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Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Lesson 5 of 30

Troubleshooting Environmental Obstacles

Mike Hagen

Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

5. Troubleshooting Environmental Obstacles
Panoramas are often captured while traveling when there isn't an option to wait for the best weather. This lesson looks at what to do when there are obstacles in the shot, from bad weather to objects in the way of the shot.

Lesson Info

Troubleshooting Environmental Obstacles

The next is engaging with your environment. Working with what you've been given, when we travel a lot of times we really want the beautiful skies, the great weather, but sometimes we don't get it, so how do we deal with that when we shoot panoramas? So the weather at your location plays a big role in panoramas from the standpoint of, some days are like this, these blue bird days with these white, puffy clouds, this is an epic day to shoot panoramas. The colors are poppin' off of all of this rust on this area in the background, you can't hardly miss in situations like that. But what do we do when it's cloudy, or rainy, or windy, other scenarios, other environmental situations really impact our panorama photography. So when it's sunny out, generally what I'm looking for are white, puffy clouds. If I can get white, puffy clouds in the background behind my subject, I'm a happy man. So on the other hand, maybe it's cloudy out, it's kind of drab, in that situation, I actually change my panor...

ama approach, I go to a scenario where I'm excluding a lot of the sky because it's very boring in a big panorama like this, there's no texture and detail up in the clouds. So maybe I'll go down to a rusty portion of bolts and I'll shot a panorama of that, or maybe some grass and flowers. So I really limit my scope in my panoramas on cloudy, rainy days. On sunny days, go big, go bold. You know, another thing to think about when you're photographing in the environment, a lot of things you can't control. For example, here we have this black fence around the perimeter of the gas works park area and I think the black fence is kinda ugly. So you gotta kinda weigh, do I wanna photograph the scene so the black fence isn't there, or do I wanna include the black fence in the scene? And if I do wanna include it, would I have enough time later on to do editing in Photoshop to actually get rid of it? Well in this case, getting rid of a black fence like that is near impossible. So what I'm gonna do is I'm actually gonna incorporate the fence as more like a gritty, urban scene. So one of my rules around composition is, if you're gonna include it, then really include it, and make it a part of the photo, and that's what I'm gonna do for this shot. Cool, so the, let me forward this here, here's the resulting image. This was the resulting image with the black fence, and you know, I mentioned earlier that I think this sometimes, fences always bother photographers. Do you include the fence? Do you not include the fence? Well here there's really no other option. Well maybe there was an option, I probably could've taken the panorama and cropped it something like this, but it would've just looked odd. You don't have the feet of the buildings, or the base of the industrial scene down here, so we need that as a foundation. So here I included the fence. I think it's okay, it's alright, it's not what I expected when I went to the park. So one of my rules of photography is if it's there in the frame, then include it, include it in a way that makes sense. So we even made a print of this, this is the last print that we just produced right here, and now that I look at it in the print, the black fence isn't really all that bad. So dealing with the environment when you get there is a big part of being a photographer and an artist. I also talked about weather, we're not always able to control the weather, we live here in Washington and it just worked out on our pre shoot day that we had beautiful, stunning weather. But if we didn't, I would've changed my approach and like I said, I tend to go smaller when the weather gets worse. So I'm looking for more detail type stuff when we have rain or cloud. Beautiful days like this, those clouds make your photos just sing, so include it.

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!