Photography Challenge #14 - Perspective Control - Straightening Things Out

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Camera lenses warp photos. Even if you don't notice it, almost every lens out there will warp a photo. Wide angle lens warping is the most pronounced. If you take your wide angle lens out for some cityscape shots or photos of buildings, those buildings will almost certainly be leaning inward. That's just the way things are. And to be honest, that's the way some people like it. I personally prefer my photos to have some character to them. Some people though - they don't like this effect so much. They want their images to represent reality as much as possible.

In the most basic sense, perspective control means that the photo you capture of something, such as a building, is actually true to what someone would see in real life. So if your wide angle lens captures the building and shows it to have all of its vertical lines lean inward, that's not reality and that needs to be corrected. Now, to let you know, it's not only the corners of houses and buildings that might be leaning inward. It's also street lights, lamp posts, and anything else that you can think of that's standing straight up.

This is a post-processing challenge. If you've got a photo editing program that deals with perspective, you are probably in good shape. If you can transform or warp in your photo editor, you're also in good shape. I've written a few posts on this topic where I've used Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, and Photoshop to correct perspective. All of these applications are awesome, so click through the links I share below to learn a bit about the techniques I employed.

For now though, take a close look at these before and after images. The changes are subtle, but there.







Be sure to look closely at the edges of the photos. In the before ones, you'll notice lines that are eight crooked or leaning. The after (corrected) photos are standing straight. The issue here, if you'd like to read up on it, is called lens distortion and as I said above, it gets almost all of us.

The challenge is for you to grab your camera and head out to a close by town where you can take some photos of buildings. It can be a large town or a small one. It doesn't matter. You can even stand at the corner of your apartment or house and take a photo of it. The wider the angle, the better. You actually want there to be some distortion so you can correct it during your post-processing. Once you have the photos, go back inside and open up your favorite photo editing program. See if you can correct the distortion. If you own Adobe Camera Raw, Lightroom, or Photoshop, simply follow the instructions I gave in the posts I linked to below.

When you complete this challenge, be sure to upload your images here for review and critique. Include your specs as well, such as your camera make and model, lens used, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. Include your distance from or scale of your scene as well. We want to know it all so we can get a grasp of what went on while you were shooting and how you managed to take your photos. Good luck.

Correcting Lens & Perspective Distortion in Lightroom
How to Use the Perspective Warp Tool in Adobe Photoshop
Lens Correction & Upright in Adobe Lightroom
How To Use Guided Upright to Correct Lens Distortion in Adobe Camera Raw
How to Fix Lens Distortion in Adobe Lightroom