Photomerge Panorama in Photoshop Elements

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

The Photomerge Panorama command enables you to combine multiple images into a single panoramic image. From skylines to mountain ranges, you can take several overlapping shots and stitch them together into one.

You can access all Photomerge commands in all three Photo Editor modes or in the Organizer.

The following tips can help you start with good source files that will help you successfully merge photos into a panorama:

  • Make sure that when you shoot your photos, you overlap your individual images by 15 to 40 percent, but no more than 50 percent.

  • Avoid using distortion lenses (such as fish-eye) as well as your camera’s zoom setting.

  • Try to keep the same exposure settings for even lighting.

  • Try to stay in the same position and keep your camera at the same level for each photo. If possible, using a tripod and moving both the tripod and camera along a level surface, taking the photos from the same distance and angle is best. However, if conditions don’t allow for this, using a tripod and just rotating the head is the next best method.

    Be aware, however, that it can be harder to keep the lighting even, depending on the angle of your light source relative to the camera. You can also run into perspective-distortion issues with your shots.

Follow these steps to create a Photomerge Panorama image:

  1. In Expert mode, choose Enhance→Photomerge→Photomerge Panorama.

    The Photomerge dialog box opens.

    [Credit: ©istockphoto.com/weareadventurers]
    Credit: ©istockphoto.com/weareadventurers
  2. Choose Files or Folder from the Use drop-down list.

  3. Click Add Open Files to use all open files, or click the Browse button and navigate to where your files or folder are located.

  4. Choose your desired mode under Layout.

    Here’s a brief description of each mode:

    • Auto: Elements analyzes your images.

    • Perspective: If you shot your images with perspective or at extreme angles, this is your mode. Try this mode if you shot your images with a tripod and rotating head.

    • Cylindrical: If you shot your images with a wide-angle lens or you have those 360-degree, full-panoramic shots, this is a good mode.

    • Spherical: This projection method aligns images by rotating, positioning, and uniformly scaling each image. It may be the best choice for true panoramas, but you can also find it useful for stitching images together using common features.

    • Collage: This mode is handy when stitching together a 360-degree panorama, in which you have a wide field of view, both horizontally and vertically. Use this option for shots taken with a wide-angle lens.

    • Reposition: Elements doesn’t take any distortion into account; it simply scans the images and positions them as best it can.

  5. Select from the following options:

    • Blend Images Together: Corrects the color differences that can occur from blending images with different exposures.

    • Vignette Removal: Corrects exposure problems caused by lens vignetting (when light at the edges of images is reduced and the edges are darkened).

    • Geometric Distortion Correction: Corrects lens problems such as radial distortions — for instance, barrel distortion (bulging out) and pincushion distortion (pinching in).

  6. Click OK to create the panorama.

    Elements opens and automatically assembles the source files to create the composite panorama in a new file.

    With any of the modes, Elements leaves your merged image in layers. You’ll also notice that a layer mask has been added to each layer to better blend your panoramic image. You can edit your layer masks or move your layers to fine-tune the stitching of the images.

    Elements alerts you if it can’t composite your source files. If that happens, you may have to composite your images manually by creating a large canvas and then dragging and dropping your images onto that canvas.