Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop

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While the previous article dealt with creating stunning panorama photographs, this article deals with stitching the multiple photographs together to create panorama in Adobe Photoshop software.

So, assuming that you took multiple photographs to create panorama following all the necessary steps as described in the previous article, let us jump into post processing steps.

Note: These steps are applicable only for Adobe Photoshop users. There are other similar softwares that create panorama, but I haven’t used them and cannot make comments.

Step #1: Adjust White Balance Settings

This step applies if you shoot RAW format and have used Auto White Balance setting while taking photographs. If you have already set the white balance in field, then proceed to step #2.

Here are the 3 images that I took in Lake of Clouds, Upper Peninsula, to create a panorama. Since I used Auto WB setting, the tree images have slightly different value. As it was a cloudy day, I am setting the white balance to Cloudy for all three images in View NX2 software.

Note: View NX2 is a RAW converter for Nikon users. Canon users would have to use Digital Photo Professional software.

Below are the 6 screen shots of 3 images with recorded value and the new white balance setting.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Auto White Balance Setting

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Cloudy Setting

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Auto White Balance Setting

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Cloudy Setting

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Auto White Balance Setting

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Cloudy Setting

After the white balance setting, I exported all 3 files to TIF format.

Step #2: Use Automate Option in Photoshop to Stitch the Files

Open all 3 files in the Photoshop and chose File -> Automate -> Photomerge option as shown.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

This will open up a dialog box with some options for merging the photographs. Generally I chose Auto mode (which is default) as it does fairly good job.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Select Add Open Files option which would list all the opened files. Make sure to remove the unwanted files, if any. Below screenshot shows the 3 files that I want to stitch.  Click OK.

If you haven’t opened the files yet, then you can use Browse option to open the required files and click OK when you are done.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Within seconds, Photoshop would stitch the files perfectly and give you a stitched panorama!

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Photoshop has done a wonderful job stitching the photographs perfectly to create a panorama.
There will be some alignment problem despite taking care of all the important factors in the field.
You have to fix it by cropping

Check how the layers are formed in the merge operation. You could tweak the layers if there is some issue in stitching. But it is generally not necessary.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

The Layers tab show the masks that are used to stitch each photograph. You can tweak them if needed.

Step #3: Crop as Needed

Despite using the sturdy tripod and making sure the leveling is right, there is still some alignment issue on top and bottom. Which is quite common and you should account for it while taking photographs.

Crop the grey area.

Note: You have to make sure to give 5-10% tolerance in the top and bottom of the frame as you might have some alignment issue. My bad, I missed this point in my previous article on how to create panorama.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

If you look at two arrows, there seems to be a break in merged parts. There is a thin white line running across second and third photograph.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

If you zoom in to those portions, you will see that there is no issue. It is just an overlay to show the merged portions.

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

First time when I saw it, I tried to fix it and was disappointed too. Because I didn’t zoom! When I couldn’t fix the error I zoomed in to see what’s wrong, only to realize my mistake 🙂

Step #4: Post Process the Panorama File

Here is the final post processed panorama file. It was the peak autumn with vibrant yellows and reds against dark green turning the Lake of Clouds to Lake of Colors!

Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop.  creating stunning panorama photographs. Nature, Landscape, Bird, and Wildlife Photography by Prathap.

Isn’t it very easy to create panorama using software? There’s no reason why you shouldn’t start creating more and more panoramic photographs whenever you get chance.

The only real deal here is the enormous amount of data you got to deal with. Unless you have very good configuration, your laptop/pc would die of performing the post processing steps.

One option is to resize the file to a manageable size, say 8000 to 10000 pixel on the longer side, before processing the file. This resolution is quite good to blow up to a reasonably good print. On the other hand, if you want to print it life size, you might want to keep the full resolution and have patience during processing 🙂

I have described my complete post processing steps in depth in my eBook “A Step-by-Step Guide to Post Processing Bird Photographs using Lightroom and Photoshop”

I hope enjoyed reading this article. I would appreciate if you share this article with your friends.

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2 Responses to Post Processing Tips for Panorama Photographs in Adobe Photoshop

  1. Ron June 12, 2015 at 5:34 am #

    Hi Prathap It is some while since I have used panorama stitching but seeing your article reminds me I should use my .tripod more, I remember the steps after seeing your demonstration so will let you know how I go cheers Ron

    • Prathap June 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

      That’s great! Ron. I would look forward for your panorama photographs.

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