Many people have asked me how to create the Small Planet image that is featured in the background slider as well as attached to this post.  There are many tutorials out there on the web regarding exactly how to do it.  I particularly like the Photo JoJo example for their step-by-step explanation and examples.  I’m not going to rehash the mechanics of which buttons to click in Photoshop.  Instead, I’m going to give you my pointers on how to capture the images initially–the things you need to be doing at the time of shutter click.

There are quite a few possible pitfalls in this process.  Photo Jojo discusses some of them.  Follow these additional steps to give yourself the best chances of capturing usable images:

  • Distance from Subject — You have to be farther from your subject than you think.  The “interesting” part of the photo should only take up the middle third of the frame because the uppermost and lowermost portions of the frame will be smooshed and stretched until they’re unrecognizable.
  • Shoot in Portrait Orientation — Digital photography is free, right?  Take advantage of this by shooting in portrait orientation and capturing more of the sky, ground, and subject.
  • Super Wide Lens — Not much to say here…use the widest angle lens you’ve got to give yourself as much vertical space as possible to work with.
  • Overlap Your Images — You’re going to have to take a lot of images.  Overlap them by about 50% or so.  Yes, this results in waste but it also gives you redundancy and a better shot at cloning out foreign objects if necessary.  I can’t say this enough…  Digital = Free (-ish)
  • Try HDR — Once you’ve got the basic concept and are able to reliably produce small planets, try using High Dynamic Range photography to give your photos that little extra punch.  You could get some really interesting results!

Grant Park Small Planet

Categories: Featured, Tutorial

Comments are closed.