Creating Panoramas in Lightroom


The Professional Photographer’s Digital Workflow


Lesson Info

Creating Panoramas in Lightroom

I did create some, picked out some images, panoramics. I did a trip to Norway a couple years ago and just so you can see, that's the panoramic we're gonna be creating. This is the Lofoten Islands in Norway. If you ever get a chance to go there, it's a pretty amazing place. It's kinda brutal in the winter but pretty amazing. I love cold winter, this is the summer. We did a big sailing trip. So, I shot a whole host of images and, you know, lots of people, when they shoot panoramics, some professionals definitely get all crazy about the tripod and the fancy bracket that allows them to adjust their nodal points of where the lens is positioned so that when they turn the camera, it's perfectly balanced left to right. That isn't me. 'Cause I'm usually carrying climbing gear or a whole bunch of other gear and I have a camera and I'm just out there like, bink, bink, bink, bink, bink, okay, there's my panoramic. And I don't really pay attention to those things 'cause if you're really close to so...

mething and you're shooting a landscape with a bush, like, five feet in front of you, then it really matters. But if you're shooting something like this, that's two or 300 feet away, not really dialing in your nodal points, not gonna, nobody's gonna notice unless they're really getting nutty and have the full res file to go in there. And even then, I don't really see much difference. And typically when I shoot a panoramic, I'm overlapping a third with either frame. The crazy thing is, this is a D810, I've shot some with my Hasselblad that end up being, like, two gigabyte files with 12 files in there. And when you load all those 16-bit files into Photoshop, your computer's like coughing, you see steam coming out of the side of the computer. So, depends on what camera you have but it's a beautiful way to make images that are much higher resolution than the camera you have. It's also often, for me, just, these are little photography tips on the side here, sometimes, I won't have the widest lens that I want. Like, my Hasselblad, they only make 'em so wide for the medium format, it's a 24 millimeter lens, it's my widest lens, which is an 18 millimeter lens, it's one of the widest medium format lenses out there but I was shooting this ice climber and I wanted a giant panorama of this entire area, which was pretty tight. So, I shot a 12 image panorama of this entire canyon to get this super wide, like, 10 millimeter view. And then put it all together in Lightroom and Photoshop in the end, just as we're gonna do here. Think about that, maybe you only have a 24 millimeter lens but you wish you had your 14 millimeter lens, well, do a panorama and then you have a 14 millimeter lens and you can put it together in post. And just be very careful about how you do it if you've got things close in the foreground. So, a little tip there. So, if we go up here, I'm still, in case you're wondering where my bar is, I'm still in full frame mode, so let me get out of that really quick just so you can see, if I go up here to photo and go to photo merge, I'm gonna go to panorama, here. And let me cancel out of this real quick. Often... Let me go to develop module, just so you can see what's going on here, there are no adjustments to these images. I do the panorama merge before I work them up because the beauty of Lightroom these days is, when I put this together, what it's gonna create is a DNG file that's a raw file that's completely editable. So, I don't necessarily need to go in here and work up the image. So, panorama, and it will come up with the panorama dialogue and this is million times easier than it used to be in Photoshop where it worked great but it was a lot of work. Lightroom does a pretty fantastic job of putting stuff together. And you'll see, right now, I have perspective, over here's the option, I might try cylindrical and just see what that looks like. It re-renders the image. This is the D810 so it's 36 megapixels, (moans) that's not that great. It stretched the mountains a little bit more than I want. Spherical, see what it does. Gotta wait for it to think, here. It's mashing 'em, so perspective looked pretty good. I'm gonna go ahead and merge from here. You can, actually, auto crop it, I prefer to leave it uncropped and I can crop later and maybe retouch some of this in if I want more sky or less, just depends on what you wanna do. And click merge. And so, it's gonna go to work. It's gonna put the image together and it's going to spit it out, probably right next to this other one that I did earlier and then I can continue working up that panorama just like I had the other images in the develop module. So, that's beautifully simple and it works incredibly well. If you do have a wide angle lens, you do have to be cognizant of how you're pointing that lens up and down because of the barrel distortion on the lens, that can become an issue but Lightroom corrects that pretty well, in my experience, it also takes out vignettes from the camera so that it looks pretty smooth. There's ways to do panoramas in Photoshop that are much more complex, but for my taste and for what I've done, this is pretty simple. Which lens you use, which? For this image? Uh-huh. That is a good question, let me go see. 300 millimeter f/4. So, that's a long lens, this thing was really far away. On a D810. So, it's not... Just whatever lens I have with me is the one I'm probably gonna use, depends on the scene. We were on a sailboat when I took this image so, the sailboat was stationary but this was the harbor we just left, actually, so that's why it's a longer lens for this example. So, from here, if I go into Lightroom, you know, er, if I go into the development module, it's the same deal as always. I'm gonna just adjust the image, I'm just gonna make a few quick adjustments here, I'm not gonna necessarily work this one up all the way. And here, definitely, I'm gonna be looking at these highlights. And you'll notice, when I hit the option key, the white background is blown out but it's pure white, so that's totally fine. Blacks, you know, you're noticing that I'm not crushing blacks here in Lightroom because if I'm gonna crush blacks or really fine tune those endpoints with histogram, I'm gonna do that in Photoshop in a known color space. So, you get the point there. I think panoramas are amazingly easy to create. They're so much fun, too. Often, what I'll do for a lot of my shoots is, lots of photographers do this, they'll create what we call plates. And we'll go and we'll shoot the background without the subject in it. And from the exact same place we're gonna shoot whatever athlete doing whatever they are or a portrait or whatever we're doing and then that allows us to move the subject in the scene, however we need to, after the fact. And for high-end commercial shoots, that's something that we do pretty much on every shoot. Gives the client a lot more options, if they want the subject over here, so they can put text on their billboard or their big in-store cardboard advertisement or whatever they're doing, it just gives them a lot more options. And that's obviously an advertising thing, you wouldn't do that for National Geographic or a newspaper or somebody like that because you can't manipulate the image like that.

Class Description

Setting up a practical and efficient workflow with your photography feels like a daunting part of your business. Internationally recognized photographer Michael Clark introduces you to techniques to allow you more time to shoot the images you want. His workflow philosophy is that you must first know how you are going to edit the image in post production to know how you need to shoot it.

In this class Michael teaches:

  • Best practices for a shooting workflow from setting up your camera to histograms and exposure
  • How to clean the sensor on your DSLR camera
  • Color management workflow including your work environment and monitor calibration
  • An overview of Lightroom® and multiple ways to speed up your workflow including file folder and batch naming as well as metadata and archival processes
  • Techniques to finalizing your images in Photoshop® with basic adjustments and retouching
  • Making fine art prints, choosing your printer, paper, understanding ICC profiles, and much more!

Michael covers everything you need to know in order to streamline your post production workflow in Lightroom® and Photoshop® and best practices for printing your art at home. Digital photography is far more complicated than shooting film ever was. Knowing the best practices for a digital workflow will make you a better photographer.


1Class Introduction 2Shooting Workflow: Set-up The Camera 3Shooting Workflow: Histograms and Exposure 4Shooting Workflow: Sensor Cleaning 5Overview of Color Management 6Color Management: Monitor 7Color Management: Workspace 8Color Management: Monitor Calibration 9Color Management: Do I Need This? 10Introduction to Lightroom® 11Download & Import Images With Lightroom® 12Lightroom® Preferences 13Six Ways to Speed-up Lightroom® 14To DNG or Not to DNG? 15A Logical Editing Process in Lightroom® 16File & Folder Naming in Lightroom® 17Batch Renaming in Lightroom® 18Entering Metadata in Lightroom® 19Managing Images in Lightroom® 20Introduction to the Develop Module in Lightroom® 21Lightroom® Develop Module 22Sharpening, Chromatic Aberration & Vignetting in Lightroom® 23Graduated Filters & Spot Tool in Lightroom® 24Converting images to Black & White in Lightroom® 25Creating Panoramas in Lightroom 26Creating HDR Images in Lightroom® 27Lightroom® to Photoshop® Workflow 28Export Images to Photoshop® 29Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Basic Adjustments 30Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Retouching 31Finalizing Images in Photoshop®: Saving Master Files 32Make Fine Art Prints: The Cost 33Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Printers 34Make Fine Art Prints: Ink Jet Papers 35Make Fine Art Prints: Understand ICC Profiles 36Make Fine Art Prints: Sharpen Image 37Printing From Photoshop® 38Printing From Lightroom® 39Compare Monitor to Physical Prints 40Printing Black & White Image 41Extended Workflow: Back Up Images 42Extended Workflow: Storage Options 43Extended Workflow: Archiving Images 44Submitting images to Clients 45Prepping Images for Social Media 46Alternative Workflows 47Final Q&A


a Creativelive Student

Michael is a true professional and readily explains all of the nitty gritty issues of a photographer's digital workflow, including important things like Color Management, Lightroom workflows, Printing, and more. He is eager to answer your questions and has a thorough knowledge (after all, he worked with the original engineers at Adobe and wrote a book on it) and passion that he loves to share. He can get way deep into the subject, which I found fascinating. You can tell Michael has great experience in teaching and also likes to learn from his students. He is very authentic, honest, and direct. I highly recommend this class, and look forward to another one of Michael's courses in the future!

a Creativelive Student

This is an excellent course. It reinforced what I already knew and enhanced my spotty skills with new knowledge. I really like Michael's explanation of saving the document for print and web and the importance of doing these differently. Using the histogram to show this was terrific. Each session there is some valuable gem.

Angelita Sanchez

A fantastic course to give you a complete view of the full process of photography. Michael is an awesome instructor, very organized! A clear mind, and an approachable instructor always willing to answer your questions! A must for all photographers!