Michael Breitung Photography

Advanced Panorama Photo Editing

I don’t take panorama photos very often. But when I do so I want to make sure that I get a high quality result and that during post processing I have full control over the stitching and blending of the photos.

During my travels around the world I visited Phillip Island in the south-east of Australia one evening. I wanted to photograph the Pinnacles at Cape Woolamai for sunset. At first it didn’t look very promising with grey clouds obscuring the sky. But just before sunset the sun finally broke through and bathed the scene in wonderful golden light.

Since my wide angle lens wasn’t enough to take in the whole view I quickly leveled my tripod and took a panorama instead, panning the camera six times between the photos. This eventually gave me enough field of view to have both the Pinnacles to one side of the frame and another prominent sea stack on the other side. With the sun nearly in the middle I had to deal with a huge dynamic range, so I had bracketing active all the time.

panorama of spectacular sunset at cape woolamai

I now had this photo sitting on my hard-drive for nearly one year. Stitching and blending panoramas can be a real pain. In Lightroom you can do automatic HDR blending and then stitch the panorama. But with such a photo where you have moving water and the sun directly in the frame, the results are often lacking.

Also, using Lightroom wouldn’t allow me to export separate panoramas for the different exposures for later blending in Photoshop, which is my preferred tool for exposure blending.

So instead of Lightroom I opted for Hugin, a free panorama stitching tool, which was written around the Panotools library. There are several GUIs out there, which use this library. My choice fell to Hugin because it’s a free tool and although it has some shortcomings, over the years I have found solutions for them.

In my newest Start2Finish Tutorial I share those solutions and tricks with you. As I explain in the video above I show you my complete workflow for the panorama photo of Cape Woolamai. I talk about my in the field process and about raw-processing. The panorama stitching in Hugin is then a major part of the tutorial as well as the exposure blending in Photoshop.

I also go through all the creative adjustments I made to the photo after the blending. I show you my sharpening workflow and how I finally prepare the photo for print.

If you have questions about the tutorial, feel free to contact me. Also note that for the first 30 people purchasing the tutorial, I have a discount of 5$ active – the code is “Early”.

Panorama Post Processing Start to Finish