Correcting Lens & Perspective Distortion in Lightroom


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When you take a photo with your DSLR camera, you oftentimes end up with an image that's distorted. You may not even notice this distortion, but it's there. It can take a few different forms, but the most common are where the center bulges somewhat or shrinks in somewhat. These two types of distortion are called Barrel and Pincushion. Other unwanted lens effects have to do with Vignetting (when the outer edges of the photograph become darkened by the lens) and perspective distortion (where buildings and other straight edged objects tend to lean inward and outward). The latter distortion is referred to as Perspective. All the types of distortion that I just mentioned above can be corrected in Adobe Lightroom.

To deal with Barrel and Pincushion distortion as well as Vignetting, it's best to open your photo inside of Lightroom and then click on the Develop tab up top. Then, click the Lens Corrections panel in the right column to open that up. Inside, you'll have two choices, Profile and Manual. If you choose the profile option, check the Enable Profile Corrections box with your mouse and then let Lightroom choose which lens and camera combo you shot your photo with. It'll correct things by itself from there. You can also add to or subtract from the automated corrections by pushing the Distortion and Vignetting sliders down below.

If you aren't happy with the profile corrections that Lightroom chose for you, you can always opt to make some manual edits yourself. To do this, simply click the Manual link up at the top of the panel and then adjust the Distortion and Vignetting from there.

When it comes to correcting perspective, Lightroom offers some excellent tools. Close the Lens Corrections panel and then click to open the Transform panel. Inside this panel you'll see the Upright tool. This tool consists of a few buttons. To correct the perspective of your photo, click through the buttons to find the output you like the best. I'll tell you right now that the Auto and Full options oftentimes offer the best results. If you'd like, you can push some of the Transform sliders down below the Upright buttons as well. The current options include Vertical, Horizontal, Rotate, Aspect, Scale, X Offset and Y Offset. You'll need to experiment with these sliders a bit to get used to their dramatic results, but they can help tremendously when it comes to fixing perspective distortion.

If you have any questions regarding how to correct your photos when they've got lens or perspective distortion, please let me know down below. I'd love to help. Thanks!
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