Types of Panoramic Photography

Panoramic Photography can be classified into 3 types: the cylindrical, spherical and planar panoramas. And the cylindrical panorama includes inner-cylinder and outer-cylinder panorama. The shooting technique of the cylindrical-panorama involves 3 methods: horizontal method, vertical method and oblique method. And the spherical panorama includes inner-sphere and outer-sphere panorama.

types of panoramas

"Peloponnese" captured by Giovanni C. (Click Image to See More From Giovanni C.)

Inner-cylinder panorama: The setting of the camera stays fixed while shooting, and the image is formed through the post processing of the photos taken by turning the camera or rotating 360° of the conventional camera. This method is known as the inner-cylinder panorama. Since the images for display must be placed inwards from end to end to form a cylinder, the viewers standing in to appreciate the images, so this technique is called the inner-cylinder panorama.

Outer-cylinder panorama: When you take this type of panorama, keep the subject fixed and take photos of the whole circle of the subject. When the images are for display, they are also placed from end to end to form a cylinder but they should be outwards, and the viewers stand outside of the cylinder to appreciate them. So we call this kind of technique Outer-cylinder panorama.

Inner-sphere panorama: At present there are two methods to shoot this kind of panorama. One is: shoot the images of the subject’s front, back, left, right, up, and down side with the splicing form by conventional medium format cameras the scenes all around are included. For display, the images should be put together to become a hollow ball, with the images inwards. And the viewers stand inside of the ball to watch them. The other is: use the fish-eye lens or a conventional lens to shoot many pieces photos, and then put them together for composition by special software. The panoramic display of this form can only be demonstrated through the computer. The above two methods are known as Inner- sphere panorama.

panoramic photography

Cylindrical and Spherical Panoramas

Outer-sphere panorama: The subject must be a sphere or close to a sphere. While shooting, you should rotate at equidistant around the subject to make the multi-dimensional rotation shooting, until the whole scenes of the sphere are completed. Then the images should be pieced together to form a sphere, with the images outwards. This technique is called outer-sphere panorama. Now, we can see the whole Earth satellite photo map online, which is shot by this very technique.

Planar-panorama: This kind of technique is generally used for the images that cannot be completed in one time, such as streets or building groups. The camera is translated at equidistant along the subject, until the whole subject is completed. Then the pieces are synthesized to be a panoramic photo, which is called Planar-panorama.

About the Author:
Smith Chen is the marketing manager of FastPano, a photo stitching software company.

For Further Training on Panoramic Photography:

Trick Photography and Special Effects by Evan Sharboneau is a very popular instructional eBook that explains how to do most of the trick photos that often capture attention and amazement from viewers. With 190 pages of information, it is very detailed and includes extensive explanations of many complicated techniques that are very fun to learn. Includes information on 360 degree panoramas, spiral panoramas and more.

It can be found here: Trick Photography and Special Effects eBook

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  1. bycostello says:

    nice tutorial

  2. Jayesh says:

    Please provide a lesson or link,

    on How to shoot a Spherical Panorama using a normal lens.
    (if anyone talked about the fish! Eye one…).

  3. Ricky Bobby says:

    Should have posted an example (a picture) with each description else great tut.

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