Photography tips: on the straight and narrow

I thought I would talk about a few composition items in the next few weeks.  Just point out a few things to think about when you are composing in-camera and some ways to fix slight errors in Photoshop.

This week I thought I would talk about lines…as in making sure they are straight.  There is a difference between tilting the image for composition reasons and having a crooked image.  I have heard photographers talk about bad compositions of lakes or oceans where “all the water is falling out”. 😉  I think that is a bit funny, but true in a wierd way.

I know, it is hard sometimes to get horizons, buildings or fences straight.  You might be in a hurry or someone smallish bumped you while shooting.  The point is to recognize when you have tilted images and fix them.  It may just be my MILD OCD behaviors, but when things aren’t straight when they should be…it’s a bit bothersome.  It may even make me twitch.

Look at the tower here…it’s crooked!

Luckily, there is an easy fix.  When you open the file in Photoshop, crop the image.  Take your cursor to the corner of the crop and you will see a rounded arrow.  You can pull the image at an angle until the lines are straight.  You just need to watch the corners to make sure you are cropping within the image when you are pulling the corners.  You may have to make the crop smaller.

Et Voila!  Here is all fixed nice and straight.  Yay!  Thus ending my twitching attacks. 😉

15 Replies to “Photography tips: on the straight and narrow”

  1. Yes, this is one error I see many times… I do it too as well! To fix it is really easy in Lightroom or if you have a Mac, iPhoto. The cropping tool even has the rule of thirds guidelines overlaid and when you’re straightening the photo in Lightroom, a magical grid pops up and all you have to do it line up your photo to the the many horizontal and vertical lines on the grid.

    Thanks for bringing up an important compositional rule and post processing to fine tune our images!

  2. Im nervous about this one….Linear

    The end image came out really good. You know, some people just dont see the crookedness in the original photo. I’ve seen it happen so many time, probably to me too! Its like they are focusing on the main subject of the people in the picture, not whats around them or the image as a whole.

    Good idea for bringing it to light.

  3. Oh, yes. Even a mildly crooked horizon makes me cringe! I’ve tried to do intentional tilts with portraits sometimes, but I just CAN’T stand the crookedness 🙂

  4. Hmmm, linear….I’ll have to think for this one!!

    I actually use a lot of intentional angles in my compositions, but cooked lines drive me batty.

    I must say I feel like a bit of a dummy right now tho, as I never realized I could straighten photos this way in CS3. I’ve been doing it under Image->Rotate Canvas->Abritrary…which is a lot of guesswork! This is a lot better…so it’s worth me feeling stuid.

  5. Awesome tip Stacy. And the photo ain’t bad either. VERY cool. A slanting horizon drives me NUTS – yet I’m OH so good at taking them over and over again. 🙂

  6. I know I haven’t been around for a while ! But I think I’m back now !! 🙂 I’ll be thinking about linear …. see you Thursday !!

  7. I’m glad to know that I’m not the only one who develops a bit of a twitch when things are crooked…it makes me CRAZY!

    And now I’m going to have to think of something for linear…yikes, that could be hard!

  8. Wow, I never would have considered that – the pic looked great to me until I saw the correction. And I never know what to do with pics after I take them. So, this is especially helpful. I’ll be looking at lines a new way…

  9. i’m really behind on my blog reading, but i have to say THANKS for this. I actually saved my old Corel Program JUST for straightening pictures because I couldn’t figure it out in photoshop!

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