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Multi-Shot Techniques

Lesson 96 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

Multi-Shot Techniques

Lesson 96 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

96. Multi-Shot Techniques

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The lesson discusses various multi-shot techniques in photography, including panorama stitching, double exposures, high dynamic range (HDR) photography, focus stacking, and time-lapse photography. The instructor explains the technical aspects of each technique and provides tips for achieving the desired results.


  1. What are some multi-shot techniques discussed in the lesson?

    • Panorama stitching
    • Double exposures
    • HDR photography
    • Focus stacking
    • Time-lapse photography
  2. How can panorama photos be created?

    • By shooting multiple vertical images and overlapping them to capture a wide expanse or high resolution.
    • By cropping a single photo to fit a panoramic view.
  3. What is the purpose of double exposures?

    To combine two or more photos in-camera to create a unique and artistic image.

  4. What is HDR photography?

    It involves capturing multiple photos at different exposures and blending them together to capture a wider dynamic range.

  5. What is focus stacking?

    It is a technique that involves taking multiple photos at different focus points and combining them to achieve a greater depth of field.

  6. What are some considerations when using these multi-shot techniques?

    • Use a tripod for stability.
    • Shoot stationary subjects or subjects with minimal movement.
    • Pay attention to exposure settings and use manual mode for consistency.
    • Choose an appropriate aperture for optimal sharpness and depth of field.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Photographic Characteristics


Camera Types


Viewing System


Lens System


Shutter System


Shutter Speed Basics


Shutter Speed Effects


Camera & Lens Stabilization


Quiz: Shutter Speeds


Camera Settings Overview


Drive Mode & Buffer


Camera Settings - Details


Sensor Size: Basics


Sensor Sizes: Compared


The Sensor - Pixels


Sensor Size - ISO


Focal Length


Angle of View


Practicing Angle of View


Quiz: Focal Length


Fisheye Lens


Tilt & Shift Lens


Subject Zone


Lens Speed




Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Apertures


Lens Quality


Light Meter Basics




Quiz: Histogram


Dynamic Range


Exposure Modes


Sunny 16 Rule


Exposure Bracketing


Exposure Values


Quiz: Exposure


Focusing Basics


Auto Focus (AF)


Focus Points


Focus Tracking


Focusing Q&A


Manual Focus


Digital Focus Assistance


Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Depth of Field


DOF Preview & Focusing Screens


Lens Sharpness


Camera Movement


Advanced Techniques


Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance


Auto Focus Calibration


Focus Stacking


Quiz: Focus Problems


Camera Accessories


Lens Accessories


Lens Adaptors & Cleaning




Flash & Lighting






Being a Photographer


Natural Light: Direct Sunlight


Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight


Natural Light: Mixed


Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Quiz: Lighting


Light Management


Flash Fundamentals




Built-In & Add-On Flash


Off-Camera Flash


Off-Camera Flash For Portraits


Advanced Flash Techniques


Editing Assessments & Goals


Editing Set-Up


Importing Images


Organizing Your Images


Culling Images


Categories of Development


Adjusting Exposure


Remove Distractions


Cropping Your Images


Composition Basics


Point of View


Angle of View


Subject Placement


Framing Your Shot


Foreground & Background & Scale


Rule of Odds


Bad Composition


Multi-Shot Techniques


Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction


Human Vision vs The Camera


Visual Perception


Quiz: Visual Balance


Visual Drama


Elements of Design


Texture & Negative Space


Black & White & Color


The Photographic Process


Working the Shot


What Makes a Great Photograph?


Lesson Info

Multi-Shot Techniques

Alright, so, this next section is a little different. And that's because I didn't know where to put this section. (chuckles) We kinda had full, I got full segments in all the other parts of the class and this is what I call multi-shot and this originally got here because I was talking about timelapse photography here in composition as a way of telling the story with multiple frames, in many ways. And now, there are actually many, many different ways that you can shoot multiple photos in trying to end up with a single product and the number just seems to be getting more and more and so there's more this year than there was before and so let's take a look at some multi-shot techniques. And so we'll talk a little bit technically about what we're going to be doing here. Now there's things that you can change which is gonna give you a different result. So, for instance, if you change the direction that you shoot photos, you can end up with a stitched panorama which is one technique we'll ta...

lk about. You could shoot two photos at the same time to get them a double or multiple exposure. You could shoot multiple exposures to get a high dynamic range to deal with a very wide contrast ratio. You could do focus stacking. We talked about that more thoroughly back in focus. We'll do a quick review of it here again. A new one is called pixel shift. This may have slightly different names depending on the manufacturer, where the sensor moves by one pixel or more and captures several different versions of the same scene, recording more information about it for a more detailed look at that particular subject. You could choose to shoot photos over time and end up with a timelapse, which can be a lot of fun. There's another time option where you're doing selective cloning. I'm gonna talk about this, this is the people filter I like to call it. You can also shoot photos over time to reduce noise in camera, there's some cameras that have built in noise reduction shooting which uses multiple shots. Now you could shoot from two different points of view and 3D and that's kind of a specialized one. Then there's multiple points of view that they use in movies to get a bullet time effect and these last two are ones that are a little too out of the range for what we're going to talk about here, so we're not gonna worry about those. But I wanna kinda quickly walk through some of these different concepts and how they work and what you might wanna do in order to create these types of photos. So first off, a panorama photo can be a very interesting photo to look at because this a little bit more the way we see the world with our own eyes because we have two eyes and we move them back and forth probably a lot more than we move them up and down. And so we see the world across a very wide horizon. Now the first way of doing this is simply to go into any photograph that you've taken and crop it according to a more panoramic view so that it fits the 16:9 frame or a wider panoramic shot. And so, these once again, as I mentioned back in the aspect ratio, I like quite a bit 'cause they have a more cinematic look, it's different than the standard look that you get through the viewfinder. And this is kinda what you have to do with a lot of subjects that are moving. It's hard to do a panorama stitch with anything that's moving and so this is something that I might just kinda crop out those extras a little bit after the fact. But if you have a subject that is not moving that you would like a high resolution of or you would like to cover a very wide expanse from one side of the other, you should shoot multiple vertical images, overlapping around 25% so there's information that's common between each of the photographs so that you have one large image and you can blow this image up and see very, very great detail. If you're shooting with a twenty-four megapixel camera and you shoot a multi-shot panorama it could be 50, 100, or much greater in resolution in megapixels And so, it also works when you don't have a wide enough lens and so if you are trying to capture a very wide environment you can just shoot pictures from left to right and get an extremely wide angle lens. You may not have anything wider than a 24 millimeter lens or the equivalent but you can get much wider shots with subjects that are basically not moving. Now, the people that are moving in here are so small as to not really be a problem in a photograph like this. It does get a little bit tricky and it is possible to shoot panoramas of things that are moving, it's just the stitching process can get a little bit complicated and you could end up with some artifacts that you may have to manually work around in order to get that right. But this makes for a very interesting photograph that's not quite the same as your standard horizontal shot and so that's the proper way of doing a stitch panorama. I will do an incorrect stitch panorama from time to time which is shooting it horizontally if I know that I don't need all of that resolution because if I know I need to get from one side to the other and I'm thinking about how many verticals it's going to take to get across that expanse and so like, "Wait a minute, "I don't need a 400 megapixel picture "of a particular situation." Alright. So I'd like to show you what I think will likely be the largest panorama you've ever seen and that's because we have like an 80 inch screen here and so we'll start off in Seattle, and this is all shot from the Space Needle. And I broke one of the rules I'm gonna tell you about shooting panoramas which is you're supposed to have your camera on a tripod. And so what I did is I just handheld, went around and shot eight photos. Northeast, southwest and then the northeast, southeast and all the different marks in between. And so there's our city of Seattle. And if you do happen to come to Seattle and you do want to come to a class at CreativeLive, we do hold our classes in this building right here! (audience laughs) And so that's where we're located right now. And so if you do wanna shoot these type of panoramas there are some best tips that I have. First off, is working from a tripod making sure your tripod is as level as possible. Because the entire photograph will end up as a single photograph it should be shot with all the same shutter speed, aperture, ISO. So on manual exposure and manual focus where nothing changes between them, and if there is a great difference in brightness between one and the other end of it you're gonna have to figure out one simple exposure, basic exposure that's going to be the best for everything involved. Most of these are usually done with lots of depth of field so kind of everything is in focus and so that those middle to smaller apertures are what you're gonna wanna shoot. The best thing that I've figured out is you want to shoot left to right and that's important because when the images come up in the computer they will almost look like your panorama. If you shoot them right to left you might do like I did and said, "Why did I shoot these horribly composed photographs? "They don't seem to make sense." And so in most cases it's gonna be easier after the fact but it's the same when you shoot it so make it easy on yourself later on. And then overlapping, you don't want to overlap too much because then your computer has to use more images to stack 'em all and stitch 'em together, but you don't want too little otherwise it won't be able to do the stitch and you may have to do it manually which is a lot more difficult. Now the other option on panorama are cameras that have it built in. There's a number of cameras that have this built in. I know our phones have it and there's a lot of point-and-shoots that have it, and I use this when it's not real important to me because I found that when it stitches what it does is it takes a whole bunch of photos and it basically takes a thin slice from every one and sometimes things don't get matched up in the software in the computer of the camera, and so if you just want kind of a quick snapshot of a place that you are at, the in-camera stitching will work fine. Here's a good example of where it doesn't work out too well. If you'll notice the water, you'll notice that there are thin strips of where the water is not quite the same and that's because the camera was changing some slightly different things. In fact, it looks like it mis-focused here on this one shot over on the right hand side and so if you're trying to make a really large enlargement you should do it in the individual shots and then stitch it together in software later on. If you are using the in-camera I have found that you do need to kind of plan and practice. One of the mistakes most people make, I've made, maybe I just assume people make the same mistakes I do, is I would start my panorama out like this and then I would start turning and I would realize that my waist doesn't turn far enough. And so what you need to do is say "Okay, I want to finish over there, "can I reach over there? "Okay, I can get there." And then you come back over here and you start, and you pan through. And some of the cameras are very particular about the speed. They need a little faster, a little bit slower and then they stop and make you start again. So you just kinda need to find that speed that works right with your particular camera, and you do have to be careful with certain subjects that move. A waterfall, this is a vertical stitch that I did and it seemed to work out pretty good 'cause water just kinda blends in with the next photo pretty easily in that case. Another thing that you can do with your cameras these days, a lot of them have included the double exposure mode, and when I first got into photography, my camera had a special little lever and I flipped that lever and I could take multiple photos without advancing the film and that seemed like a pretty cool thing. And then when digital cameras came out, it seemed like, "Well, I guess I don't need that 'cause I can just take "Photoshop and add it in layers, "why do I need to do it in camera?" Well, I understand now. Seeing things in the camera is really nice when you're out in the field working 'cause you can see exactly what you're getting. And so one of the first double exposures I did is, I wanted to shoot the big moon. So you shoot this with a telephoto lens and then you either put on a normal lens or a less telephoto or wide angle lens and then you shoot the city with the second shot and then you put the two of them together and you get this unrealistically large moon which is a bit of a cliche shot that I'm kind of done with myself, and you know, this is not reality. The moon would never be that size in this location you know, or available from this point of view and I've seen it done and this is kind of, this is kind of a bad thing that I don't want to tell you don't shoot it, go out and shoot it, play with it, but you'll find it kind of wears a little too quickly on you. And so there's a lot of places to play around with multiple exposure. The last time I was in Cuba with Kenna, Kenna was shooting the dance that we had seen four, five times before and we've seen these dancers do their dance and you know you gotta keep things fresh after you've been doing things for a while you gotta just try different things and so, Kenna was going around with everybody in the group saying, "Try double exposure, try multiple exposure. "Does your camera have this?" And so a few of the photos that I got, and I don't know if they're great photos, but they're kind of interesting photos, and they will give you a different view on your subject and so this shot was done by zooming the lens and shooting, I forget, about three, four, five photos in a row and you know, it's a chaotic mess but you know what, sometimes the dancing is kind of like that and so it can be a good way of showcasing an event and it is a good way to experiment and play in doing different things and it's a feature that more and more cameras are having on them these days. Alright. HDR. Now for some people, this is a dirty word, okay? This is another very divisive topic among photographers and what it stands for is High Dynamic Range photography. It's where photographers will use multiple photographs, blend them together to end up with one photograph that is capturing an exposure range that you could not capture in a single photograph. And so I can use a very light exposure so that I can see great detail in the foreground and the manhole and all the things that are going on in the bricks and then over here on the right I'm capturing information from the sky which is much brighter. And then I can use HDR software that combines the two of them together. Now what I have found, is that HDR photos can be roughly categorized into two different groups. There's ones that are clearly manipulated, and they look a little like a video game screen shot or a CGI movie where things just don't look like reality. And then there's other HDR that is more subtly done that most people would never even know that HDR was done. And then there's this continuum right between the two of them and there can be pictures that fall anywhere between the two of them. And once again photography is an art. You can do whatever you want to do, it doesn't really matter. Now what I have found in this particular case, I shot a bunch of bracketed photos that I combined into an HDR image. I took a RAW image, in the RAW image I was not quite able to get as much information out of the sky and so there is a real and justifiable reason why HDR photography is used and can be very beneficial in a lot of photography. In architecture, in real estate photography, you're trying to photograph the kitchen and the view out the back deck which is in bright sunshine. You're not going to be able to take a single exposure and get both of that looking good in a single photo. You're gonna have to take several photos, at least two and combine them and blend them together and if it's done in a very good way, it's going to seem very, very seamless. In the early days of HDR, well, it was the experimental phase and we know about experimental phases, we try a lot of different things and they go to extremes and some people just like the look of it and it's a personal opinion. I mean, there's some people who shoot HDR and it's like that's the only thing they want to shoot. Everything needs to be HDR. I have found that in most all cases, the dynamic range of current digital cameras is such that you rarely need to use HDR to solve a problem. Depending a little bit on where you work and what type of work you do. And so yes, you can get a little bit more, but I think the areas that we need to use HDR are getting less and less with the continual development of cameras. There are a number of cameras that have in-camera HDR that will shoot multiple pictures and you need to have your camera on a tripod, you need to be shooting a subject that doesn't move or at least moves very, very little and you will see more information into the detail and the shadows. Now I've played around with the in-camera HDR on multiple brands of cameras, well basically all the major brands of cameras, and I'll have to say that the in-camera HDR is horrendous and does not work very well and in almost every case I'm able to resurrect just as much information from a RAW image as they're giving me in their HDR image and so you can see in the top left, I've gone in and adjusted the raw and I've raised the levels of the shadows. I've kinda pulled back the highlights and the whites of that image so that we can see outside and it seems to be doing just about as good a job. Now there are some more artistic and fanciful versions of their HDR that you could mimic as well in post-production. This is another brand and what I was concerned here is how over exposed is the bright sunlight in the background and I found that I was able to take the RAW image and recover the information more than the camera was actually giving me in the HDR images and so if you do wanna shoot HDR, I would recommend shooting a bracket series of photos, three, five frames perhaps, at least one stop exposure apart so that you end up with a pretty wide category and some photographers are shooting seven and nine and they're two stops apart, it all depends on how wide of exposure range. The idea with HDR is that you shoot something to capture good detail in the brightest, something in the darkest, and then possibly a bunch of photos in between to capture all the different individual points of it. And so, it's a challenging area to work with because you can't work with moving subjects, you have to be on a tripod, you have to be shooting stationary subjects, but it is a absolute solid tool for solving certain types of problems. There are certain types of photography that basically would not exist without this technique out there. Focus stacking is something new that we're starting to see in more and more cameras, it's in a couple of brands of cameras right now and I suspect that it's one of those features, most features in cameras, what happened is some company comes up with a new idea and they might put a patent on it of some sort and then they might license that patent out, a few years later everyone else. Or it's something that one company develops and then it slowly migrates to all the other companies out there and so right now I'm thinking there's about two different companies right now that are doing a focus stacking. We talked about this more thoroughly in the focusing section, but real quickly, if you're watching this before that one, this is where the camera will shoot multiple photos, changing the focus with each picture and the idea is that you're able to capture much greater depth of field if you focus on the first subject, a bunch of in-betweens, and then the back subject, and then combine those photographs into a single photograph and so this image here would not be possible in a single photograph and so if you need a lot of depth of field, you need great sharpness, look in to focus stacking, even if your camera doesn't have it, you can do it manually with any camera out there by simply shooting a bunch of shots and slowly adjusting the focus and this is where manual focus is gonna be beneficial and you just turn it a little bit, take the next shot, adjust it some more, take the next shot and so you're able to get much greater focus and so if you want extreme depth of field and here's example let's go through, this is, I'm focused on the foreground. Let's focus on one, two, and on through the shot I think I had to shoot about eight different shots here in order to get every bit of this in focus. And then I'll use all of those, and you'll have to run it through software in order to get that final image that is nice and sharp. And so, it's another technique that allows us to do something new that we couldn't do. You know, you can't use a tilt shift lens for this. You can't just stop the lens down. Stopping down doesn't give you enough depth of field to record it with that great a sharpness. In these modes you're gonna want to be in the manual exposure mode 'cause all of these photos are gonna end up being the same photo. It's gotta be a non-moving subject and so landscape photographers, you need to worry about leaves and grass moving in the wind. Camera needs to be on a tripod. It's possible someday in the future we'll have cameras that have a stabilize system that can do this as well really quickly, but right now you do need to be on a tripod for that. And generally what you want to be is you want to be at a very sweet spot on the aperture which is usually around f/8 or 11, where you're getting a bit of depth of field but you're also getting the greatest sharpness out of that particular lens.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Fundamentals of Photography Class Outline
Learning Projects Workbook
Camera Keynote PDF
Sensor Keynote PDF
Lens Keynote PDF
Exposure Keynote PDF
Focus Keynote PDF
Gadgets Keynote PDF
Lighting Keynote PDF
Editing Keynote PDF
Composition Keynote PDF
Photographic Vision Keynote PDF

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan

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