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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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About Author / Instructor / Photographer, Jim Zuckerman
Photography Instructor: Jim ZuckermanFew people are able to spend most of their time pursuing their passion in life. I'm one of them, and I feel blessed to have had a love affair with photography since I began taking pictures.

In 1970, I decided to abort my intended career as a doctor in favor of photography and have never regretted it. Photography has enriched my life more than I can tell you. My career has taken me to over 60 countries, and I've seen and photographed wondrous things.

I specialize in wildlife and nature, international travel, and digital effects. In addition, I also shoot nudes, photo- and electron microscopy, children, and other subjects that stimulate my visual or emotional sensibilities.

For 25 years, I shot a medium format camera, specifically the Mamiya RZ 67, for its superior quality. When I would lecture, Id project the large, glass mounted transparencies, and it was really an incredible experience to see the brilliant color saturation and resolution of these slides. However, I went digital in 2004 because the technology finally equaled or surpassed medium format. I now shoot the Canon 1Ds Mark II digital camera with a variety of lenses.

I am the author of 12 books on photography. My work is sold in 30 countries around the world, and my images have appeared on scores of magazine and book covers, calendars, posters, national ads, trade ads, brochures, and corporate promotions.

For many years I've led photography tours to exotic places. These include Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Greece, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain, Morocco, and Peru.

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