What is MultiFrame Photography?

MultiFrame involves combining multiple images together to create a singe image. The classic application of this technique is to create panoramas, but there other applications that are less well known: logistical multiframe and tonal multiframe.


The best know application of multiframe photography involves taking multiple images while panning across a landscape and then later combining them to from a single panorama. Panoramas can give the viewer a real sense of being there.

The panorama below is of Prague, looking towards the Charles Bridge across the river Vltava. The three images were taken using a tripod (with the camera leveled) and at a constant exposure (not doing so complicates the melding of the images). The resulting image is at a much higher resolution than would be achieved by just cropping a single image.


Logistical MultiFrame

There are case when no combination of wide angle lens and distance from the subject will allow the photographer to capture the entire image in a single frame. In this case, panning the camera to capture the subject in two frames, then combining the two images (after careful cropping and angle manipulation) can be used achieve the desired image.

In the image below of an old restaurant sign in the Malastrana in Prague, the opposite the wall was a column from the colonnade that prevented me from capture the entire will sign with a single frame. So the first image was made of the wall straight on, then the camera was panned up to capture the upper portion of the wall. Then the the top image was carefully cropped and the distorted to match the angle of the bottom image and then the two images were merged.



Tonal MultiFrame

Another application for MultiFrame photography is capturing the full tonal range of a scene. Often it is difficult to capture all of the detail in both the highlight and low light areas of a scene. With Tonal MultiFrame, two identical images are taken, one exposed for the highlight areas and the second exposed for the low light areas. The two images are merged, using the better of the two exposures for each area.

This is an advance technique using Adobe Photoshop CS. Here is an excellent tutorial.