How to Take a Panoramic Photo in iOS 7

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a panoramic photo is worth even more. Everyone loves panoramas, mostly because there’s really nothing to hate about them; they capture so much detail in one photo that you normally wouldn’t see in a regular picture, and they can accurately provide an excellent point of view for those looking at them.

iOS 7 comes with a panoramic photo mode that allows you to easily take panoramic pictures in a snap, and it’s a lot simpler than busting out your point-and-shoot camera, taking a bunch of photos and stitching them together in Photoshop. Apple’s solution is extremely user-friendly, and we’ll show you how how it works and how you can take the best panoramic photo out of all your friends.

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Taking a Panoramic Photo

To capture a panoramic photo in iOS 7, open up the Camera app and swipe to the left two times until you see Pano at the bottom right above the big, white shutter button. Looking at the screen, you’ll see a bar running across the display with an arrow on the far left that’s pointing to the right, with a picture-in-picture-type display next to the arrow.

Tap on the shutter button to begin the process of taking a panoramic photo. Now, slowly pan your phone to the right to begin capturing your surroundings. If you’d rather pan your phone to the left, just tap on the arrow to have it switch sides. You can have your panoramic photo be as big as you want, but the Camera app does put a limit on how far you can pan. You can either go all the way, or cut it off at any point in between by simply tapping again on the shutter button to finish capturing your panorama.

2013-10-15 14.08.32How to Take Good Panoramic Photos

With all that said, it’s pretty easy to snap a panoramic photo in the Camera app in iOS 7, but in order to take good panoramic shots, you have to know a few tricks and tips. Here are just a few basic tips that you can use in order to crank up the quality of your panoramas.

  • Pan slowly across the landscape to ensure that the panorama gets captured properly. You don’t need to go super slow, but you also don’t want to just whiz through it. Going slow gives the camera enough time to re-adjust its exposure settings for each frame it shoots in the photo.
  • Keep the frame steady throughout the shot and don’t try to move your phone up and down. Doing this will create uneven edges in the photo. iOS 7 will automatically crop the photo and get rid of these uneven edges, but the more uneven edges there are, the more imagery that gets cropped out in the end, and you want to try and keep everything in the frame without having to crop much out.
  • Make sure the lighting is even all across. While the Camera app will do a decently good job at adjusting exposure automatically, if there are bright lights shining in the frame, while the rest of the landscape is rather dark (like at a football game, for instance), the lights have a tendency to wash out the photo.

Alternatives

Obviously, there are limitations to the panorama mode in the Camera app; there’s a max at far you can pan, and you can’t pan up and down (only side-to-side). This can be a problem if the subject you’re capturing is taller than your camera’s frame.

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If you want to take a panoramic photo that can capture both side-to-side and up and down, we’d suggest trying out Microsoft’s Photosynth app. It’s a free download in the iTunes App Store, and it has the same basic concept as iOS’s panorama mode. We’ve found that it doesn’t stitch together photos as well as the iOS version, but it gives you way more flexibility as far as capturing the perfect panorama.

  

Comments

  1. Lars Grobian says

    The panorama setting in IOS7 on the iPhone 5s takes pictures with the same aspect ratio as always, but the image file is damaged: you get large ragged black areas taking up 1/3 to 1/2 of the image. The image itself is what would have been the first frame if your description applied to the camera app that ships with production hardware from Apple. But it doesn’t.

    Additionally, the “copy images” feature of the iPhone 5S driver for Windows 8 sees the panorama images as corrupted files (bug 1), refuses to copy them for some reason (bug 2), and then fails to copy any images after the first panorama (bug 3).

    The feature is hopelessly broken and should not have been released. Typically for Apple, when they screw up they just pretend it didn’t happen.

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