HDR – The Art of Perspective


This is an example of my technique for perspective correction. I’ve included a High Dynamic Range image above to show the end result of using Free Transform in Adobe Photoshop. You’ll notice that there is still a slight bowing of vertical lines but it’s much better that the original shot.

In the examples below, I’ll work with the image from a different starting point.

  • The Art of Perspective – Photo Reality – Not Always Visual Reality

While many images look really nice with that upward sweep of the architectural lines, it’s sometimes refreshing to see those lines as true verticals as our brain sees them. I’ve taken this subject through the Adobe Photoshop perspective correction tools using Photoshop CS3. I have had a chance to use the CS4 version and the perspective modification tools look about the same. Not sure about CS5.  At any rate, this workflow gives a solid method for straightening those leaning lines.

The image below is the original shot taken in Washington DC on my way back to the Metro after a day of shooting on the Mall.  Notice the strong visual distortion, particularly at the edges of the frame. This was taken with a 19-35mm lens set at about 30mm which gave the curved lean to the vertical lines.


To get started, I used Filter > Distort > Lens Correction.

The resulting “work box” allows quite a few image changes but I’m mainly concerned with the Transform sliders for this exercise.

By adjusting Horizontal and Vertical perspective sliders, the distortions can be eliminated. A lot of this depends on personal taste so I just keep making adjustments until the image is most appealing to me. This is “The Art of Perspective” after all. Sometimes a slight distortion or almost imperceptible lean actually enhances the visual dynamic. With this image, I set Remove Distortion to +9.01, Vertical Perspective to -24 and Horizontal Perspective to +23. And finally, I set Angle to 0.79. These modifications are about as close as I could get using this function.

To finish up, I used Edit > Free Transform for final, micro adjustments.

  • The Art of Perspective – Freely Transformed

Very subtle changes were made to add a slight bow to the right and give a less sterile completion to the perspective. It’s helpful at this point to set View > Show > Grid on to help determine true vertical. Now, the only thing left was to crop the image to get rid of the empty areas caused by all of this editing. The final shot is almost as real as possible allowing for just a bit of artistic license.

Just in case you forgot what the original looked like, here’s a before and after.

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7 thoughts on “HDR – The Art of Perspective

  1. Pam

    That is spectacular – which A. workshop is it? They have different levels. I have an old one (3 years old) that is awful and obsolete. I deleted it off my old computer and didn’t load it on my new one.

    1. Mark Neal Post author

      Thanks Pam. Do you mean photoshop? I think the perspective controls have been in Adobe Photoshop for quite a while. It’s so powerful that I still find new ways to manipulate photos. Too bad the software is so expensive. I hope to check out some freeware in the future to see if they have similar tools.

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