HDR Panorama Guide

High Dynamic Range (HDR) Panorama Photograph

What is Panoramic HDR Photography?

Panoramic HDR Photography combines two photography techniques; panoramic photography and high dynamic range (HDR) photography. This combination is used by photographers to create a HDR photo that will cover a larger image area than what their camera can capture. The process of creating an HDR panorama is done by shooting multiple images of a scene with different exposures and combining them to create one single photo.

Why I Shoot HDR Panoramas.

I shoot Panoramic HDR photos when the composition of my image requires more image area. For instance, the above panoramic was a total of 15 HDR photos for a total of 45 exposures. There was no way that I could have captured this entire scene with one shot.

Being a landscape photographer I use this technique often to photograph vast areas of beaches, mountains and canyons. This is an easy way for me to get more image without having to use my wide angle lens. However, I will also shoot panoramas using my wide angle lens if my image is larger than what I can capture with a single shot.

Below is another example of a panoramic photo I shot to get more image in my photograph. Included is a single shot to show you the difference between shooting and not shooting a pano.

HDR Panoramas Can Be Time Consuming

The only downside of shooting HDR panoramas is that it’s time consuming. Not only are you shooting multiple exposures for HDR, you’re also shooting multiple photos to create your panorama. Post processing your image also takes longer as well, since there are more photos to deal with. Not to mention the extra step required to stitch the images together.

What You’ll Need for Creating HDR Panoramas

You don’t need anything special in terms of hardware. A camera and tripod will do you fine. As for software you’ll need Photomatix (for creating HDR) and Photoshop (for stitching your images together). If you have all these things then creating HDR panoramas will be easy.

Word of Caution When Shooting Panoramic HDR.

Before we begin this tutorial I want everyone to note, photographing panoramas in HDR can be physically intensive on your camera. This is due to the amount of actuation that occurs while shooting. I highly recommend giving your camera a break between long sessions of shooting. This will let your camera cool down and prevent unnecessary wear and tear.

How to Make HDR Panoramic Photographs

You can read this entire tutorial from this post or you can download the e-book from the link below. I’ve also supplied the sample images seen in this tutorial. You can work along with this lesson without having to shoot any photos of your own.

Download E-Book:
HDR Panoramic Tutorial by Captain Kimo

Download Samples:
HDR Panoramic Tutorial Sample Files

Step One – Shooting Images for Panorama

Step Two – Capturing High Dynamic Range

Step Three – Merging Exposure for HDR

Using Photomatix to Create Your HDR Photos

Step Four – Stitching HDR Photos to Make Panorama

Using Photoshop's Photomerge Tool for Stitching Panoramas

Step Five – Your HDR Panorama is Complete.

Now that you’ve completed this Panoramic HDR Tutorial, I encourage you to practice and research more about this wonderful photography technique. Below is a list of websites to visit for more information about HDR and Panoramic Photography.