About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Lightroom's "Upright" Perspective Correction can be Amazing

Lightroom's "Upright" Perspective Correction can be Amazing

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It is one of the key features of Lightroom 5, and It isn’t something that I have a call to use that often, but when I do, I have to say, Lightroom’s “Upright” tool can be really impressive. Upright does a variety of corrections, including automatically straightening the image. I use the auto levelling feature and again and it works most of the time, but sometimes you’ll still need to manually correct if your image isn’t straight. However, that’s not all Upright does. It can also do full perspective correction too, straightening verticals, and removing distortion.

When used in fully automatic mode this can do an amazing job of straightening verticals in architectural shots. It gives the effect of having shot the image with a tilt shift lens. Again, it doesn’t work all the time and it really depends on the image, but when it does, it’s pretty good. Sometimes automatic is all you need, other times you may need to do some additional work. When it straightens verticals the edges of the image will come into frame and you have the option of having Lightroom automatically crop or, if you want you can actually leave this off and use the content aware fill tool in photoshop to fill in the edges.

In the image above, I actually left the constrain edge function off, and I filled in the edges in Photoshop using content aware fill. I also used content aware fill to remove the edge of the building in the foreground. The reason I did this was that, with “constrain crop” on the image lost the ground line which made the composition look off. Here’s the image with just “upright” turned to automatic, but before sending to photoshop.

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Here's the original image before Upright (below)

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You could argue that the lines at the edge of the image aren't straight, but If you try to fix this in Photoshop you realise that the rest of the lines start to skew, so it seems that it takes the middle ground. There’s only so much you can correct before there’s just too much distortion it will either just not work or look ridiculous.Anyway, that's not the shot that got me excited enough about Upright to write about it, the next one is!

Here’s another image. This shot is a typical shot of buildings taken with a wide angle lens. In the normal version the perspective lines are going away from the viewer, which is fine, but it’s not the exact look I wanted.

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Here’s the same image with Upright set to automatic. This was a single click.

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Now the resulting image is much more imposing and dramatic, which suits the mood of the shot. The verticals aren’t perfectly straight, but it works for the image. You can manually adjust the settings too within Lightroom if you need to. Anyway, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but It’s impressive technology in my opinion, and it’s a lot cheaper than a tilt shift lens if you only need to do shots like this now and again!

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