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How to Photograph and make Panoramas using Lightroom

Panoramas are awesome, they can be really useful for capturing larger areas, and increasing your creative options. With mobile phones having some great software built in that creates them instantly. A lot of people wonder how you can do that with your own camera/ drone etc etc. There are actually many different ways to achieve this. I am just going to be talking about how I do it in Lightroom. The techniques used to shoot, can be used with any panorama making software.

How to shoot a panorama

There are two main kinds of panorama- vertical (see above) and horizontal (see below). To get the best results out of either, a tripod is the best way. You can capture panoramas without, they just may not stitch up as well.

The first step is of course to find something you think is worthy of turning into a panoramic shot. Maybe you can't fit everything you want to get in to the shot, maybe you want to try something different; there are many reasons you might want to try it out.

Once you have your shot all eyed up, take multiple shots that can all be chained together (this is where the tripod will come in useful). You can either do this free hand, which will work, you may just not line the shots up as well. Using a tripod you can start on the left side (or bottom if you are doing a vertical pano) where you want the panorama to start and take a series of shots that all have a bit of the other in the next one. Don't worry I will show you what I mean.

So, you can see in this image, each photo overlaps the next slightly. Let's take a closer look.

This overlapping of each photo is essential for making your final panorama. Use the same settings for each, unless you want a HDR panorama which I won't be talking about in this blog. This is what the final panorama from these shots looks like.

Like I mentioned before, using a tripod is the most reliable way to capture panoramas. This is because it is keeping the camera in line perfectly for you. This is what to do when you have found your shot.

Horizontal Panorama

Vertical Panorama

That's shooting a panorama covered, you can use these files in various different softwares to create panoramas. I will be showing you how to do it in Lightroom.

Making Panoramas with Lightroom

The first step is to import your images and select the ones you would like to merge into a panorama. You can select multiple images by holding down the shift key. Please note, you do not need to edit each image separately before you merge them. Lightroom will merge the files into a RAW panorama (if you have shot in RAW of course- praying that you do!) so you will not lose any quality.

Once you have your images selected, hover over one of the images, right click, then go to photo merge - panorama.

When you press that a box should pop up like this, showing you a preview of the panorama. Lightroom will automatically detect if it is a vertical or horizontal panorama, and show you a preview before you commit to making one.

As you can see there are 3 main options at the top, perspective, cylindrical and spherical. Personally I tend to use perspective most of the time, Feel free to have a click and see what the preview looks like. Do whichever you like.

The tick boxes are useful too. Fill edges can stretch your image to fill the corners - personally not much of a fan, it can look ok sometimes though. The boundary warp slider does the same as fill edges, just allows you to control how much of a warp you would like.

Auto crop is really cool, just crops in getting rid of all that white negative space automatically for you.

Auto settings applies an automatic edit from Lightroom, again I don't use this personally. Once you press merge, your computer might start whirring a bit. Then once the image is merged you can edit it etc just as normal.

Thats how you can make some awesome panoramas right now, whether using a drone or whatever it's the same technique. Thank you for reading.


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