Video – Panoramas, HDR, and Lightroom

Managing Panoramas (henceforth known as panos) and HDR photos in Lightroom is an important step in making your life a lot easier if you like that type of photography. See, I love to shoot panos. I’m not so big on HDR, but I know there are plenty of folks out there that are. What happens after shooting a lot of either type of photography is that your library becomes really cluttered. As if the clutter wasn’t bad enough, it just becomes flat-out difficult to start processing these types of photos. So instead of ditching Lightroom when you shoot at pano or HDR set, check out this week’s video and give it a try.

Click here to watch the video. (13Mb)


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  1. Hi – I tried this and it’s great for de-cluttering my library, especially with the pano/hdr image as the top of the stack, so it’s what’s seen. BUT – do you have any good ideas for how to do my select/pick/reject workflow when I can’t access the shots tucked away? If I’m auto-bracketing and have 3 of each scene, I want to only review one pic (e.g. top of stack) and then choose yea/nay on that, rather than have to trawl through each and every shot to flag it…. or flag the top shot and then have to go back through my whole shoot expanding each of the rejected/selected stacks to manually set the rest of the shots accordingly …
    Please – it’s driving me nuts!

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  2. Just wanted to point out in this thread that in Lightroom 2 there is a feature in Photo > Stacking > Auto Stack by Capture Time…
    If you set it to about 5 seconds or so, it will stack all your drive mode bracketed photos sets together.

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  3. Hi Matt,

    please excuse my thickness, but I’m frustrated. I want to know how I can (or any other tog for that matter) can use CAcert’s free digital certificates to digitally sign my pictures. I looked at the photoshop plugin from Digimarc but don’t really wanna go there. Can you help me out?


    Tsc Tempest

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  4. Neat trick. Now if LR could just export all images in a stack without having to expand & select again that would be great.

    Also, great suggestion about shooting a ‘divider shot’ between sets.

    For those who want to export and go directly in to a Pano or HDR app, just add a shortcut to the Export Actions folder and they will export and launch the app automatically (well, some will. I can’t get everyone to command-line load properly). Finish the stitch and go back into LR, import the final into the stack and you’re good to go.

    Also, for those flickr and other fans, same Export Action trick with their uploaders.

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  5. I’ve been doing the same pano-stacking thing for a while. I also like to use LR to manage the completed pano, so after creating it, I import the TIFF into lightroom into the same folder as the source shots. I then add the completed pano to the source stack and set the pano image as the top one for the stack. Bingo – neat and clean.

    As for LR and panos – I’d love to see photomerge incorporated natively into LR 2.0. Maybe a pipe dream, but it would sure be convenient.

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  6. Hey everyone. Thanks for the info. I agree with most of the thoughts/requests about Lightroom. I’m sure we’ll get closer in Version 2.

    Glyn – thanks for the tip
    Zdeto – Not sure. I can’t reproduce what you’re seeing.
    Alex – Make sure you have latest QT player

    Matt K

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  7. Hey Matt,
    Totally cool videos and tips. Tried to open the virtual copy one, but got the beachball from hell and greek writing in safari. All others work great. Wanted to know about sending v/c’s into photoshop and back. Is there any other way to watch it?

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!!

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  8. Charly, but the pictures I’m trying to stack are physically in the same folder on my HDD. And I’ve seen in Matt’s video that he is stacking pictures that are inside a collection. Have I seen wrong?!

    I’ve noticed that I can stack pictures if I’m not inside a collection, but it’s useless. Why should I browse trough hundreds and thousands of pictures if I can narrow it down to a specific collection and stack pictures there?!

    Am I missing something?

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  9. Hi Matt,
    I always stack my multi-exposure HDR candidates automatically by capture time, like Lightroom lets us do. In addition, to further simplify things, I then always add the processed HDR to the top of the stack. I do the same with panos.Just my 2 bits…

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  10. Hi Matt,

    One additional step I have used in stacking photos for panos is to rename the photos – example PN-xxxxxxxx- 0yy.

    What this does, is captures that the intent is a pano and that it is made up of PN = Pano, x= name, y= sequence number of photos.

    The same could work for HDR, HDR-xxxxxxx-00y

    As for the question above about processing a pano with photoshop – can you make and use a droplet ?

    I should probably just try, instead of asking.

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  11. Zdeto, I think it’s only possible to stack photos in same folder! Not in collections.

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  12. I absolutely agree with Tom Hogan:

    This is actually something that needs to go into the 2.0 version of Lightroom: TYPES of stacks.

    Would be great!

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  13. Hi Matt,

    Stacking seems to be something usefull, because I do panoramas a lot. But I have a problem. I can’t seem to activate the submenu. After I select a few pictures, pressing Ctrl-G does nothing and the Stacking submenu is grayed out. I am using this in Library module, in grid view mode. I’m very puzzled…

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  14. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the video … stacking isn’t something I’ve really looked at before so this has given me an insight into how I can now utilize it.

    Hey just one thing … I’m guessing you know this, but just on the off chance that you don’t, did you know that pressing the space bar toggles between 1:1 view and FIT ? … This is a great speedy little keyboard shortcut that comes in handy when adding clarity or sharpening rather than having to move your cursor over the relevant link.

    Cheers, Glyn

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  15. Thanks for the cool video. Actually I already do stack panorama and HDR inputs. A discussion about using colors and/or keywords in addition as proposed by Thom would definitely be useful in addition.

    What I’d like to see is the ability to select a couple of images within LR and send them immediately to e.g. Photomerge in CS3.

    A big thanks for all the cool tips and videos, also !!!


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  16. Since you’ve decided to put both panoramas and HDRs into stacks (and some of us shoot HDR panos), you forgot to give people a way to tell which is which when they’re looking at the grid. If you’re not using the star ratings, you can dedicate them to this, but I use color ratings for this.

    This is actually something that needs to go into the 2.0 version of Lightroom: TYPES of stacks.

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  17. Please, the video about how to continue in Photoshop is extremly needed!
    Very good though!

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  18. HDR reminds me of when people first discovered filters in photoshop, or coloured fonts in email—very much overused/used poorly at start, but when used well they can be very effective.

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  19. The biggest issue I have with Lightroom and working with panoramics is the inability to process large file sizes. Pretty much makes it useless for pano-work after merging.

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  20. Hi–the video is cool, thanks Matt, but oops…just reminded me how LR is HDR/pano unable… Actually, it lacks so many things including dodge and burn tools, dual monitor management, etc. Hope developers will come up with something soon. Anyways, thanx for the stacking video!

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