You need to lock down both your camera and its settings to make stitching easy
The Photomerge tool in Photoshop Elements can stitch together overlapping frames so well that you can’t see the joins. But clever as it is, you need to give it a fighting chance in the first place. It can identify and align objects which appear in successive frames and correct the lens geometry, but it will be thrown by exposure, focus and White Balance variations, so it’s up to you to eliminate as many sources of variation as possible.
To shoot a successful panorama you really need a tripod. You can shoot hand-held in an emergency, but it’s hard to avoid variation in the heights of the frames in the sequence, which means you’ll have to crop off too much of the picture’s top and bottom edges later on to even up the edges.
On the level
You’ll need a head with a separate panning axis, and it’s really important that you get the base of the tripod level so that the camera doesn’t tilt as you pan through the sequence of images. This tripod has a bubble level, but you can also do a dry run looking through the viewfinder to check the camera stays straight.
QUICK TIP! If it’s a dull day, try shooting in mono instead of colour. A little dodging and burning will help too
Lock down the settings
It’s vital that the settings don’t change between shots, so set the camera to Manual and choose an exposure that will suit the whole scene. You don’t want the White Balance to change, so choose a manual preset, such as Direct Sunlight. Finally, focus on your subject and slide the focus switch on the lens to ‘M’ to lock the focus.
Once you’ve got the frames for your panorama on the computer, open them in Elements, then open the Enhance menu and select the Photomerge Panorama option. Next, in the Photomerge window, choose the Cylindrical Layout option and click the ‘Add Open Files’ button. Your shots should then appear in the list.
Now take a series of shots which overlap by around a third of a frame – it doesn’t matter if it’s a little more than that. Look for strong elements or landmarks in the picture that you can use as a guide. In this sequence, the first pier of the bridge is on the right side of the frame, and in the next shot it’s over on the left.
Clone or crop
Click OK, and wait for the panorama to appear. Elements 12 merges the images automatically, correcting distortion and perspective issues as it goes along. At the end it will even offer to fill in any gaps at the edges, but if you’re using an older version that doesn’t do this, you can simply crop off any jagged edges with the Crop tool.