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Controlling Vertical Distortion in Architectural Photography

The Mandir at Chino-large
Subtle distortion correction, both vertical and horizontal, was necessary here. But a choice was also made not to correct all the way. More on this below.

What is vertical distortion?

You’ve seen it before. It’s most obvious when photographing man-made things with straight edges, like buildings. If the thing you’re shooting is taller than you, you tilt your camera back to fit the entire object in the frame. Suddenly, lines that look parallel to your eye seem to converge toward the top of the frame and make what you’re shooting look strange. The wider your angle, the more of this you’ll see.

Peace Tower Vertical Skew
If weird is your goal, this kind of thing will get you there.

This is vertical perspective distortion. It happens every time your camera is not pointed at the horizon, and we’re going to talk about a few ways to deal with it, first while shooting, and then when you get the image into Lightroom. Sometimes you might want to keep the effect, but it’s good to know what to do when you don’t.

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