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Adjusting Panoramas in Lightroom

Lesson 24 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Adjusting Panoramas in Lightroom

Lesson 24 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

24. Adjusting Panoramas in Lightroom


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Adjusting Panoramas in Lightroom

So another new capability in Lightroom is the ability to stitch panoramas. And you know, it might not sound that exciting because you've been able to stitch panoramas in Photoshop and in other software for years or decades. But it really is special because when you stitch a panorama in Lightroom, just like with HDR, the end result is a raw file. Whereas in the past, the end result was always a TIF, a Photoshop, something else, and you lost a lot of the advantages of a raw file. And what you had to do in the past is adjust your image before you stitched it. To take advantage of the qualities of the raw files much as you could, and then once you thought you were done adjusting it, you merged the images together. Well if you have a panorama, what if the sun is on the right side? Relatively dominate and huge. And on the left side is something dark. How can you judge what adjustment setting is needed if you can't see the entire panorama all together and choose the best setting? So with a ne...

w version, we can now stitch panoramas and you don't have to adjust the images ahead of time. That means I can stitch panoramas that might look like this one. If you look at this particular one, those are called super trees by the way, do you see how dark the shadows are? At least those of you that are watching the screen. It's something where I would usually want to adjust it first and in fact I wanna make sure these aren't adjusted. So no they're not. It's usually something where I would have optimized the pictures first and then stitch them. But because of the new version, I'm able to stitch them and adjust it afterwards and lose no quality in the process. Whereas if you did the same thing with any previous method, if you didn't adjust the images first, instead you only adjusted it after stitching, you were sacrificing a lot of quality because you were no longer working on a raw file. So let me show you the process. First, we're gonna stitch these particular images. I'll select the images by clicking on the first one, holding shift, looking on the last, I'll go to photo, photo merge, panorama. Remember that's only available in the newest version. If you don't find it available in your menu, you got an older version of Lightroom. If you have an older version of Lightroom, you can still stich your panoramas using Photoshop. And you do that by choosing photo, edit in, and you'll find a choice of photo merge or, no it's not photo merge, it's just merge to panorama or something like that. Anyway, here is the end result so far. Let's look at the options on the right side. We have three choices here for how it stitches them together. It's really how is it going to distort those images to make sure that they fit together. And what we can do is we can make it feel like it's just been it's going to lay out the pictures as if you're inside a globe, a ball, like a beach ball and you're pushing the images onto the inner surface of the beach ball to bend them so they would fit together. Or we can choose cylindrical where it'll act like you're inside a soup can and you're just laying out the images around that soup can. You know, bending them just in that one direction not in the ball sense where it would bend at the top too. Or we can choose perspective where it's going to pick the middle image and think that one is where we should make everything else match. In this image it doesn't wanna do that. But that's what these choices are. Or if you choose auto-select, it will pick the one it thinks is best. Most of the time, you just leave it on auto-select and you only click on these other choices if you glance over here and you don't like what it looks like. The choice called auto crop is when it fits these images together so they match. It has to distort them and bend them. And in the process, you don't end up with a rectangular picture. If I turn off auto crop, you'd be able to see that it wasn't a rectangular end result. And it would not crop out those extra areas. So, auto crop can be good or bad. If you're in a hurry and needed to get this panorama to somebody right away, auto crop can save you some time 'cause you don't have to crop out that stuff but in this end result, notice how close the top of this is to the top of the photo. Whereas if I have auto crop turned off, do you see how there was a lot more sky up there? And if I were to crop, it's only because over here in the corner, do you see how far down it bends? But what if I was gonna crop that out of the picture? You know, I might wanna manually crop this one. Also, I can use some special techniques in Photoshop that we can talk about to fill in these white areas with blue that would match the sky. And therefore, I wouldn't need to crop it as much. So it depends on if when you that turned on, it feels like it's cropped too tight. Then turn it off and you'll fix that part in Photoshop or if it looks fine, just use it. Then you click merge. And it's gonna create a file for you. You'll see a progress bar in the upper left as it works. And once that's done working, it'll just show up right here in Lightroom in the same area you're viewing. Now I've already done that with another set of images so we don't have to wait for that progress bar. I've done it with the other series that I showed you of the super trees. And I'm gonna click on the end result and I'll press D to go to develop. So once it's done, you process this image like any raw file you've ever processed. Which means you could go over here and go to your presets. And you could say in this particular case, this looks like I need to brighten the shadows. So I go to my tonal brightening presets. I don't want to do the highlights. I wanna do the shadow so I scroll down to that area and I start mousing over those to see which one of these, if any, might give me more of what I need. Click on it. And see if you might wanna just back off a little bit. And then you go over to the other side of your screen and fine tune it. Maybe it's just a little bit too bright overall. And maybe contrast just a teeny bit. But I could continue to use presets as well. And we have those for vibrance and everything. It's just for me, using the presets on this particular screen, is difficult because this is acting like about a 12 inch laptop due to how we stream. Usually I work on a 27 inch monitor. I can see the whole presets list of a whole category and it's easy to see what other categories of presets there are and you can be much faster. Here, I feel like I'm on crutches, you know, trying to go through it so I won't use them quite as much. I usually use them extensively. Then if you wanna manually crop it, you got your crop tool right there and I might crop in to where I think it would be appropriate. But I can show you later on how to fill those currently empty areas with content in Photoshop. And so therefore, I wouldn't need to crop this at all. I could just create content to filL those empty areas. That's up to you. Just wanna make sure you knew how to stitch panoramas in Lightroom. And though the end result is a raw file. It has the same qualities as a raw file. So there's no need to make adjustments ahead of time unless you feel like it. Why not stitch the panorama first and then, you know, do your adjustments? And that's the main advantage of having this new version which I think is great.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work