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Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Lesson 14 of 30

Workflow in Lightroom


Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Lesson 14 of 30

Workflow in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Workflow in Lightroom

For now we're in the next phase in the panorama process and some people enjoy this phase, post-processing, and some people detest this phase. Just like there was a ton of stuff to know about in the field, there's also a ton of stuff that you have to know about here in Lightroom and in Photoshop. So this next segment here, we'll be talking about post-processing. And I'll be talking about post-processing specifically in these two software programs. There's a ton of software out there that allows us to do panoramas but these are most common, Photoshop and Lightroom. I'm gonna walk you through a variety of things today. I'm gonna walk you through my general Lightroom work flow, and then how that specifically applies to working in panoramas. And then I'll also be showing you how to merge those photos together using the Lightroom software. And then I'll show you how to merge those photos together using Photoshop. And then we'll talk about finishing the images because after they're merged, th...

ere's always more we have to do like fix the edges, or fix dust, or do some warping and further merging. So let's go ahead and start here in Lightroom. During the day, during the pre photo shoot, I took around 1000 images and we took some for another class I'm teaching on auto focus but about, I'd say, three quarters of those were panoramas. Now, panoramas are interesting because you take a lot of images to get one. I think one of those images we shot was like 25. And so dealing with those and managing those in your digital asset management software, your DAM software like Lightroom. Dealing with them is actually quite complicated for some people cause you're like, "Where did this panorama start and where does it end?" What's the beginning and what's the end? Some people use a field technique and that is they take a picture and they put their hand in the frame. So they'll take one shot and they'll go, click. There hands in that frame and that constitutes, or denotes, the first image. And then next image is the beginning and then the end. I don't do that a whole lot cause I've been shooting panoramas a long time and a lot of times I'm just moving quick out in the field so that requires me then to go back into Lightroom and figure out where the beginning was and where the end was. So I'm gonna show you how I do that. As I scroll through here on the screen you'll see all the thumbnails and you see all of the panorama shots that we took for the day. Quite a few. And I take a lot of sample, I take a lot of shots to get one. And I know if I didn't get the shot right from the get go, I keep shooting. All right, so here's how I work. I'm gonna go back up to the top here. I'm in Lightroom and I'm right here at the top of the window. I'm in the library module. In the library is where you do all of your digital asset management, this is where you manage everything. So the first thing that I think is important is key wording. What I will typically do is I will find all the panoramas in my scene, or in my grid here, and I'll just highlight them. So I click on the first one and then I hold down the shift button and I click on the last one. And then I go over here to the keywords and I add the appropriate key words. And in this case, I add the word panorama. Panorama helps me find the photo later on. Maybe I'm a year down the road and I'm like, "Oh yeah, I remember that time. I wanna find that panorama that I took with Creative Live in Seattle." And then I can just search my entire database for those images and they come up. So keywording is the first thing I think is important. Okay, the next thing after I've gone through and I've keyworded this whole thing, the next thing I do is I find the individual panorama groups. Here is a panorama group and if you recall this from the morning segment, this was one of the incorrectly done panoramas where I included too much sky, but that's okay. So I take that group and it looks like there are five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11. So there's 11 images in that group. I then right mouse click and I choose stacking and what that then allows me to do is take all of those images and group them into a single stack. All right, so rather than seeing 11 images on the screen, now I've just got one. And you see there's an 11 symbol there at the top of the thumbnail. If I click on that, it opens up the stack and then if I click on it again, it collapses the stack. All right, so that's a way after you've gone through and done your field photography, come back into your computer and you just stack images group. And it just reduces the clutter. Next, we have to decide which panoramas we want to work on. And that's what you see here, all of my colored labels. Now, Lightroom has all kinds of options available to us for labeling and tagging our images. Some people like star ratings. So down here at the bottom of the thumbnail, there are these star ratings. Some people will say, like these five stars, like, "Oh, those are my five star images." Other people use color ratings. I'm a color guy and this is how I use my colors. Red means it's a select. So it's selected for the project. And I'm working kinda from the publishing industry. Since I've written a lot of books, this is kinda how I work in this industry. Anything that's red is my initial selection. And then once I've worked with the editor, or the book editor and the staff, and we've all decided that yeah, that's a good image, then we turn it to green. Green means go or green means approved for the final project. So, you can see I've already kind of gone through our shoot here in Seattle and I've marked a bunch red. And then once I've... Let's say this one here. I'm gonna go full screen, I'm gonna type the letter F to go to full screen. Here's a finished panorama. This is green, I colored it green for go, or it's the final result. This is one that I'll print. Something like that. Okay, I'm gonna type the letter G to go back to grid and that's back to the library. So, how do I decide which images I like? Well, a lot of times it's just a gut feel. Let's give an example here, later in the day, for example. Later in the day the light was getting really good. So I'm gonna go full screen on this one, or larger. I type the letter E for loop. So then I'm gonna scroll through these images and the light was really good on these images. And it felt good, and I remember the enthusiasm of our production team, and I remember myself. My bloods moving and I'm so excited, this is great! And so, the point I'm trying to make here is sometimes our emotion gets in the way of choosing a good photo. Just because you were emotionally excited about the image, doesn't mean that it really is a good image. So sometimes I actually like to wait awhile before I process my images and select them. Awhile meaning a week or two weeks, or sometimes even a month because once you've separated yourself emotionally, then you start to really understand, oh, this one is truly a bad image and that one is even better. Sometimes I just recommend, give yourself a little bit of space before you decide which ones you wanna work on. For that photo shoot, I already mentioned my favorite photo of the day and that was down here at the bottom. I'm gonna click my green filter, down here in the lower part, this is my filter bar, so I can just show you the one that I liked at the end of the day the best. It's right here. I'm gonna go full frame, type the letter F. And that really was the best image of the day. And by that time we were tired and maybe not as excited about the shoot, so giving myself some time away from the photos helps me select good versus bad. Okay, so that's a little bit about managing your photos in Lightroom. I use colored labels, other people might use star labels, and then there's a third one, the last one that I mentioned, is down here in the bottom of the screen. This is a pick, as a flag, so you can flag your images. Some people put a white flag on the ones they like and they put a black flag on the ones that they don't like. I'm a color guy. All right, I'm gonna go back up here to the top of my library and I'm gonna click on none, which stands for no filters, and now we're just gonna look at all the images inside of Lightroom that we took that day.

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.


  1. Class introduction

    A print is tangible evidence of an experience, as Hagen says, but that doesn't discredit the process of actually taking the shots, editing the images and, yes, finally getting that print. In the first lesson, Hagen walks photographers through what to expect for the class from packing the right gear to perfecting that final print.

  2. Field Techniques, Camera & Lens Choices

    Unlike film, you don't need a specialized panoramic camera to create a digital panorama -- just something with some megapixel power. Don't assume that all panoramic views are captured with wide angle lenses, however. While the result is a wide field of view, Hagen explains when he shoots with a 14-24mm lens -- and when he shoots with a 70-200mm or even a 200 to 400mm lens. Discover the right gear for panoramas and why you don't necessarily need the most expensive lenses in this lesson.

  3. Selecting Gear for Great Panormas

    The smaller accessories are often just as important when stitching multiple images together for those wide views. Hagen walks you through what tripods to use, along with time-saving accessories like a bowl head.

  4. Camera Menu Settings & Exposure

    Without the right camera settings, differences between images will create obvious stitch lines. Hagen walks photographers through the best settings for shooting panoramas.

  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.

  6. What Contributes to a Great Panorama

    Can you really capture a great wide view without really knowing what makes a great panorama? Learn what makes a great panoramic image and what mistakes to avoid.

  7. Shooting Vertical Panoramas

    There's no rule saying panoramas are all horizontal wide views. Sometimes, a vertical panorama is a better fit for the scene. Vertical panoramas present new challenges, however, with lens and perspective distortion. Here, Hagen shows photographers how to minimize those distortions for great vertical panoramas.

  8. Shooting Techniques for Black & White Panoramas

    If you start creating a black and white panorama in the editing stage, you're not going to get the best result. Learn how to properly expose and shoot a panorama with monochrome in mind.

  9. Handheld Technique for beginners

    Do you really need to spend hundreds on a fancy tripod set-up? What about when that visual spectacle isn't tripod-friendly? Tripods are helpful, but not always a must. Here, Hagen shoots on site with a tripod-free technique for panoramas.

  10. Tripod Technique for Intermediate Photographers

    Got a tripod, but maybe not the fanciest panorama gear? Walk through the process of shooting with mid-level gear for more than mid-level results.

  11. Advanced Technique for Panoramas

    Using the best gear, like a panoramic gimbal head? See a real-world shoot using high-end gear for photographers that shoot frequent wide view panoramas and learn advanced techniques for avoiding parallax issues.

  12. Navigating Moving Subjects in Panoramas

    Movement in panoramas creates tricky scenarios -- and can even make a person or moving object appear in your image more than once. While most panorama tutorials will tell you just to avoid moving subjects, Hagen walks through his approach for freezing a moving subject inside a panorama.

  13. How Time of Day Impacts Panoramas

    Light plays a big role in every image, and without flash as an option, planning the shoot for the best natural light is essential. In this real-world shoot, Hagen walks you through how he prepares to find the best light in the scene.

  14. Workflow in Lightroom

    By this point in the class, you have several, separate images -- this is where you learn how to assemble those images into panoramic views, starting by organizing all those files. Using Lightroom, Hagen walks through his post-processing workflow.

  15. Developing Images in Lightroom

    Once photos are uploaded, culled and arranged, development is next. Hagen walks through Lightroom techniques for editing before the stitch and easy methods for keeping images in the same panorama consistent.

  16. Merging Images

    Assembling those separate images together happens in Lightroom through the merge tool -- learn the basics as well as tricks for correcting panorama errors with tools like the Boundary Warp.

  17. Finishing Techniques

    The work isn't quite finished after the stitch. Learn how Hagen continues to fine-tune panoramas, from retouching the sky while leaving the lower portion untouched to removing dust spots.

  18. Saving Images for Print

    If you own your own printer, you can print directly from Lightroom -- but you can still get great prints without investing in a printer. Hagen walks through the best parameters for exporting large panoramas for lab printing.

  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.

  20. Profiling & Calibrating Your Monitor

    Monitor calibration is important but often overlooked essential to getting prints to look just as great as the colors on your screen. Watch the monitor calibration process and real time and find the best types of monitors for photo work.

  21. Wide Gamet Color Settings

    What color space is best for working with large, high-quality prints? Here, Hagen explains color spaces and when to use each one.

  22. Soft Proofing Images

    Printing errors are expensive when you're printing out wide view panoramas that measure in feet instead of inches. Soft proofing is a technique that can help you avoid those expensive printing errors.

  23. Selecting the Right Paper for Prints

    Paper choice matters. Hagen walks you through how paper choice influences the final image and what paper choices are best for different types of panoramic projects.

  24. Sharpening Images

    Sharpening polishes that final image before printing -- but do you use Lightroom's sharpening tools in the Develop module or the Print Sharpening tool? Hagen walks you through the best practices for sharpening a photo for printing.

  25. Printing with Lightroom

    Lightroom's print module helps prep images for print, but what do all the options mean, and what settings are best for panoramas? Hagen digs into Lightroom's print module in this lesson.

  26. Printing with Photoshop

    Photoshop is another option to print panoramas from -- but a lot can go wrong here. Hagen walks through troubleshooting prints from Photoshop.

  27. Black & White Printing

    Editing and printing for black and white is an entirely different ballgame from color. Learn how to edit a black and white panorama in Lightroom, followed by, of course, printing.

  28. Best Practices for Printing your Image at a Lab

    You don't have to own a high-end printer to get great prints -- and in fact, Hagen himself sends a majority of his images to a lab. But how do you know what color space to use, and what lab is best for printing panoramas?

  29. Analyzing & Displaying the Print

    Getting great prints is about more than color calibration and proper print settings -- the room the image will be hanging in matters too, particularly the ambient lighting. Hagen takes students through the process of analyzing the print and prepping for the final display.

  30. Reviewing Panoramas Printed in Class

    Through this class, you've walked through the panorama process from gear to shoot to print. In the final lesson, take a look at the results of the images created during the course, from the classic Seattle shot in the United States to black and white 360 panoramas of France or Ireland.


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!