How do I know if my photo is 'tilted'?


icy55

New Member
Mar 13, 2011
48
0
0
#1
Hello,

I'm pretty much a newbie and I am pretty obsessed with landscape photography. How do I ensure that the photo is not tilted? I dont normally use a tripod.

Thanks!
 

SkyStrike

Moderator
Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
3,444
11
38
Somewhere
#2
If you are referring to horizon, there are a couple of things I normally do.

- In the viewfinder, you should be able to see the focusing "boxes" something similar like below (based on 500D)
. I will use the boxes to align it with the landscape scenery to ensure that it's more or less align...

- Good Camera Holding Techniques: When you press the shutter release button, make sure to control your power so that you do not cause the camera to tilt at the last second.

Alternatively, you can get a Hotshoe Spirit level. Refer to How a hotshot spirit level looks like
 

Last edited:

giantcanopy

Senior Member
Feb 11, 2007
6,232
2
0
SG
#3
One way is to get a spirit leveller, but hard to level handheld. Some cameras have in built levelers.
Else sometimes I lazy I will align with verticals of buildings or trees etc. Land horizon may not be levelled if there is slope.
Horizon from a water body can be used as a leveller as well

Do adjust post processing ( ie small rotational ajustments if necessary )

Ryan
 

Mar 10, 2007
302
2
18
#4
If your viewfinder has a grid, use the horizontal to line up with a horizontal element in the image.

If you do not have a viewfinder grid, the other way is to use a camera mounted spirit level - but you need to use a tripod to freeze the position.

If you cannot do the above, you will have to do this by trial and error.

Take a couple of shots and see if you tend to tilt your camera to one side. Consciously make adjustment in the opposite direction whenever you take your photos. This is not a foolproof way. Do this over and over again and hope that it will be second nature.

The last way is of course to adjust the tilt when you do post processing.
 

giantcanopy

Senior Member
Feb 11, 2007
6,232
2
0
SG
#5
In addition, a grid can also help to make alignment more easy, and can be digital or u may need to add a grid screen. (Some) Liveview offer options for digital grid lines I believe.

Hope it helps
 

seezhijie

New Member
Nov 8, 2010
628
0
0
Malaysia
#8
Hello,

I'm pretty much a newbie and I am pretty obsessed with landscape photography. How do I ensure that the photo is not tilted? I dont normally use a tripod.

Thanks!
some cameras have built-in virtual horizons, and perhaps if you have let's say an iPhone, you can download apps to help you. simple apps like Carpenter, or somewhere near that, have the system you need. just place them flat under your DSLR body and freeze the settings.

one additional tip though. tripods are usually vital for landscape photography due to the usually high f/stop required for the DoF
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
21,662
69
48
lil red dot
#9
I think a spirit level is still the fastest and most simple and straight forward way to achieve it.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,042
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#10
A spirit level is the best way to ensure that it is level. That said, you can have the horizontal level down pat but your horizon might not look straight. This is owning to curvature introduced in the photograph due to barrel distortion from lenses. PT Lens or Photoshop CS 5 would be able to correct this part, but the horizon would still look wonky owning to vertical perspective distortion, etc.

To add on to the list of problems with getting the horizon straight, the opposite bank in Singapore is almost always very near, even if you are at the beach. Definitely when you are at one of our reservoirs. If you do not align your camera back parallel to the bank (which is close enough, and usually there's more than one, so you would not be able to do it for all), there will be horizontal perspective distortion. Your camera might not be tilted, but because the bank is coming towards you or away from you, it would appear to be slanted.

My suggestion is to make sure that you are well aware of all these things that can make the horizon look wonky, and the steps taken to prevent them, and if they can't be helped, the steps taken to correct them in post processing.

Quick summary: (problems - prevention - correction)

1) Camera tilt - horizontal spirit level - rotate tool, ruler tool, equivalent
2) Horizontal perspective distortion - ensuring that camera back is parallel to opposite bank - Lens correction tool, liquify
3) Barrel distortion - NA - PT Lens, Photoshop CS 5, equivalent plugins, liquify
4) Optical illusion from vertical perspective distortion - make sure upright with vertical spirit level - Lens correction tool, liquify

Cheers.
 

edutilos-

Senior Member
Dec 28, 2010
6,042
17
38
The Universe
www.facebook.com
#11
Also, just to highlight, if you always 24-7 just make your camera level, composition will be limited. You will end up with horizon cutting through the centre or near-centre of photo. So while it is indeed the fastest and most straight-forward way to achieve it, knowing what to do after you accept that you can't use that method is just as important, if not more important.
 

bonrya

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2010
2,632
3
38
In a mobile cage
#12
icy55 said:
Hello,

I'm pretty much a newbie and I am pretty obsessed with landscape photography. How do I ensure that the photo is not tilted? I dont normally use a tripod.

Thanks!
Hmmm, if you're obsessed you should invest in a good tripod. You'll need one. And get a spirit level to help you out.
 

Top Bottom