Alright, since a lot of people (like more than two hehe) has been requesting me to put up a photography section on my blog, I’m finally making one and will be dishing out random bits and pieces of photography tips for the snap-happy travelers in all of us.
The first thing I will tackle is the simplest and easiest rule of shooting landscapes. I’m sure many shooters already know this but I have seen lots and lots and lots of pretty pictures ruined by simply not following this rule.
Okay, the basics says we should always keep the horizon in our photographs leveled; as in not skewed to the left or right. Why you might ask? Most pictures just look better that way; it may be because our eyes always see the horizon as leveled so we associate skewed horizons as being somewhat out of order.
To illustrate the point, let’s look at the photo above. The skewed one just looks downright awkward and amateurish compared to the straight photo, would you agree?
Well, pretty simple right? Well, easy to say, but sometimes our eyes get tricked by elements in our composition (like the clouds below) that tells us the photo is level, but after viewing it on the LCD it is not. The simple solution to this is not Photoshop, but to retake the photo carefully again if there is a chance to. Rotating the image in Photoshop or any editing software will definitely cut away some parts of the photo and we don’t want that, especially if the cropped out part is part of your main composition.
Oftentimes though, we just get carried away in snapping that lovely sunset that we totally forget to straighten that skewed horizon or we’re just having a hard time telling if the horizon’s straight or not.
Most cameras now has a grid feature that you can turn on so that horizontal and vertical guidelines can be seen on the viewfinders or LCD’s of the screen. This is really beneficial for such situations and I make it a point to always use this, like, every time.
Still there are cases when we can’t see the horizon, like the photo below. What we do is base our angle on the supposed ground horizon, in this case the part where the clumps of trees meet the ground. Or if you have something vertical in the image that you know is perfectly in tangent with the horizon (like the walls of the house), you may use that as basis to straighten your photo.
So what happens when the sunset’s done and after viewing the hundreds of photos you’ve taken, all of them are tilted? Fear not, corrections can be still be done using image editing software and you don’t even have to be a Photoshop whiz to do it; even simple editing programs like Picasa has a straightening tool.
And if you’re the type who doesn’t even tinker with a computer, newer camera models have built-in straightening tools that you can use directly on your images inside your camera.
But as I will probably say again and again as this series continues, the best way is to still shoot as straight as possible from the camera itself, always be conscious of your horizon and avoid the hassle of correcting it later.
And that’s it for the first of the series! I’ll be gratified if I helped untilt just even one photograph out there because of this article. Hope you find this useful!