Fixing Wide-angle Distortion with Photoshop

by Jim Zuckerman

Distortion - Wide-Angle
Distortion - Wide-Angle
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
Wide angle lenses offer dramatic perspectives of subjects because of the exaggerated perspective they create. I find this kind of dramatic distortion very compelling. The downside of it is when structures that should be vertical are angled in unattractive and impossible ways. If a tree is leaning, that�s not really a problem because trees do, in fact, grow in all kinds of positions.

But when I photographed Tybee Island Light near Savannah, Georgia over the New Year, I didn't like the look of a classic work of architecture leaning as if the architects had been drunk when they designed it.

Distortion Fixed in Photoshop!
Distortion Fixed in Photoshop!
© Jim Zuckerman
All Rights Reserved
This problem can be fixed within Photoshop by using a single command: Edit > transform > distort. You first select the image with Select > all, and with the distort command you can grab the corner boxes and pull the image into the correct position. It often requires several movements from both sides of the image, but with careful manipulation you can make the subject much more real. Study the lines in both the lighthouse and the home on the left.

In situations where this technique won't do a satisfactory job, there is another more involved procedure to fix this kind of problem that I discuss at length in my Advanced Creative Techniques online course here at BetterPhoto.


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Article by Jim Zuckerman. To learn more about photography, explore the many online photography and Photoshop classes offered here at BetterPhoto.com.