I took some landscape photos recently with the intent of making a wide panoramic photo from the results. I used Microsoft's Image Composite Editor software to stitch my shots together and was pretty impressed with the results for as little input as it needed:
For me, though, the final image still looks a bit off. The mixture of highlights and shadows in the sky and woods was a challenge. I was also in a big hurry when taking these shots, so if I had it to do over again, I would do a few things differently:
- Shoot with the camera turned 90 degrees to get more vertical field of view (this panorama already came from two rows of photos stacked on top of one another)
- Shoot RAW for better dynamic range and ability to adjust white balance (I did this with a Canon T3i); there's a lot of overexposure
- Use manual controls to ensure a consistent aperture/shutter speed across all photos (although the stitching software already did a pretty good job of equalizing exposure; the individual shots are much less homogenous)
With that said, I'd like to postprocess this into something that looks more attractive in lieu of going to the same location and lucking out for the same kind of weather and nice cloud/sky mix that I had in the above shot. What kinds of adjustments could I make so that the sky isn't so washed out?
I'm not looking for anything that looks unrealistic by going overboard on contrast or saturation, just stretching out a bit more detail so it isn't so washed out. Based on my above description, you can tell I'm somewhat of a beginner, especially when it comes to postprocessing techniques.
Another note: with landscape photos, I know a common answer is "Find a more interesting landscape." I would like to make a print of this photo as a gift for a friend; this particular spot and view were chosen because they were of significance to them, so I would like to preserve this overall image if possible.