How to shoot and edit panoramic landscapes with the Syrp Genie Mini and Photoshop
A couple of months ago, Syrp updated the firmware on the Genie Mini to add a couple of very cool new features. One of those was the ability to automate the shooting of panoramic still images for stitching. It’s not a difficult process to accomplish, but there are one or two gotchas and things you have to look out for.
In this video from The Slanted Lens, Jay P Morgan explains the whole process, from start to finish. With the New York cityscape as his subject, Jay walks us through setting up the Genie for the sequence, shooting the images, and then stitching them together in Photoshop.
As you can see, it’s pretty straightforward. But, you do need to make sure you enter your camera’s details correctly. Sensor size and focal length are both huge factors in how much the Genie Mini moves between shots. If those are entered incorrectly, you may find that you have far more shots than you need. Worse, you may discover that your panoramics are ruined because the shots didn’t cover the entire scene.
Jay prefers shooting panoramic stitches with the camera in portrait mode. Shooting with the camera oriented this way has been a common panoramic technique for a long time. It allows for much more height and resolution as you pan across the entire scene.
As with shooting any type of photograph, the first step is to figure out your exposure. You’ll want to be in manual mode, so that you get consistent exposure across the entire scene. After dialling exposure settings into the camera, the rest of the process is controlled through an app on your phone.
The app lets you quickly set your start and end points, and has a fast preview mode to spin the camera around and see exactly where the sequence will begin and end. This quick preview allows you to tweak the settings and ensure you’re covering the entire scene that you want to capture.
After the images are shot and you’re back on the computer, it’s time for stitching. Jay brings the images into Adobe Camera Raw through Bridge. Loading up all of the images together means that he can easily process them all identically. Simply make changes to one, then select all, sync, and then open them in Photoshop.
Once loaded into Photoshop, you can choose Photomerge from File menu, and add the open files. There are several different stitching methods, but Photoshop’s pretty smart, and Jay often tends to find that “Auto” does the best job. The trick is making sure you have enough overlap between images. Jay suggests around 40%.
Then it’s just a case of cropping and using, the healing brush, Content Aware Fill or similar tools to fill in any small gaps in the sky or foreground. Depending on the sequence, there might be a little perspective distortion that needs correcting, but that’s easily fixed with Photoshop’s transform tools.
Such images aren’t that difficult to create, but as you can see, there is a general process to help ensure good results.
Are stitched panoramics a common subject of yours? Have you upgraded the firmware in your Genie Mini yet to help you with them? How have your results been? What other panoramic tips can you offer? Let us know and share your own panoramics in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.