Quick Tip: Straightening your Images

It’s no secret that straightening the horizon on your image can really improve its composition and appeal. But how do you get it exactly straight? I do it with Photoshop or Lightroom. (CS3 and v.1.4, I have yet to update).

So here’s how I do it with Photoshop:

Open in Photoshop
Step 1: Open in Photoshop

I took this on a hike at Morraine Lake in Banff Calgary but I didn’t use a tripod so its slightly crooked. Not a big deal, just a little distracting. Nothing a little Photoshop can’t fix ;) So open up that baby and let’s get started! BTW, that blue line is just there to show how crooked the photo is.

Step 2
Step 2: Duplicate layer

First things first, duplicate your background layer (cmd+j or ctrl+j) so in case something goes wrong you still have your original image.

Lens Correction
Step 3: Lens Correction

Next, go to Filter > Distort > Lens Correction…

Zoom Way In
Step 4: Zoom Way In

In the Lens Correction dialog box double click the Zoom Tool to zoom into your image 100%. Zoom into your crooked horizon.

Step 5: Straighten

Select your Straighten Tool.

Umm... straightening...
Step 6: Umm... straightening...

Take the straighten tool and draw over (trace) any part of the horizon that should be straight.

Boom! You're Done!
Step 7: Boom! You

And boom! you’re done.

Morraine Lake by Jack Kaye
Morraine Lake by Jack Kaye

The process is more or less the same in Lightroom. You can find the straightening tool in the crop menu. :)

-Jack Kaye


3 thoughts on “Quick Tip: Straightening your Images

  1. Hi,

    You can also do this using the ruler measuring tool and drawing the line you want to use for straightening and then going to Image > Canvas > Rotate > Arbitrary menu and it will automatically enter the correct rotation for you. You may have to clean up the crop afterwards though.

    Peter Witham

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