A Ballhead from Really Right Stuff
  1. For best results use a tripod. All the pros know that its better to use a tripod as a stable platform. This lets you slightly move the camera to create overlap. Because the camera is steady, you’ll get sharper focus and quicker stitching.
  2. For even better results, get a tripod head that rotates and has degree markers. There are even specialized tripod heads that you can purchase that make leveling and rotation much more precise. Look for a head that has degree markers so you can precisely turn the camera.
  3. Set the camera into a portrait aspect ratio. You may want to pick up an L-plate to make it easier to rotate your camera.
  4. Switch the camera out of auto mode and lock the exposure. This will help minimize the amount of changes as the camera pans. The last thing you want is the exposure to vary across the panoramic image.
  5. Make sure there is at least a 15% overlap between each shot. Depending upon the type of lens you use, you will use between 2 and 24 exposures. More exposures mean less distortion and cleaner panoramic photos.

While there are other things you could consider, these five are important enough that you should look at them first. Happy panoramic shooting.