There’s a new hype going among photo enthusiasts – photo stitching!
Photo stitching is an evolution of the traditional photo collage we are all familiar with. When done correctly, photo stitching enables you to create a seamless segmented panorama from multiple overlapped photos, taken from similar perspective. Collage, on the other hand, gives you a gap or obvious seams between photos. So it is best for when you are combining related but not necessarily similar photos.
When to use photo stitching?
- To create a panoramic composition that has a wide angle of view, above 50˚ angles or up to 360˚ for some software! Photo stitching software comes as a free or reasonably-priced option over expensive wide-angled lenses. You can take photos using your mobile phone, tablet or your ever-reliable point-and-shoot digital camera.
- To create a higher resolution photo from a set of low resolution photos, as low as below 1MB-sized photos. A great solution for when you don’t have a DSR or DSLR camera.
- To create a more detailed and dramatic photo.
- In the case of a property listing, to create an all-encompassing photo of your property, the views and or nearby attractions.
There are several types of photo stitching software available (see below). This article is dedicated to a few free ones we really like. These free software are almost as good as paid ones and are similarly capable of intelligently correcting photo perspectives and lens distortion, including the capacity to stitch up to 360˚-angle panorama. It can also smartly blend seams so that multiple photos are aligned seamlessly if not perfectly.
Top tips to successfully stitch photos of your property, the views and or nearby attractions:
First: Set up your camera using a tripod where you can easily angle your camera from point A to as many segments as required in completing the whole field of view. Remember to shoot from the same point of perspective. If you are using your phone or tablet, be your own ‘tripod’. Keep your arms close to your ribs as you use your feet for pivoting. Keep you hands as steady as possible when shooting. Turn on anti-shake feature if your device has it.
Second: It is recommended to shoot on vertical mode to be able to capture more depth. This will also give you more room for cropping. Because YOU WILL be doing some cropping.
Third: Overlap each frame to about 20-30% to get the best of seamless seams. Keep your frames at 20-25. Some of the free software are not capable of processing too many photos or full 360˚-angle views.
Fourth: Ensure that there is no misalignment or color shift in the photos. Photos of busy areas like the streets with many people or vehicles passing by will give you something like the photo below. So choose a slack time for busy places.
Fifth: Carefully follow the instructions that come with the photo stitching software you are using. Instructions vary from one program to another. Depending on the software features, you might need to add the photos according to order of shooting and/or other parameters. Some programs can automatically arrange photos, others require you to manually add photos.
More information can be found here on photo stitching digital panoramas.
Recommended photo stitching software
Lunapic (free online application)
Lunapic uses a simple 2-photo-only stitching process. It’s more like a collage with the blend option mimicking the photo stitching effect for seams.
Fotor (free online application)
The process involved in Fotor is very easy, simply drag and drop. It says ‘photo stitching’ but the output is more like a collage than the real stitched photo. No blending option like Lunapic.
AutoStitch (for Windows or Mac, mobile versions no longer available)
AutoStitch can automatically recognize matching photos without user input whatsoever. Simply select a set of photos and then it will do all the processing to create one panoramic photo. I tried the demo version and I think it can deliver its promise to stitch up to 50+ photos.
Downside: Resolution is not quite high with the demo. I only had max 1400×399 pixels for me.
Arcsoft’s Panorama Maker (for Windows or Mac)
ArcSoft Panorama Maker is free and it does a really good job at stitching overlapping photos of vast landscapes, city skylines, mountains ranges, lush forests, towering skyscrapers, and cascading waterfalls into breathtaking high resolution panorama. It gave me a whopping 9478×3903 pixels output. Awesome!
It also has 5 auto-stitch modes: Auto, Horizontal, 360˚, Tile, and Vertical, which makes stitching more accurate.
Downside: It cannot process too many photos at a time, like the 29 photos I used with Demo AutoStitch.
Here’s a longer list of photo stitching software if you wish to explore even more options.
And here are a few property listings using panoramic photos of their property, the views and or nearby attractions:
*Not all the above property listing photos are created using the photo stitching process.
Property listings using plain old collage:
Have you heard about photo stitching before this? Have you had experience using particular software?? Would you use it in curating your property’s photos? Please let us know what you think.