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holding a camera when taking portraits to avoid post processing straightening

If I hold the camera in vertically/portrait angle, I often end up having to straighten by cropping in post processing. Things like door posts look like they are leaning at an angle, for example. Any tips for avoiding the problem? Thanks



  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited June 2015

    You could merely just look through the viewfinder for a 'vertical' (like that door frame/post/etc.) and straighten the camera obviously as most do.

    If you are not 'front on' to a subject, say shooting slightly from an angle, and you do that. you may end up with people/subject on a 'lean' so it's a 'visual' thing you need to be aware of.

    Sometimes I may get a horizon crooked, but there may be say mountains on one side, and if I do an absolute 'perfect' horizontal horizon, it may visually be 'off', so you need to optically have it horizontal/vertical.

    Now, on the other side of the coin, it will also depend on how wide the lens is and how you are holding camera, as in standing fully upright, half squat, kneeling, etc. those all come into play with verticals.

    Just editing an image now I was pretty close to subjects, no room to move back, and was at 24mm, but when standing fully upright, I had some fence palings on the frame edges converging in, but when I realised that after the first shot, I actually squatted down a bit which helped 'straighten' those palings.

    Similar to shooting wide and up at a skyscraper, you get converging verticals at the top as in the building slopes inwards on both sides.

    I am afraid it's merely a matter of how you hold camera/frame/wide angles, etc.

    One thing as a tip, if you own/use Photoshop, I never straighten/rotate any images in my RAW convertor, I wait until I get them into photoshop, duplicate the layer, so a Transform via Ctrl/T holding shift key down, drag out a corner so I have some 'wriggle' room to work with, then rotate until vertical/horizontal is correct, then Shift/Drag the corner/s back in so I get the most out of the composition, flatten and you then retain the absolute correct proportion/pixel count as the original file, as by cropping/rotating in say Lightroom you lose your aspect ratio/image size from the original frame.

  • On Canon 5D Mark III LiveView there is a level where when you get the camera straight it goes green.  Besides the level which is on the camera, you also have bubble levels on tripods and monopods.  There are a few devices out there which attach to the flash shoe in regards to leveling.  Mainly I use the LiveView level which seems most convenient for me.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    This is a big problem for me as well. 
    I enable the grids in the viewfinder - it helps give some reference when looking at the scene. 

    With the Nikon D810, I've come to love the level guides inside the viewfinder. 
  • I second the grid option in the view finder.
  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Is the grid option only available in Live-View mode? I know on my T3i it is, but I'm not sure about higher-end cameras. I never have felt the need to use Live View, but just curious.
  • MichaelVMichaelV Member
    edited June 2015
    I use LiveView all the time because there is an electronic balance. This is especially useful when I use the 16-35mm and 15mm Fisheye where the level is a bit more critical. The only other alternative or method is using bubble levels or post processing or grids. I like to avoid guessing in post and get as much right as possible during the shot. For Landscapes and Portraits having the correct level is critical, but for events and action not as much. Sometimes a more angled shot is better for action and events IMHO.

    There is a small cheap device I bought but rarely use which is a bubble level that mounts on the flash shoe. Since I have a bubble level on both my tripod and monopod combined with the LiveView level I have never used that device.
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