Easy Peasy Panoramic Photos for your Header Banner

Posted by on Feb 21, 2014 in Design | 2 Comments

Finding a panoramic photo for the header of your blog or website can be a real pain. You can try cropping a photo in Photoshop, but the elements don’t always fit within the squat format. You could download an app or buy a special lens add-on, but that’s expensive and adds yet another item to your “To Learn” list.  Uh, no thanks.

Fret not, there’s an easier, faster (and quite possibly free) option.

The built-in camera on the iPhone 5s has a Panoramic setting that takes all the guess work and hassle out of the process. So, yes, you’ll need to beg, borrow, or buy an iPhone 5s. (Note: If you’ve ever filmed a video with any iPhone, you’ll find this process is almost identical.)

  1. Click on the Camera icon to open it.
  2. Swipe the bottom of the screen to select “Pano.” You’ll see an overlay of an arrow on a line, and the instructions “Move iPhone continuously when taking a Panorama.”
  3. Aim your camera at the subject of your photo and tap the round “On” icon to begin.
  4. The onscreen instruction changes to “Keep the arrow on the center line.” Slowly, steadily move your camera to the right, following the yellow line. Tip: plant your feet wide apart, and keep your elbows glued to your sides for maximum stability.
  5. Click the same icon (now a square) to Stop the process. Voilà. Your image is automatically saved to your Camera Roll. You can email it to yourself from there.

Seriously, it’s idiot-proof. And addictive. It can make even the most mundane subjects look interesting. Like my messy studio.

Messy studio


  1. Jennifer Sergent
    March 3, 2014

    That sounds like a cool tool, but as a longtime magazine editor, I find the fish-eye effect unappealing. For a blog or website header, you don’t have to crop a long, horizontal image — I’ve never had any trouble scaling my images in Photoshop, or cropping to the dimensions I enter that agree with the space you need to place it in — you can move the crop window around the image until you have the visual you want.

    • Belinda Darcey
      March 3, 2014

      I agree that the fisheye look can get tiring, (more so in print than online, where we expect things to move). You can minimize the fisheye effect with the iPhone 5s and just get a straight on panorama by either walking further sideways while taking the shot (versus standing in one spot and turning from the waist up) or by covering less territory.
      And yes, it’s possible to crop a regular shot using Photoshop (if you know it and have access to it) or similar software. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been given a great photo to crop, only to find that the elements I want to include are all at different heights, so cropping to a shorter-wider look eliminates part/some of them.:(
      I think this tool was built for people who are not that photo-savvy, and want an easy way to upload a usable shot. Maybe just to have fun replacing their Facebook cover shot once a month.