Photomerge in Photoshop

March 24th, 2010 by William Neill


Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, EF70-200mm f/2.8L USM, 1/250 sec at f / 6.7, ISO 100

PhotoMerge in Photoshop offers many creative options for photographers!

Here are examples of recent images of mine using PhotoMerge. I’ll discuss my approach for each image, and hopefully you will get some ideas for your own photography.

Yosemite (see above)

Several years ago, I found myself in nearby Yosemite Valley after a snowstorm. The fresh snow and low-angled light made a spectacular scene! I decided that this was a perfect time to create a panoramic image. Using my favorite 70-200mm lens, I composed vertically and exposed three images across the breadth of the Valley. I didn’t bother to level the tripod and camera since the light was changing quickly. However, I did frame more widely since I knew I would have to crop later in post-processing. PhotoMerge won’t align perfectly if each image isn’t linear to each other, but as long as you overlap the frames by about 30%, and you can visualize the final crop without sacrificing the composition, you’ll be OK.



Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8 + Canon2x Extender, 6.0 sec at f / 27, ISO 100

In my backyard, I have a rectangular bucket full of Mexican Pebbles that I bought many years ago from the local landscaping supplier. I aimed to the left for the first frame, then used the Shift function of my Tilt Shift lens, recomposing to include the stones in the right side of the bucket without moving the camera or tripod. I imported the resulting images into Lightroom, and inspected all the pairs I made to find the best and sharpest ones. I selected those two, then used LR’s Photo>Edit In>Merge to Panorama in PS.



Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III, TS-E90mm f/2.8, 2.0 sec at f / 13, ISO 100

I made this image on my patio. The water reflects my ochre-colored stucco wall. I observed the afternoon light, timing my session for when the stones and water were in shadow but the wall remained lit. I was trying to find a good composition with a single frame but it wasn’t working. In order to isolate this pattern, I used my Canon TS-E90mm f/2.8 combined with my Canon 2X Extender to create a 180mm TS lens! I used the shift function as well as the forward tilt for increased depth of field. I made one exposure with the shift all the way to the left, and then “shifted” the lens all the way to the right while making sure I had enough overlap for PhotoMerge in PS4 to create the pano. I selected the best two images in Lightroom, then used LR’s Photo menu to “send” the two files to PS4 for merging.

Enjoy these creative options!

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