Create a stunning hi-res panorama

You do the snapping. Adobe Lightroom does the stitching.

With the Panorama mode on an iPhone or iPad, anyone can photograph a sweeping landscape. But capturing a high-dynamic-range (HDR) higher-res image, one where you can zoom in on a distant cliff and see every craggy detail, requires a different technique, one pros have used for years.

The secret? Take a series of high-quality photos and stitch them into one ultra-wide shot brimming with gorgeous details and rich colours. The Mac version of Lightroom helps you pull this off with just a few clicks, and it even works with HDR images.

Before getting started, make sure you have signed up for a Lightroom subscription from your Mac (rather than your iPhone or iPad) for access to the features described below.

Start by snapping a series of HDR images on your iPhone.

1. Snap your shots

You don’t need a DSLR camera. Just open the camera in the iPhone version of Lightroom and turn on HDR mode by tapping the button that says Auto and selecting High Dynamic Range.

The trick is ensuring your shot angle stays consistent. This will avoid distortion in your final image. To make it easier, enable the onscreen level: tap the ellipses in the top right corner, then the grid icon, then the Grid & Level button on the far right (it looks like a box with a line through it). When shooting, keep the line straight and the rectangle positioned in the box.

Now snap away. Start on the left and pan to the right as you shoot, making sure about a third of the images overlap each time. All you have to do is stay steady while you shoot.

Once you get the hang of this, try creating panoramas that include vertical rows of images. A five-by-three panorama is nothing short of breathtaking.

2. Stitch them up

Launch the Mac version of Lightroom. After you’ve taken the photos on your iPhone, they’ll be synced to your Mac via your Lightroom subscription, ready to edit.

Now for the fun part.

Select the images, Control-click on one of them and choose Photo Merge. Then choose Panorama. (If you captured your HDR images manually using a DSLR, choose HDR Panorama instead.)

The Panorama Merge tool gives you three options for stitching your shots together: Spherical, Cylindrical and Perspective. Cylindrical is the best one to start with when you’re working with ultra wide panoramas. (Opt for Spherical if you’ve shot a multi-row image.)

Lightroom stitches your images into a seamless panorama, ready for cropping.

Then let the app work its magic. Click Auto Crop and Lightroom will find the largest possible crop that can be created with your photos. If there are a few minor gaps along an edge, apply Boundary Warp; Lightroom will do its best to fill them in.

When the preview looks good, click Merge to create your panorama, with the source images smartly aligned and seamlessly blended.

From here, edit the panorama like any other image. And when you’re done, head back to your iPhone and you’ll find the panorama waiting for you in the Lightroom mobile app, ready to share far and, ahem, wide.

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