There’s nothing more distracting that a beautiful photo with distorted vertical or horizon lines, or a crooked horizon. Fortunately, there’s a simple method for straightening everything out during the editing process in Photoshop or Lightroom.
In the quick tutorial below, German photographer Christian Mohrle walks you through the simple process from beginning to end. And because he’s a perfectionist, he also includes a few tips for cleaning up his demonstration image and enhancing the colors.
Mohrle’s primary emphasis in this episode is to correct skewed vertical lines. Once that’s accomplished, he employs a few tricks to add brightness and a bit of warmth to give his image more of a sunset feeling.
The straightening process is really simple, and you can find all the settings you need in Photoshop’s Geometry panel, and Mohrle explains how it works. While Photoshop offers several ways to fix linear distortions automatically, Mohrle prefers to use manual sliders, found under the auto settings, because they offer more precise control.
One he gets everything straight, which only takes a couple minutes to demonstrate, he moves on to a few basic Raw adjustments to enhance the image. He adds a bit of saturation, adjusts white balance to give the image more warmth, and drops highlights and shadows slightly to balance out the exposure.
Mohrle then turns to local adjustments where he employs a radial gradient to introduce a subtle glow. He also adds a liner gradient over the sky to selectively darken the top portion of the shot.
All that’s left is some simple color grading, with a split toning effect to warm up the highlights and midtones while cooling off the shadows. The result is a perfectly straight image with a bit more POP!