How to create a panorama in Lightroom

Header image panorama

Taking panoramas is a classic in the photography world, but how to create them is a different scenery. Nowadays smartphones are capable of creating panoramic shots given the improvements made to both software and sensor, resulting in more than acceptable quality panoramas; however, for the professional work, they don’t apply.

It won’t be near the same quality to have a smartphone created a panorama in comparison to DSLR shots merged into a panorama (or even compact cameras are still top over smartphones).

So how we create a panorama in Lightroom? Follow up this quick guide for getting the best of your tools.

Photoshoot procedure

As you all know, panoramic pictures are the result of merging five or more shots either via PC software or camera software. While some cameras have built in the software for creating panoramic shots, the most common scenery is not to find that option available. In that case what we need to do is the following:

  1. Position yourself at a point without obstructions for your camera lens sight.
  2. Start noticing the scene surrounding you; try to remember key elements you may use as a reference for stitching photos.
  3. If your camera is heavy, or you are afraid your hands may shake during the process, go for a tripod to make the work easier.
  4. Start taking photos from one point. Set one starting point and an endpoint; remember most of all the endpoint, since it will be the start point of the next shot.
  5. Keep moving the camera into a straight line, without moving your body from the position you are standing at.
  6. Take the shots under the same conditions for both apertures and shutter speed.
  7. Save every pic with the same format.

Keep in mind we are going to create wide-angle panoramas, 180 degrees panorama top if we have enough pictures to create the view. And I make a point on this since there are several kinds of panoramic photos.

Also, notice that there are two methods for taking shots capable of merging into panoramic pictures:

  1. Taking horizontal shots– an easy method for quick panoramas, where resolution is not important.
  2. Taking vertical shots– this is my preferred way to capture panoramas. Vertical images capture more of the sky and ground, also they require more shots in order to create a great length panoramic picture, so the increase in quality of the resulting panoramic is implicit while working with this method

Lightroom does the magic – Photomerge command

After you took all the shots you needed to get the job done, it’s time to load them inside Lightroom.
If you load multiple pictures, Lightroom will show them as a new import.

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Select all the pictures. Lightroom will tell you if there is any kind of problem with the photos you took since it won’t allow you to merge them when you execute the command.
Right click after selecting pictures; go to Photomerge and then Merge to Panorama (or use the shortcut CTRL+M for Windows or its equivalent for Mac as you can see over here ).

02_panorama

Lightroom will now open a new dialog window for interacting with the command itself. As you can see, it gives a preview of what the merged image will look like, as well as options for different kind of panoramic pictures.
For most cases, you will be using Perspective. Cylindrical works for 360 panoramic pictures, and Spherical only for Spherical panoramas.

03_panorama
Go with Perspective now and tick Auto-crop. This means Lightroom will crop the surrounding edges it doesn’t need for the final shot, as well as the transparent pixels created for aligning the pictures in place.
And the only thing you need to do now is hit the button Merge.
That’s all. Simple, right?

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05_panorama

Lightroom also offers another way of creating a Panorama, this one is via Photoshop. If you select all the pictures, then you can go right click, Edit in, and go to one of the last options that are called Merge to Panorama in Photoshop. This option can be useful if you plan to add some effects to the generated panorama, as you work only in one interface.

The last thing I did to the generated panorama was to give some adjustments to it. Generated panoramic picture can also be saved as a RAW if you are working with RAW files, which can be extremely useful if you plan to use the RAW file for sharing or editing multiple times.

06_panorama

In case you stick to work with Lightroom, I recommend you to take an eye at this preset collection for enhancing your newly created panoramic image.

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