Q: I love the new panoramic photos I can take with my iPhone, but when I share them on Facebook, they are too small. Help! - Sandy
A: Fortunately, panoramic photography via smartphones has been around for a while, so you have numerous options for sharing them in all their glory with your Facebook friends.
Apple’s recent iOS 6 update included a slick panoramic auto-stitching option (only available on the iPhone 4S and 5) that works great and makes it very easy to create panoramas up to 240 degrees.
The iPhones 4S/5 cameras are capable of capturing very high resolution images and when you combine it with the panorama stitching, it creates enormously large images (up to 28 megapixels; over 10,000 pixels wide).
Facebook automatically compresses any image you upload to save space on their servers. When I uploaded my first panoramic image, it reduced the image width to 520 pixels in the standard view and 1136 pixels in full screen mode.
Your friends can get a sense of what the image was trying to capture, but it really comes alive when they can go full screen and drag their mouse around to move around in the image.
To do this, you must upload the panorama to another website, then share a link to the image on Facebook. An example of this can be seen on our Facebook page: http://goo.gl/k1Ro6
I’ve tested lots of sites that allow you to do this and found http://dermandar.com to be very easy to use and it’s free!
Dermandar will allow images up to 8191 pixels in either direction, which means you won’t be able to upload the images until you reduce the size a bit.
For that task, my favorite photo management software, Google’s Picasa ( http://picasa.google.com ) does the trick.
Not only can it help you resize the image, it’s a great way to unload space-hogging images off your phone so you don’t fill it up with panoramas.
Simply connect your phone to your computer and click on the Import button in Picasa to transfer the images.
Once you have them on your computer, click on the panorama you want to upload, then click the ‘File’ menu and select ‘Export Picture to Folder’.
When the dialog box comes up, type ‘8191’ into the box below the ‘Resize to:’ option and click on the Export button.
Make sure you pay attention to where the file is being saved (the location option is at the top) so you know where to find it when you are uploading to the Dermandar website.
Dermandar’s process for setting up a free account and uploading the panoramas is pretty straight forward. Once you create one, you can simply paste the link into a Facebook post for a fully interactive image that will impress your friends.
If you want to expand your panoramic options, I’ve used Microsoft’s free Photosynth app ( http://goo.gl/e3adZ ) on my iPhone for years because it doesn’t limit the horizontal capture of a panorama. You can continue to stitch on as much of the sky, ground or anything you deem to be of value and it makes 360 degree images very easily.
If you save a 360 degree Photosynth panorama to your camera roll or Photo Stream, you can upload it to your Dermandar account without the need to reduce the size.
Dermandar also has a 99 cent panorama camera app for iPhones, but in my tests, the stitching was much less accurate than what is built into the iPhone or Photosynth so save your money.