Creating a Composite Image

Oct 10, 2004
Madison, WI
What techniques do you use to combine several seperate picture files into one image-say for something that was too large to photograph in one section?
Well the easiest way is to let a photoeditor do it for you, most of the photo software has some sort of stitching in it. But, there are also some photostitching software that is free on the web and is what I use beings I don't have photoshop or anything like that.

Either way the software doing it for you is the best way, but when you take the pictures. Always use manual so you can be sure and take them at the same settings, otherwise the stitched image usually will look like crap.
Thanks, Jayson, that's exactly what I needed. I don't have Photoshop either, I'm using MGI PhotoSuite which doesn't have an obvious stitching function, but I was able to figure something out using clipboard-copy/paste.
FYI, I was watching CNBC's coverage of the big annual consumer electronics expo in Las Vegas and they had a demonstration of a new camera with multiple lenses which automatically combines the images within the camera itself - allowing you to take pictures up to 180 degrees with a single click. Don't know what the price point or the manufacturer is, but you may want to do a Google to research.
I know you said you don't have it, but Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) layers are the best way to go for this ... you just stack the photos with a blank layer in between each and then paintbrush the areas in where you want to combine the image ... check out the resources at for more info -

This is the technique I use. The best way to do this is to shoot 3 or 4 consecutive portrait orientation shots to capture the scene. Blending in Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro is fairly simple once you get the technique down. Here are a couple examples:

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Mike U
Here's some interesting information that may help:
That one has a free 'demo' that appears to be fully functional. Thanks for the link!

PT Assembler does much the same, and is a bit less.

If you feel brave (real brave) you can use Pano Tools (free!) without a front end to help you out. The learning curve (er....cliff) is painful, but the program is immensely powerful.

One of the best 'stitched images' gallery:

Thanks for the advice guys. Unfortunately since I wasn't really thinking about making a composite while I was shooting the images in question (I was thinking more like " [gasp gasp gasp"]), I didn't take them at exactly the same distance and angle, it was only later I noticed they might work as a composite.

Here's what I have so far. As you can see the lower right corner is the one that doesn't really match up color-and-brightness-wise. I messed around with it a little but couldn't seem to find a setting that looked right. Any advice on how to correct it?

Well... I think your hosed... The best thing you can do is keep constant settings during every shot. Stick the camera on manual, pick a f-stop and meter off the brightest part of the scene you don't want to blow out.

If the subject is at a distance, it isn't too hard to combine things... especially if you have a lens that has little distortion. It's when you have subjects at varying depth of field it gets complicated.