How to Have Plenty of Fun with Panoramas

The panorama feature on the iPhone is Apple’s way of saying, “Go out and have fun with your phone, and use your pano in whatever situation you find yourself—and your photographs will be remarkable.” As fabulous as it gets on the iPhone, though, there’s even more fun to be had with photo editing apps.


Antelope Flats Tree by Jann Alexander © 2014
Antelope Flats Tree by Jann Alexander © 2014

Nature deserves to be treated as spiritual: A panorama view of a stunning mountain landscape, with a lone tree in the flats, gets the Photo fx Ultra treatment. Various effects were used, but Glimmer Glass Edge Blur had gave the image a more ethereal feel when applied using an iPad mini, with further edits on an iMac in Adobe Lightroom.


Hiking Pano by Jann Alexander © 2014-2
Hiking the Boggy Trail by Jann Alexander © 2014

Even as secluded woods beckon, they can be mysterious: Curiosity can be evoked on a hike over a running creek on a fine day can when the distance turns dark, with Photo fx Ultra‘s softening effects and darkening filters; no further post-processing needed.


End Is Nigh Pano by Jann Alexander © 2014
The End Is Nigh by Jann Alexander © 2014

Vistas are meaningless without visitors to view them. For visual interest, hikers looking off into the distance show us what to appreciate; and the vista can turn ominous with some moody filters applied in Photo fx Ultra.


Ski Pano by Jann Alexander © 2014
Pano Bliss on the Summit by Jann Alexander © 2014

Mountainous mountains need people to show off their peaks. Landscape panoramas gain depth, and show size better, when there’s a happy skier placed off to one side. Edits made in Google Snapseed for shadow detail, highlights, sharpness and color will improve images made in the snow. Big plus: a panorama puts an end to the boring vacation shots at the summit.


Eatin' Mudbugs by Jann Alexander © 2014
Eatin’ Mudbugs by Jann Alexander © 2014

People belong in panoramas. Whether it’s a mudbug-eating contest in Louisiana, or a group of friends across the dance floor, large groupings can usually be better photographed with a panorama than with a stationary horizontal shot. No need to worry about movement; the effects of motion add life to an image. The contestants put away more than a few pounds of crawfish, and were edited in Adobe Lightroom on an iMac. (The winner, a blind DJ with her own cheering squad, is seated just to left of center.)


Christmas Pano by Jann Alexander © 2014-3795
Christmas Trimmings by Jann Alexander © 2014

Still life setups beg for panoramas, too: A tabletop of favorite castoff Christmas decorations, ready to go back in their boxes for another year, can make a sweet memory as a pano, with various Blur and Glow Effects applied in Photo fx Ultra. Any still life will do, though: try a before-and-after scenario when a table’s set for dinner guests, and after the guests depart.


Long Center Vista by Jann Alexander © 2014
Long Center Vista by Jann Alexander © 2014

What’s a city skyline for, if not a panorama? City skylines always beg for panoramas, and when the light is divine, they won’t need much tweaking in any app (though I did use Snapseed for a few edits here). I much prefer Adobe Lightroom on my iMac when there’s lots of detail to see—as there is with the Austin, Texas skyline, when seen from across the river at the performing arts center’s huge plaza on a stunning Sunday afternoon. 

Have your own favorite apps for pano fun? Add to the list of the apps I used:

  • Google Snapseed is free on the App Store, and has it all. There’s really no need to get any other photo apps, unless you’re after even more artsy filters and features. Start here.
  • Photo fx Ultra is $4.99 on the App Store, and is made by Tiffen (the people who make SLR camera filters, so they know their photo filters); it has typical editing features along with plenty of filters for layering effects.
  • Find more apps used by the creative contributors to Lens and Pens by Sally, where the focus this week is on editing and processing with apps.

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19 thoughts on “How to Have Plenty of Fun with Panoramas

Add yours

  1. Well done, Jann. I accidentally discovered the advantage of the Pano camera when I forgot my OlloClip one day. The Tiffen app is new to me—thank you for that tip, I am going to look into it today. Your last pano is a beauty, I love the broad sky and clouds.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hope you find the Tiffen app worthy of your $4.99. I wouldn’t recommend it, if I didn’t think it was worth the money. It’s got what Snapseed offers and more . . . Thanks for the comments. Would love to see what you do with your panos, got a link?


  2. Jann, great that you combined panorama with various processing possibilities. For some reason I seem to forget about using panorama. Thanks for the boost. I’m especially drawn to 2, 3 and last: 2 for its emphasis on the pathway to nowhere and anywhere, 3 because it reminds me of vintage postcards that advertise a scene, and the last for its surreal effect and the shadows that carry my attention. Happy Photo Challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vintage scene, yes, it is quite reminiscent of old-school post cards. Good insight, Sally. I’m fond of the surreal pathway and the way the shadows (from a wide arch that’s not in frame) lead into the action–one of the pano’s unintended happy consequences. Hope to see you shooting some panos soon. As you can tell, I love them!


      1. Nope, didn’t know! Thanks to you, I found it only today under “options.” As you may guess, it will be a miracle if photo editing apps find their way into our lives, but you never know… We’ll try to “conquer” a panorama of our cave here, in the meantime. Thanks! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jann,

    I lost track of a exchange that we were having about my favorite panorama apps. I have been using Cycloramic and like it a lot. My go-to app is 645 Pro, utilizing the 6X17 camera back. It is like using a panoramic camera, no twisting involved.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Allan, I get that. Easy to do with all of the various ways we are hanging out online. No problema. I’m happy to get a personal recommendation for your apps. Thanks, looking forward to checking them out. What did you think of Photo FX?


    2. I’d like to hear more about that setup, Allan, sounds like you are using it with an SLR or rangefinder or . . . just what exactly? Salivating to try more panos . . . but of course, it’s hard to beat the “free” camera option built in to the iPhone. Thanks for getting back on this, Allan.


      1. 645 Pro is an app for the iPhone and it gives the user the choice of full manual, or semi-automatic, control of the phone’s camera. It has a great selection of “film” types and frame formats (square, 6×9, etc.).

        Here is a link to the homepage:


        1. You can download/view the manual to the app whether you purchase it or not. Look for the link in the text above the video at the bottom of the page.


  4. Jann, I’m trying to get caught up before this week’s challenge, as I’m traveling and have been busy. I’m happy I didn’t miss yours because it gave me some good reminders. I love the pano feature and it’s one of the reason I wanted the 5S but too often I forget to use it and, to date, I’ve never done any editing on one of my pano shots. 🙂

    I like your reminder to include people and I really liked the still life pano. Thanks for the nudges to expand! Lovely photos.


    Liked by 1 person

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