Join Richard Harrington for an in-depth discussion in this video Merging HDR images, part of Creating Panoramas with Lightroom.
- The first step to creating a panoramic high dynamic range image is to start by creating high dynamic range images. In this case, we'll take multiple exposures and merge them together. Remember, if you are shooting a traditional pano, you might have five, ten, even twenty shots. Now you have groups of shots. In this case maybe three, five or seven shots going into each shot. You're going to take those individual brackets or exposures and merge them into a single new shot.
The resulting DNG file will have a wider dynamic range, and Lightroom will be able to use this later to create a full panoramic photo. Alright, let's try the merge-out and work with some detailed shots. Let's create a new collection to hold our new files. We'll call this 8_HDR Pano, and click create. There we go. We'll select that so it's targeted, and now go into importing.
Let me just navigate to my drive. Let's select folder eight. This folder contains several images showing the full dynamic range for the scene, as well as a lot of panning around to capture the environment. Let's twirl it down here. And we'll select everything from Folder 8-2. And click Import. This adds the images into our library.
I'll switch over to library to make sure that they're visible and of course use the grid view. Let's adjust the size of the thumbnails so we can see each of those spreads. You'll notice here that we have one, two, three, four, five, six, seven images per bracket. As such, we're going to combine these into a new HDR image before we can create the pano. Let's select those first seven images. I'll do that by Shift-Clicking to select the range, and then with a right click, I can choose Photo Merge: HDR.
This will bring up the dialogue and generates a preview. There should not be too much de-ghosting, so I'll just choose medium as there wasn't a lot of movement within the scene. I did shoot on a tripod, but taking advantage of Auto Align and Auto Toning will get me that much closer. Let's see how the first image turns out. That looks good. The alignment seems clean and all of the details are registered. So, I'll click the Merge button to create the file. While it's merging that HDR, let's choose to stack these images.
Photos: Stacking: Group into Stack. The shortcut is CMD or CTRL G. In fact, let's continue to go through and group the remaining images. I'll select that and group into a stack, and then invoke the merge process. Remember the shortcut for Photo Merge was CTRL H. If you add the Shift key, it'll invoke the same command without bringing up the dialogue. So, there we go. Shift CTRL H, and we'll start that merge.
Grab the next seven images. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Group them into a stack, and CTRL Shift H. You see multiple operations are in progress. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Group into stack. CMD or CTRL G, and then CTRL Shift H to generate the merge. Alright, let's keep going on that path. This is where I'd love to see a future version that just has some intelligent batch processing, but that's OK. This group command is pretty easy.
Group and invoke the merge. You will recall that under the Stacking menu, you can experiment with auto-stacking by capture time, and that might make it a bit easier to automatically group these. But I find that this process here, while a bit manual, does give me a chance to review my images. Alright, you see that the first image here has been completed. If I mouse over it, it tells me that this is the HDR image.
This is created from that first set of merges. Remember, you can click up here in the status area to see what's happening. This is going to take a little bit of time, so why don't we let the HDR merging complete, and once that's all done, we can move onto the next step of building the panoramic photo.
- Shooting strategies for panoramas
- Organizing photos in Lightroom
- Starting Panoramic Photomerge
- Merging raw files
- Changing your projection method
- Automating the panorama process
- Combining Lightroom and Photoshop
- Creating an HDR panorama