The Ultimate Establishing Shot - A Panorama

You see it in the movies all the time. The expansive opening shot that sets the tone and location for the action that follows. We can use this same technique for our articles, slideshows, and reports.

Looking Back at San Francisco from Pier 14 San Francisco from Pier 14. Click on image for larger view.

And often the easiest way to capture the ultimate establishing shot is with your smartphone. I used my iPhone 5S to record this panorama of San Francisco from the end of Pier 14. I was there scouting for night shots, and noticed how nicely the perspective of the pier led the eye to the cluster of buildings on the Embarcadero.

Instead of fiddling around with my interchangeable lens camera, I pulled out the iPhone and shot this panorama, handheld, in just a few seconds. I then slid it back into my pocket and continued my scouting mission.

Next year, when I return for the 2015 SF Street Shooting Photography Workshop, I can show participants this image to give them an idea of where they can go for a great night shot of the city or the Bay Bridge.

If a picture tells a thousand words, then a panorama must be worth ten thousand. So don't forget about that great storytelling tool you have in your pocket.

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