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Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Lesson 14 of 30

Workflow in Lightroom

Mike Hagen

Photographing Panoramas for Large Prints

Mike Hagen

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Lesson Info

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.

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.

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!