DIY Large Panorama Prints #

Panorama Print Photo

Although the hacks on this site have mostly focused on software, they do occasionally have a real world component. For example, I've always had a fascination with panoramic photos. Unfortunately, while it's been getting easier and easier to make your own, getting them printed is still a hassle. Ofoto allows you to order 20 x 30 prints for $23 a pop, but even that is not big enough when you consider the elongated aspect ratio of most panoramas.

However, if one is a bit more creative with the framing, large scale prints can still be achieved. For example, IKEA sells some square, 20 x 20 frames that would be a perfect fit for the above Ofoto prints. The color does not interest us since we only wish to take advantage of the entire surface area; what does matter is that the frames come with a glass plate that can be used to sandwich the photo and some nearly-invisible clips to hold everything together. The fact that they are $10 each doesn't hurt either.


In my particular case, I wanted to use a panorama I had made at Niagara falls. The original was made up of five 6 megapixel photos taken with my Digital Rebel and stitched together with Canon's surprisingly decent bundled software. The panorama was split into four square sections, padding was added to let each piece have a 2 x 3 aspect ratio and then the prints were ordered (Ofoto currently has a 25% discount promotion, thus making the high cost easier to swallow). When doing such large prints, having a high resolution file matters - in this case I started with a 7000 x 1750 image. Another image aspect relevant at this size is the noise level, so shooting with a digital SLR (or another camera with a large sensor) on a low ISO setting like 100 is key.

Cutting up the prints and attaching them is not rocket science, but I did notice that the measurements that IKEA gives for the frames (50 x 50 cm or 19 ¾ " x 19 ¾ ") are not absolutely precise, and so my prints ended up being slightly smaller than the frame area. Being a bit more generous (e.g. using the full 20 inch height of the print) may be a good idea. The end result is much more satisfying than pre-made prints I have ordered, both from a scale perspective as well as a personalization one.

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