Create panoramas and HDR panoramas

Updated in Lightroom Classic 9.0 (November 2019 release)

Lightroom Classic lets you easily merge standard exposure photos into a breathtaking panorama. In a single step, you can also merge multiple exposure-bracketed photos (with consistent exposure offsets) to create an HDR panorama. You can see a quick preview of the resulting panorama or HDR panorama created and make adjustments to it before the final merged image is generated.

Create panoramas using Lightroom Classic
Create breathtaking panoramas using Lightroom Classic

Merge photos to create panorama and HDR panorama

  1. Select the source images in Lightroom Classic.

    • For standard exposure photos, select Photo > Photo Merge > Panorama or press Ctrl (Win) / Control (Mac) + M to merge them into a panorama.
    • For exposure bracketed photos, select Photo > Photo Merge > HDR Panorama to merge them into an HDR panorama. You can also perform Single-step HDR Panorama merge with Smart Previews. Review the requirements for merging to HDR panorama.
  2. In the Panorama Merge Preview / HDR Panorama Merge Preview dialog box, choose a layout projection:

    Spherical: Aligns and transforms the images as if they were mapped to the inside of a sphere. This projection mode is great for really wide or multirow panoramas / HDR panorama.

    Perspective: Projects the panorama / HDR panorama as if it were mapped to a flat surface. Since this mode keeps straight lines straight, it is great for architectural photography. Really wide panoramas may not work well with this mode due to excessive distortion near the edges of the resulting panorama.

    Cylindrical: Projects the panorama / HDR panorama as if it were mapped to the inside of a cylinder. This projection mode works really well for wide panoramas, but it also keeps vertical lines straight.

    All of these projection modes work equally well for both horizontal and vertical panoramas / HDR panoramas.

    Lightroom Classic CC Cylindrical layout projection for wide panoramas
    Cylindrical layout projection for wide panoramas/ HDR panoramas

  3. You can use Boundary Warp slider setting (0-100) to warp panoramas / HDR panoramas to fill the canvas. Use this setting to preserve image content near the boundary of the merged image, that may otherwise be lost due to cropping. The slider controls how much Boundary Warp to apply.

    Higher slider value causes the boundary of the panorama/ HDR panorama to fit more closely to the surrounding rectangular frame.

  4. Select Fill Edges to automatically fill the uneven edges of the merged image.

  5. While previewing the panorama / HDR panorama, select Auto Crop to remove undesired areas of transparency around the merged image. 

    Lightroom Classic CC Auto Crop to remove areas of transparency
    Auto Crop to remove areas of transparency, shown in white in this illustration

  6. To  group  the source images and the panorama / HDR panorama image into a stack (after the images are merged), select the Create Stack option. The merged panorama / HDR panorama image is displayed at the top of the stack.

    The Create Stack options has been introduced in Lightroom Classic CC 7.4 (April 2018 release)

  7. Once you've finished making your choices, click Merge. Lightroom Classic creates the panorama / HDR panorama and places it in your catalog.

You can apply all Develop module settings to panoramas / HDR panoramas just as you would apply them to individual images.

Requirements for merging to HDR panorama

To successfully merge your selection of images to an HDR panorama, ensure that all the requirements listed below are met. If any of these requirements are not met, Lightroom Classic displays the 'Unable To Detect HDR Exposure Bracket Size. Merge To Non-HDR Panorama Instead?' message when you try to merge the images.  

  • All the images in your selection must contain the exposure metadata - Exposure time, f-number, and ISO.
  • Each set of bracketed exposures in your selection must have the same number of images. For example, if you chose to bracket with three images, then all the sets in the selection must also use three images. 
  • Each set of bracketed exposures in your selection must have the same exposure offsets. For example, if your first set has exposure offsets of (0, -1, +1), then all other sets in the selection must follow the exposure offset pattern. The image sets can have different exposure values; only the exposure offsets pattern must be consistent across all the sets.
  • Each set of bracketed exposures must be captured contiguously . For example, if you've considered a bracket size of three while capturing the images then the first three images in the sequence become part of a bracket set, the next three images in the sequence become part of another bracket set, and so on.
  • Within a set of bracketed exposures, the images must not have the same exposure value.

Video tutorial

HDR Raw Panoramas in Lightroom Classic

Stitch together raw, high-dynamic-range panoramas
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