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Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Lesson 19 of 30

Controlling Your Environment

Mike Hagen

Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

19. Controlling Your Environment
There's a big difference between viewing a photograph on a monitor and seeing it in print -- and to help create the print that has the colors that you're imagining on the screen, the environment matters. Here, Hagen talks about why you may want to paint your office neutral colors and why it's important to know where that final image will be hung.

Lesson Info

Controlling Your Environment

We're all about printing this afternoon, and I'm going to start off this segment talking about kind of controlling your environment. How important it is to have a calibrated monitor, using these products here, making sure the room and the environment that you're working in is neutral in color. I'm gonna talk about soft proofing and color gamuts, and then finally we'll end up, this segment, we're gonna talk about paper and paper styles and paper choices, and I'll show you different, a couple of different paper choices. So. First things is, what about the environment? I'm gonna move forward on the slideshow, here. Your workspace actually matters. You know, we're artists. Most of you watching today are artists. We like creating beautiful prints, beautiful images, and a lot of us are all about color, so some of us are even flamboyant. We like reds and pinks and purples and all of that. Well I have to say that if you're a printer, if this is your deal, your room should not have all those co...

lors. Your room should be really neutral, kind of like the studio that we're in today. You notice the backdrop is white. In fact, as we came in for our production meeting, they all asked me, well what colors do you want on the wall? And I'm like, white, and they're like, so beige? And I'm like no, white. Tan? No, white. So white matters or gray matters. And so in my office, I actually work out of my home office, I built a special room in my house and I actually specifically decided that my walls would be neutral color, even the trim around my windows is neutral color. So grays, whites, those, I think, make sense. And why, why do we care about that neutral color? Well when you look at a print, when you're evaluating the colors, you don't want your eyes and your mind to be biased, maybe, towards the reds or the greens or the purples in the room. And so having those neutral colors helps you assess the colors in your actual print. Your computer, your desktop. I think it's important that your desktop background, you know behind your software, that should also be gray, should be a neutral color, not white and not black but kind of medium gray. So I actually go through, when I'm setting up my computer when I first buy it, and I choose a middle of the road gray for that backdrop. Again, a lot of times you're looking at your image on your screen and you wanna compare the whites or the neutral colors against the backdrop to make sure that you don't have a color cast of magenta or green or yellow, whatever. Ambient light also plays a big role in the printing world. We need to think about the viewing conditions where your final print will reside. So let's say that you're making a print for a friend, and your friend is going to display that in their basement. So there's no other ambient light in their, there's no like outdoor light in their basement, and it's all coming from, let's say, incandescent light bulbs. Well your print actually might look a little bit different in their basement than it would in the room where you're printing it. So as you're assessing the colors, if you can, try to come up with a situation that mimics where that print will finally be displayed. That's not always possible, but that's what I'm thinking about ambient light and viewing light. For the ambient light, backlighting also impacts this. Try not to have your computer set up in front of a window. A lot of people, authors, I'm an author, I write books, too. When I write books, I'm writing on my computer, and then I'll just contemplate, I'll think about the future, I'll look out, and I want this beautiful scene in front of me. That's great for writing, it's terrible for printing, because your eyes change rapidly from this bright, backlit scene, this pretty scene behind your computer. So in the room that you're working on, close the shades, make it so there's no other kind of ambient light shining in. And I mentioned the color of light in your friend's basement. If they're using incandescent light, That's right around 3,000 or 3,400 kelvin. 5,000 kelvin is daylight, so if you know your prints are gonna be in someone's living room and they have big windows, maybe you wanna view your final print in that type of light before you give it to them just to make sure it looks good. Alright, so there's your workspace. Oh, one more thing, I actually wore neutral colors today on purpose. Some photographers think that the color of clothes that you wear also impacts your mental state. If you wear bright, vibrant clothes when you're editing your photos in software, you may be more inclined to oversaturate, or push the photos beyond where they really need to be. So I do everything holistically. The room, the light, the clothing, I even try not have like a lot of chocolate or caffeine when I'm editing my photos, or have fast loud music on my speakers in my room just because I want the state of mind that I'm editing in to kind of mimic where that photo will finally be. So, all of that to go, and all that to say that workspace matters.

Class Description


  • Shoot a variety of 360 degree panoramas (skylines, landscapes, vertical and horizontal) with the final print in mind
  • Stitch your images together to create a panorama with Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom
  • Print large images to sell or display in your home


From the skylines of New York and Los Angeles to Switzerland's mountainous backdrop, some scenes are just too spectacular to fit inside a 3:2 frame. Being surrounded by and immersed in a beautiful vista is part of the joy of being a photographer -- but how do you capture what it feels like to stand there in person inside a single image? Panoramas capture that feeling of wonder and squeeze it into the limited form of a two-dimensional print.

Take the experience of seeing a magnificent vista or panoramic view home with you. Join Mike Hagen, director of the Nikonians Academy, and learn his techniques for mastering the art of the panorama, without a dedicated panoramic camera. In this class, he will teach you:

Learn everything you need to make a breathtaking panorama from capturing that spectacular view to hanging the panorama above your couch. Shoot dynamic panoramas in the field that fit together easily when stitched in post-processing. Stitch them together with an eye for printing. Get your color toning right to minimize your reprints, and learn how printing can help you notice things that you may miss when the image is in digital format.


Adventure, travel and landscape photographers looking to improve their final product, make it print-worthy and potentially sell their work.

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 2016, Adobe Photoshop CC 2015.5


Join photographer, author, and educator Mike Hagen on the journey to perfect the panorama. Hagen has taught hundreds of workshops spanning topics from landscapes to using flash, all while running Visual Adventures and working with the Nikonians Academy. The USA-based photographer has led destination workshops from America-based destinations to bucket-list international locations like Iceland, the Galapagos, and Italy. Hagen is known for his humorous teaching style while presenting complex topics in an easy-to-grasp lesson.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Panorama Checklist & Gearlist

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Fred Morton

Get it, get it and get it. I bought Mike's Speedlight course and this is on the list after watching it on line. The course design by Mike with the Creative Live staff is a successful blend of content and presentation. I absolutely loved how Mike took us on location for several shoots, where we could see the setup and problems that he had to resolve. This is a must have course for photographers interested in landscape work. Another powerful part of this class is Mike's willingness to demonstrate and show us what didn't work. The practical experience in his course was just like being in the field with Mike.

user a5f3c6

Mike combines two characteristics of a great teacher: he's obviously knowledgable and competent about his subject matter and he's relaxed and confident in how he presents his ideas. This class covers everything I need to know about photographing and printing panoramas. But, it is much more. It is a class that shows the essential skills involved in shooting, post-processing, and printing photographs and how to apply them to a specific application: panoramas. I learned a lot! Thanks, Mike.

Sue Sirius

This workshop was terrific! I learned so much about taking, processing and printing panoramas (and photos in general). I found the presentation very easy to follow with great examples and instructions. Highly recommend this!