some kind of trolley to move along the street with no objects in the way. And even if you had this chance there is still no panorama program that would do the stitching fully automatic. In the end you’ll always have to put a lot of manual work into correcting perspective and barrel, scaling images and overblending the intersections. However, when the photos are shot well, a great street panorama can finally be achieved.
Photographers creating street panoramas or those that need help with the final stitching are wellcome to participate in the Panorama Streetline project.
About Guest Authors:
Panorama Streetline is an experimental photographic project by Jörg Dietrich, Jörg Rom and Patrick Paul from Leipzig (Germany) that developed through the last 5 years. It aims at collecting selected street views of cities all over the world and puts uniqueness and traditions of architectural developments of different places into focus.