One of the more recent additions to Lightroom is the “Transform” function, in particular the perspective correction tool. I find myself making use of this tool a lot, as it “corrects” photos where I’m forced to shoot from an angle – side to side and up to down – and making them look normal. I don’t generally use it to “cheat” but rather I like to use it when I don’t have a choice about where to stand.
I’ve been going back through some old unprocessed photos and came across a group of sunrise photos from 2010 in Belhaven, North Carolina. One of the distinguishing features of the harbor in Belhaven is a break wall that separates the harbor from the larger Pungo River. The break wall is a well-recognized landmark of this area, but the problem I always have with it is that it doesn’t run perpendicular to the places I photograph from. As a result, there is always a perspective mismatch between the horizon line and the line of the breakwall. They never looked right when I processed them, so I’ve always been hesitant to use them for anything. Until now.
Looking at this photos, I wondered if the perspective correction in Lightroom could be used to “fix” the position of the breakwall so it looked “right” in my photos. Lo and behold, it does! There is a little bit of falloff in focus in the areas that are actually father away, but it’s hardly noticeable. And yes, I could have done this a long time ago in Photoshop. But that misses my point. And of course, someone who lives there and is used to the view would likely recognize the change immediately. But for most folks, they wouldn’t notice the difference.
I’ve attached a couple of photos as examples, including one “before & after composite. I think it turns a photo that never looked quite right into one that looks pretty good for all but the pickiest few among us. And chances are they don’t read this blog! 🙂