(FREE TUTORIAL) The Merge To HDR Panorama Command In Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic
The new *Merge To HDR Panorama* command inside of the mid-October 2018 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic update can be a big timesaver when you are building huge high dynamic range panoramic images.
This new feature makes building an image with an expanded tonal range, and a wider field of view than your camera can capture in a single shot, much easier as long as you begin the process with all the right frames. It’s the “beginning the process with all of the right frames part” though that remains the challenge here.
If you really want top-notch results from your HDR Panoramic merges then you must do three things with your camera while you are out shooting.
First, be sure to capture raw files that contain sufficient detail in the brightest or darkest parts of your scene. Your bracketed exposures do not need to capture the entire dynamic range that the human eye can see.
If highlight details, for example, will be essential in your final composited HDR image then be sure that the darkest frames in your bracketed sequence include plenty of detail in their brightest pixels while you are out shooting.
Second, be aware of anything that moving things are your enemy when you are shoot your brackets. If there are a lot of things moving around in front of your camera, like tree branches that are blowing in the wind, then expect less than ideal results when you merge all your raw files together. Ghosting, and other types of motion artifacts, are tell-tale signs of a bad HDR composite.
Third, be sure to leave plenty of overlap as you move your camera around for your panorama. As a general rule, try to leave at least twenty-percent overlapping area in each frame.
Also, try to keep the horizon as level as possible as you move your camera across the scene. None of the basic requirements for a good panoramic image change just because you are also capturing bracketed exposures for each segment of the final merged image.
Creating high dynamic range panoramas is not something that most of us are likely to do very often even with this helpful new feature in Lightroom Classic. Still when it works, and where the situation warrants so much effort, the final results are fantastic!
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