How to Shoot Panoramic Portraits

Environmental portraits are great for capturing people with the scene around them. If you want to show more of the environment you should try doing panoramic portraits. While traveling in New York shooting panoramic landscapes, Jay P. Morgan from The Slanted Lens had a thought to add people in the photo so he gave it a try. Since then, Morgan has taken more panoramic portraits so he decided to share his tips on how he sets up and shoots panoramic portraits.

Morgan uses the Syrp Genie Mini System with the Sony a7R II and the Syrp Pan Tilt Bracket on the Vanguard VEO 265AB Tripod to capture the photos vertically, which allows him to get the most detail. The lenses of choice are the Tamron 35mm and the Tamron 85mm when he wants the subject closer to the camera. For some of the shots, a Canon 600EX II-RT speedlight was added to light the subject, all handheld.

A great tip from Morgan is to set up your shot of the panoramic portrait with your subject in position. Shoot the entire panoramic shot first followed by going back to the subject to get additional frames of them. This works well so you do not have to re-shoot the entire panoramic photo, you can just use the best shot of your subject instead. Rename the photos in order after you select your favorite shot of your subject and start the stitching process to have the photo come together.

After reviewing his photos, I have one suggestion to add. I would recommend to not have the subjects stick one of their body parts out from the rest. In the photo of the two guys in the field with the plant of unknown origin, the man in the Idaho shirt has a leg that looks longer than it should in my opinion. Having his legs closer together on the same plane instead of sticking forward would've prevented that warping from the panoramic shot.

You can read more from Morgan over on The Slanted Lens site. Have you tried shooting panoramic portraits before? Do you have any tips to share? On my next adventure, I may have to give this a try and shoot a panoramic portrait for myself.

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Anthony Chang's picture

I actually shoot panoramic portraits all the time! Even got a little feature on thephoblographer about it.

Hell I even have a section on my website listed as Panoramic Portraits. Though my method is pretty much the Brenizer method/bokehramas or whatever you want to call it and I just crop it to 6x17 ratio.

I'm impressed by your portraits. Much better than JPM's

Anonymous's picture

Great shots!
Your cyclist photo demonstrates the solution to the problem in most of the video guys' photos: when you shoot a relatively close-up panorama, perpendicular to the center of a plane, you get linear objects (roads, buildings) stretching off in different directions. By setting up your shot at an angle to the linear object (road) you avoided that problem.
I assume you used a longer FL for the photos in your second link?

Rob Mynard's picture

I experimented for a while with shooting wedding panoramas on a fisheye and converting them into little planets