Upright

Like many photographers, I take lots and lots of pictures that get deleted (probably 5-10 deletions or more for every keeper), and many more that never make it out of Lightroom. I keep some of those because I like them, but there’s a problem that I just don’t know how to deal with — too much noise, perhaps, or something that’s in the frame that I can’t get rid of.

One such shot I took in spring of 2012. I loved the subject – magnolia blossoms reflected in the chapel window – but the angle was just too awkward. You can see the original at the bottom of this post. Because of the placement of buildings and trees, shooting it straight on meant that the bottom of the window appeared to be twice the size of the top; so I took a longer shot from the side. I’ve revisited the photo a few times over the past year but wasn’t able to do much with it.

In my web wanderings today, I read about the new “upright” feature in Lightroom 5. Like magic, this feature modified the photo to look (mostly) like it was taken straight on! Here it is:

Sage Chapel Magnolias

“Upright” version

While it’s not perfect – for example, you can see more levels of detail in the bricks to the right of the window, and the circular window on top is a bit distorted – it does an amazing job of modifying perspective.

The steps I used in this example were:

  1. Under Lens Corrections / Basic, click Enable Profile Corrections and Constrain Crop
  2. Still under Lens Corrections, under Upright, select Full.
  3. Under Lens Corrections / Manual, I used the Aspect slider to make the window look wider.

Here’s the original:

Sage Hall Magnolias

“Before”

Note that using the tool requires losing parts of the image around the edges, but this shouldn’t be a problem if the original has enough fluff to compensate.

The Upright tool works similar magic on uneven horizon lines, photos taken with wide angle cameras, and more. What a great addition to an already great program!

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5 comments

  1. I like how the “after” version really brings out the pinks of the flowers and changes the focus of the picture. Instead of focusing on the building, you now see the details and stateliness of the window AND the free-flowing shapes of nature working together to form a harmonious whole. Bravo to you for sticking with this project.


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