Why you DON’T Need a Tilt-Shift Lens

March 3, 2011 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | Comment |

I used Vertical Correction (see first red arrow above) to stand the image up straighter until it looked much better. Then I used the Scale slider (see second red arrow above) to fill the screen with the file, as it looked triangular at the bottom before I did so. 

After I had corrected each of the individual shots as much they needed in ACR, I simply clicked Done and opened Photoshop CS5. 

In Photoshop, I clicked File>Automate>Photomerge, which brought up a dialogue box allowing me to choose which images I wanted to make a panorama from. I checked all three of the boxes below the Source Files box: Blend Images Together, Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion Correction, and clicked Okay to let the Panorama-making fun begin!

Twenty minutes later, this was the output file that emerged:

Why you DON'T Need a Tilt-Shift Lens

It obviously looks much better than the original try, doesn’t it? But there’s still work to be done. 

Now Photoshop CS4 and CS3 both had the two features I’m about to show you, but they are handy tools to make a straight panorama out of an image like this nonetheless. 

I flattened the layers of my output panorama and made a layer via copy by clicking Ctrl J. Then, by going to Edit>Transform>Distort:

Why you DON'T Need a Tilt-Shift Lens

I used the little tabs on the top corners to drag the image horizontally outward to correct the last bits of Keystone Effect at the top, and the little tabs on the bottom corners to slide the bottom horizontally inward to further straighten the image. I clicked on the crop tool in the left hand tools menu (beside my image) and I was asked if I wanted to crop or cancel this action. I chose Crop

There was still a bit of distortion that I didn’t like. So the next thing I did was Edit>Transform>Warp:

Why you DON'T Need a Tilt-Shift Lens

Now, I could click on the tabs in all four corners (one at a time) to remove the last bits of distortion from the image easily. I dragged the two bottom corners down to make the four pillars look more straight and realistic. I dragged the top two corners upwards until the whole image was even along the top. Finally, I simply clicked on the Crop tool again. Then, I used the Crop tool once more to crop the image to its final dimensions:

Why you DON'T Need a Tilt-Shift Lens

Notice how much straighter the entire image is. Not a bad trick at all! 

And that’s why you don’t need a Tilt-Shift Lens!


Cynthia Farr-Weinfeld of CFW Photography has been an artist her entire life, but photography was the first medium that truly “clicked” with her. She is a commercial photographer based in Portland, Maine, USA. She is the Contributing Photographer for Portland Magazine http://www.portlandmagazine.com/ a glossy publication devoted to the goings-on around her city and state as well as the arts and food& restaurant reviews.

Cynthia has also had work in England’s Digital Camera Magazine, Maine Food & Lifestyle, and most recently, Popular Photography in the US. She is a regular contributor to StockFood - The Food Image Agency, an international food photography stock agency based in Munich, Germany.

Cynthia was chosen for the Pentax Professional Program. She uses a Pentax K20D, multiple filters and Pentax lenses from the macro to the ultrawide range, and a Bogen 3011 tripod to achieve her photographic vision.

Cynthia specializes in Landscape, Architectural, Panoramic, Portraiture and Food & Restaurant photography.

You can see more of Cynthia’s work at http://www.cfwphotography.smugmug.com and for what she’s been working on the most recently, her blog, Photo Quest, at http://www.cindysphotoquest.blogspot.com .

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