Super wide photos with a kit lens
Today I am going to show you how to shoot a super wide angle shot with a kit lens.
This is predominantly for still subjects, big landscapes and scenes without too much motion. If there’s enough light, you can shoot handheld, and if there’s not, get the camera on a tripod.
You’ll need Lightroom for this. If you haven’t got it go get a trial version….link is in the description:
I’m using the 24-70mm on the sony, If you shoot with a crop sensor, this is similar to the 18-55mm on an APS-C.
Using Lightroom’s merge, panorama function, you can stick many images together and they don’t even have to be on the same plain…… to give you that super wide angle shot.
I’ll assume you have basic knowledge of Lightroom, if not, do a search on youtube, there are lots of videos on the basics of Lightroom.
So these are the steps;
- When you find a location that is too wide for your lens, take a photo in the normal mode that you use.
- Make sure it is exposed correctly….I’ll be doing a video on exposure in the new year….
- Look at that image and make a note of those settings by pressing the info/display button.
- Switch to manual mode (you have to be in manual mode so the exposure doesn’t change from shot to shot….this would make the image almost impossible to stitch together)
- Input the exact settings you had from the initial shot.
- Make sure the brightest part of the final stitched image is not over exposed.
- Think about the picture you want, I.e. how wide and how big you want it.
- Start taking photographs to cover the final image, making sure they overlap enough to able to stitch together well. It’s better to take too many than not enough. I normally overlap them by about a quarter of the image.
- You don’t have to be that precise, but make sure the camera is level.
- Also it is better to overshoot the area that you want. It’s easier to have to delete images than to have to crop in tighter than the image you first envisaged.
- Walk away with a smug look on your face knowing you haven’t had to spend lots of money on extra lenses!
The next step involves the use of Lightroom!
- Once you’ve imported your videos and have them on your film strip along the bottom, select them all
- Make sure you’re in develop module
- Don’t make any edits yet….we’ll do that after the merge
- Right click on any one of them and click on photo merge/panorama
- Then wait…..if you have a fast laptop or computer, it shouldn’t take too long…if you have an older system, you might have to wait a while.
- Once it’s processed, you’ll be given three options. Spherical, cylindrical or perspective. (Basically this is the projection. sherical is as if all of the images were plastered on the inside of a ball, Cylindrical are where the images are projected onto the inside of a large tube, and perspective tries to keep the lines straight.) For this type of photography, switch between spherical and cylindrical. Select the one that gives you the best preview.
- Click Merge
- If you click on crop, you’ll see how much it has had to deform or stretch the images to make them fit.
- Now all you do is edit this image as normal and export to the settings you want.
One thing I forgot to mention….If the photo looks patchy, or it darkens on the joins of each photo, you might have to select lens corrections in the Lightroom develop module before merging the photos. So if you do have to do this follow these steps before point 15:
- scroll down to lens corrections
- select the “Enable profile corrections” box
- It should select your camera lens combo….
- If it doesn’t find your camera and lens in the dropdown menu
- Then go from point 15 above
Now there are limitations to this process and it won’t be quite as good as buying a wide angle lens, but if you’re out in the field and you have an amazing vista infant of you without the lens to cover it, this is the next best thing.
If you’re really close to a tall building and try to do it, it might distort the building a little, or if it has to stretch the image too much, you might start to see individual pixels….but sometimes the unexpected can look very cool. It’s all about getting out there and doing it.
But just try this the next time you go out and see what you can capture.
Also, if there is movement in the shot and it’s not dominating the shot, try filling at most one frame with that movement. Then you can control it….especially if you’re taking a long exposure from a tripod.