Today’s Question: My question relates to workflow with HDR panoramas. I am a big fan of Aurora HDR 2019 and use it as a plug-in to Lightroom Classic. I am NOT a big fan of the HDR Panorama merge tool in Lightroom, however, because the deghost function is disabled. Should I use the HDR merge in Lightroom for each bracketed image, stitch them together using the Panorama merge in Lightroom, and then send the HDR panorama image to Aurora? Or, should I first use Aurora for the bracketed images and after sending them back to Lightroom, only then use the Panorama merge tool in Lightroom? Or, is there some alternative option that would work better? Let me add that many of my HDR images have movement in the image, which is why I need the deghosting capabilities of Aurora.
Tim’s Quick Answer: My recommendation would be to assemble the HDR images for each frame of the panorama first in Aurora HDR, being sure to use the same settings for all HDR images that will be used for a single panorama. You can then assemble the resulting HDR images into the composite panorama using Lightroom Classic.
More Detail: While I appreciate that Lightroom Classic is capable of assembling high dynamic range (HDR) panoramas in a single step, I agree that it can be problematic that you aren’t able to take advantage of the full set of features that would otherwise be available if you assembled the HDR frames and the composite panorama as two separate processes. Therefore, I do prefer assembling the HDR images first, and then merging those HDR frames into the final panorama.
Obviously you could assemble the HDR frames in Lightroom Classic first, but I agree that Aurora HDR (https://timgrey.me/hdrtrial) often produces a result I am happier with. I recommend using the original raw captures to create the initial HDR, which is why I recommend creating the HDR images in Aurora HDR as the first step in creating an HDR panorama.
To ensure the final panorama will go together smoothly, I also recommend using the exact same settings for each HDR image you are creating for the panorama. That might mean simply using an existing preset for all of the frames, or creating your own custom preset based on the refinements you make to the various settings for the first HDR you assemble for the panorama. For the other frames of the panorama you would want to use the exact same settings so there aren’t any variations across the panorama. When all HDR frames have been created, you can use Lightroom Classic to merge those into the final HDR panorama.