With fall right around the corner, a lot of us photography fans are gearing up for snapping those picturesque autumn colors. Fall is a wonderful time to catch beautiful, rich, warm images.
And a lot of those images are probably going to be landscapes.
And that brings us to what may seem like an obvious point.
When you shoot landscape images that include a clear horizon, be sure to keep an eye on the horizon line and keep it, well, horizontal in your images.
As clear-cut as that may seem, it’s surprising easy to shoot a landscape image just to notice later that the horizon isn’t level. It can happen because you’re worried about other things in your photo—color and composition and exposure— whatever, and a level horizon doesn’t seem like a big concern.
It’s especially easy to have a problem with the horizon when there’s another large horizontal-ish surface in the scene, like a rooftop or billboard. Your mind’s eye may think to make that surface level in your image. But rooftops and billboards aren’t always level. The horizon always is.
So, unless you have a good reason for doing otherwise, it’s important to keep to horizon line level.
Here are a few tips to help.
Don’t forget that composing the scene with a level horizon isn’t the end of the story. You also have to keep that composition level when you take the image. So be sure to use good form when pressing the shutter button to avoid shaking the camera as the picture is snapped. For more on that, be sure to check out our post Don’t Forget To Take The Two-Step!
And if you still find that you’re occasionally getting crooked horizons, don’t despair! Most photo editing software packages include a straightening feature that you can use to level things out. Below, you can see the process in action in Photoshop Elements version 9:
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f you are just getting started in photography, exposure is one of the first things you need learn.
But even beyond that, getting a good handle on exposure and how the different components of exposure work together is essential if you want to take control of your photography and the images that you are creating.