Panoramic Images From Normal Photos

Consider the panorama next time you take a “normal” photo. Why? Because with some cropping, you can have a panoramic image quite easily and without stitching multiple photos together in specialized software!

With photos of high resolution (high megapixels), cropping the photo to be panoramic does not lose a lot of resolution. I call these types of photos “cropped panoramics.” When taking the photo, you have to have the panoramic image in mind and set up your composition accordingly. But, with some practice, this can be an easy way to get panoramic images into your portfolio without a lot of extra work!

For example:

  • For my Canon G12, 10 megapixel image with maximum resolution of 3648 x 2736 (4:3 aspect ratio),
    • cropping to  3648 x 1216 (3:1 aspect ratio) is a 4.4 megapixel photo.
    • Not very high resolution for printing a panorama.
  • For my Canon T1i/D500, 15 megapixel image with maximum resolution of 4752 x 3168 (3:2 aspect ratio),
    • cropping to 4752 x 1584 (3:1) aspect ratio) is still a 7.5 megapixel photo.
    • Very acceptable for printing of panoramas!

The comparison here shows that a 15 megapixel starting image in 3:2 format yields an acceptable size image when cropped to panoramic proportions of 3:1.

3:1 is not the only panoramic size however. 2:1 is a less commonly used, but still highly viable panoramic size and would work for photos with starting pixel counts around 10 megapixels.

In addition, if a wide or super-wide angle lens is used, it is better for cropped panoramics as described here because more of the scene will be captured left to right (or top to bottom if you’re doing a vertical panorama), making a more believable panoramic image due to the width (or height) of capture.

A panorama can be made from a regular-sized photo with only some creative cropping after the fact and no specialized stitching software. Keep this in mind when shooting and you’ll walk away with more panoramic options when you get back to the computer darkroom!