Photo Stitching... how to avoid it?

Stitched Effile Tower - A picture composed from three separate shots.
I would love to be able to take it all in one smooth shot instead.
@ahgong (10086)
Singapore
June 13, 2008 3:27am CST
I love to take pictures, especially sceneries. But the problem is, I can never capture everything in one single shot. As such, I take a few pictures from left to right, or up to down, sweeping the entire area I want to shoot and try to do a stitch to try and get the original composition I want. More often than not, I will end up with picture with some distortion at the edges. It is really irritating as I would love to take the same shot in one smooth exposure rather than trying to stitch it from a few shots. How then can I compose a picture such as the one attached, so that I can have it all in one exposure, rather than having to shoot a few to stitch it into one? The bigger version of this picture can be found at http://www.shareapic.net/content.php?id=9316773&owner=ahgong Please advise.
2 responses
@sliver1 (14)
28 Jun 08
If you want to avoid photo stitching altogether, there really aren't many options... Either get a wider lens (shorter focal length), or move back from the subject! (Those two options also have the added benefit of allowing shots that are impossible to accomplish stitching -- such as pictures in which the subject is moving across a surface that would occupy more than one segment of the stitch.) Photo stitching, like the previous answer recommended, is better achieved when using a constant exposition (manual exposition is best for this kind of work). But there is no perfect lens and so even if the exposition is exactly the same, you will likely suffer from a certain amount of vignette (corner light falloff). Moreover, the wider the lens used to make a stitching, the more the pictures will have to be curved before they can be merged: it's actually better to take a few more longer shots than less wider shots... Then once you've got your pictures taken, the rest will be up to either the software used or the skill/technique used to achieve it. Photoshop CS3 has "auto-align" and "auto-blend" features that really render this whole procedure a breeze: auto-align does the curving and positionning, while the auto-blend corrects the light falloff and other issues. It's really impressive how good it is, with no effort whatsoever. Check it out, it makes photo-stitching a reasonnable alternative... Hope this helps...
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
3 Jul 08
Hmm... CS3 eh? I have barely explore the full capabilities of Photoshop CS2! Will see if I can get me a copy of the CS3 to test my photo stitching. IT would take a lot of practising to get it right. From now on, I will try to take a single shot. Some times, it is just impossible to catch all the details in a single shot. But you want the details AND the whole shot, it would require a lot of stitching. Cos no matter how you try to take the pictures consecutively, there is still a little curve difference in each picture that makes it difficult to match each of them together seamlessly. Thanks for the advise. Will try it out when I get my hands on the latest Photoshop.
3 Jul 08
Unless you're stuck with a lens that is really too long to cover the angle you need (it depends on the subject), obviously sometimes you just can't do otherwise and you'd have to stitch. But what do you mean when you say that "some times, it is just impossible to catch all the details in a single shot"? Do you plan to display pictures on a wall 10 foot wide? Ain't double-digit megapixel resolutions enough? I didn't think *detail* was the issue ;)
@thebeing (657)
• Romania
13 Jun 08
well, you could try using a mode wide angled lens or the smallest focal distance on you actual lens. if that doesn't work, take a meter reading onto the subject you wanna photograph, remember those settings (aperture and shutter speed), switch to manual, input the aperture and shutter speed you got when you metered, and take 2 shots, as in your picture. this was you won't have 2 different metering readings. cheers!
@ahgong (10086)
• Singapore
14 Jun 08
Hmm... that is something I was just thinking of after reading the book Exposure by Bryan Peterson. Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely try it out the next chance I get.