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The Right Photoshop Tool for the Right Job!

How to Correct Image Keystoning in Photoshop

by Tony Sweet

Before - Keystoning
Before - Keystoning
© Tony Sweet
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I’ve been living with image keystoning (converging lines when pointing upwards) since I first began photographing. As many of you know, when pointing upwards with a wide-angle lens, there is distortion. Sometimes, it’s a really cool thing and adds to the drama. And sometimes it’s a real barrier to enjoying an image. For example, seeing a building falling backwards is an image problem.

Now, along comes Photoshop with the "perspective" check box in the crop tool toolbar (which appears after drawing your crop box). Wow! What a great tool. As you can see from the before and after examples, this is an extraordinary tool for correcting distorted perspectives. I try to get the image “right” in the finder, which is always my first choice. When it’s “right” in the finder, my computer time is shortened.

After - Corrected Version
After - Corrected Version
© Tony Sweet
All Rights Reserved
In this case, the lens I needed was the 12-24mm and I had to get down a bit low and point upwards a bit to get the composition I was visualizing. When I got everything “right,” I had distracting keystoning. One of the great advantages of pre-visualization in the digital age is that along with pre-visualizing the image, we can also pre-visualize the image after using a software tool to modify an otherwise problematic image.

Bottom line:
I wouldn’t have taken this image or would have found a compromise composition had I not been aware of the "perspective" check box on the crop tool toolbar.

Editor's Note:
This article is adapted from Tony Sweet's Instructor Insights blog at Tony also teaches these awesome online courses: Image Design - Revealing Your Personal Vision; Fine Art Flower Photography; The Four Essential Filters for Film and Digital Cameras (Early Start); and The Four Essential Filters (Late Start)

About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Tony Sweet
Photography Instructor: Tony SweetAfter 20 years as a professional jazz artist, Tony changed careers and directed his creative juices towards nature photography. The improvisational, spontaneous, and abstract nature of jazz are also integral elements of nature photography.

Today, Tony's work is published worldwide and is represented by The Getty Picture Agency.

Tony conducts his "Visual Artistry" photography and digital printing workshops from March through October throughout the continental United States and Canada. Tony's articles and photography are featured in Shutterbug and Rangefinder magazines, and as contributor to He’s also a columnist for Nikon World Magazine.

He has authored three books on the art of photography: Fine Art Nature Photography, Fine Art Flower Photography, and Fine Art Photography: Water, Rain, Fog. All are published by Stackpole Books.

He maintains an active speaking schedule on the subjects of nature and flower photography and marketing, addressing professional photography organizations, universities, seminars, and workshops.

Tony is on the instructor staff of, and is a member of the Baltimore chapter of ASMP. And he has been named a Nikon Legend Behind the Lens and is a charter member or nikSoftwares TeamNik!

To learn more about Tony, visit his Web site:

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