Have you ever ended up with a photo that’s a bit distorted, with the image perspective being off? Like when buildings or trees that should be straight instead appear to be leaning inward toward the top center of the photo? This distortion is often caused by using a wide angle lens, and while at times this may be the effect you were going for, more often than not it’s something you want to fix so that straight things stand up straight.
The Photoshop Lens Correction Tool
In this video tutorial, I show how to use the Photoshop Lens Correction Tool to easily correct this type of image distortion. It’s also useful for quickly fixing unwanted vignetting around the edges of the photo. And even if you don’t have Photoshop, this same tool is available in Adobe Lightroom and in Adobe Camera Raw.
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I’m Leez Snow at Everything Microstock. We’re going to look at how to use Photoshop’s Lens Correction Tool to fix distortions in image perspective and unwanted vignetting.
These issues can be caused by the lens or the focal length used, or the shooting angle, and they should be fixed before adding the photo to your microstock portfolio.
I’ll be using the tool found right in Photoshop. But if you shoot in Raw, you can also choose to use the nearly identical Lens Correction function in Adobe Camera Raw.
I’ll start as I usually do by copying the background layer using Command J on the Mac, or Control J on the PC, so that I can make my changes to this new layer. And I’m going to name the layer Lens Correction. That will help me keep track if I add more layers later.
As I look at this image, it looks like everything is leaning up and to the middle here. The church is leaning to the right and these buildings are leaning in and to the left, and that perspective distortion is caused by the wide angle lens that I used.
The other thing that I see is that the outer edges, especially the corners, are dark. There’s this vignetting that I didn’t want, probably caused by the lens hood on my wide angle lens.
So I’m going to fix both of those issues with the Lens Correction tool. I’ll come up here to the Filter menu, and drop down to Lens Correction and select that.
This opens a new window with my image in it, and the default tab is this auto correction tab. Photoshop has this thing where if it can find the camera and lens combination that you used to take the photo, you can try to have it auto correct for the distortions, the chromatic aberration, and the vignetting.
If you can’t find your lens in here, you can also search online for your lens profile. I really like to use the custom setting so that I have more control of the changes that I make. So that’s what I’ll do now.
I’m going to select this Custom tab and I’m going to start by straightening up this perspective issue that I see. Because things look wider at the bottom and narrower at the top, I’m going to move the Vertical Perspective to the left, to make the top wider than the bottom. That should start to even things up for me.
That looks about right, -27. That’s the number I come to, but of course that will be different depending on the image you’re working on.
I still feel like things are leaning a little to the right, so I want to straighten my image. I can do this by changing this Angle rotater here, but it’s pretty touchy, so I’ll change that back to 0.
Instead of trying to do it there, I’m going to go to the top left where there are a couple of tools here in the toolbar. The second one down is the Straighten tool. I also could have selected it with the shortcut of the letter A. I’ll chaoose that straighten tool and draw a line on an area that I want to be straight in this area. And I think right here at the edge of the church entry that should be perpendicular, it ought to straighten it nicely for me. Yeah, I like that. That feels better to me.
Okay, so we’ve fixed the distortion, now I want to take care of this vignetting the I don’t like. So I go to the vignetting slider and I’m going to move it to the right to lighten those edges and make them more of the color of the rest of the image. Somewhere in there feels okay to me. And that looks good.
So the only thing we have left to take care of are these blank areas that were created when we did that vertical perspective change. We’re going to have to crop the image to get rid of that.
If I go back to the auto-correction tab, there is a checkbox here where Photoshop can auto-scale an image by cropping it, but I don’t usually use that because look what happens – it chops off a little of the top of my church and a little bit of the edge. I’d rather crop it myself where I have control of it.
So I’m going to uncheck that, and click okay to save the rest of the changes that I made. And there they are.
I’m going to turn off the view of my background layer so I can just see my Lens Correction layer, and see the edges that I’m going to need to crop my image to.
I’m going to grab my Crop tool, which is the shortcut of C, and crop and remove these edges. But I want to be careful – I don’t want to cut off any of my church on the top or the side. That looks pretty good, so I’ll double click, and there’s my cropped image, and I like that.
I can come over here and see the before and after.
Those are just some of the things that Photoshop’s Lens Correction tool can do for us.
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