Lightroom Tip: Perspective

When you aim your camera up, you get converging verticals – like this:

You can use an expensive tilt-shift lens to fix that.

But there is an easier way: in the Lightroom “Develop” module, find “Lens Corrections”, go to the “Manual” tab, and you see this:

Pull “Vertical” to the left a little (as I did above), and you get this:

The verticals have been disciplined!

All you now need to do is crop off the edges (see bottom left).

Simple – takes only a second. Lightroom rocks!


Shoot vertical!

Remember – a very very quick tip today – that when you shoot one or two people, it’s often best to shoot vertical. Turn your camera a quarter turn – shutter above, not below – and fill the frame, and get close.

Regular programming will commence soon!

Why aim back?

You remember the Willems 400-40-4 rule (the “444 rule”)? If not, check under “ARTICLES” above. Part of that rule: indoors, aim the flash 45 degrees behind you.

Behind? Why?

Of course the main reason is that this way, the light will come from 45 degrees above, well ahead of the subject, rather than from “right above their head” – i.e. the angle of light onto your close-by subjects is good.

But the other reason is also worth mentioning – I am unsure I have pointed that out explicitly. Namely…. If you aim your flash forward, some light will go forward directly to your subject. And what does that do? Cast a shadow: the bane of flash photos. That’s something to watch for very carefully, especially when there is a wall, say, behind your subject.


Another student question

Shannon asks:

I really enjoy reading your blog, and I have a question/possible blog topic… I’m wondering how to deal with all the large raw files that I am uploading into lightroom. The other day, I had an alert come up that said that I had no more room on my computer for the files.. lol. So, I purchased a fairly large external hard drive, and thought I would move a bunch of the pictures onto it so that I would have more room. But I found it difficult to figure out how to move all the files out of lightroom and onto the external hard drive, and Im also not sure how I could access them in lightroom again unless I re-import them… do you have any ideas as to how to deal with this/managing all the files? I’d rather not delete the files if possible.

Great question.

And good news. Lightroom makes it easy. You can have your files live anywhere you like, anywhere at all – and you can move the files. Anywhere, any times.

Now for moving files.

  • When you move files using Lightroom, that is the end of the job. Lightroom knows where they now live since it moved them.
  • When you move files outside Lightroom, using your PC or Mac, then you are not moving anything “out of Lightroom”. You are just moving them, and now need to tell Lightroom where they now live. Lightroom will now show them with a question mark. Meaning, it does not know where they are. Simply right-click and “find missing files”.

As for where files live: I recommend files on an external drive; and the catalog file on that drive als (and everything backed up!). You may find this a useful post also in that regard.

Does that help? If not, a short coaching session will help sort it all out. Stick with Lightroom, sort it out – it is worth it!


Recompose during events?

A students asks:

What are your thoughts with focus and recompose when shooting events or portraits? Since it is very difficult to always move the single focus point, especially with event photography, I feel that sometimes focus and recompose is better. However, I have also read through other websites that doing the ‘focus and recompose’ technique could affect quality of the picture.

Good question.

Moving the focus point is always more accurate (because of geometry and because you might move), when you have the time – but it does take that small amount of time. So yes, I do that when I can – when I am shooting at, say, f/5.6 or brighter, and when I have a second.

When I do not, I just usse the central focus point – which on most cameras is the most sensitive! – and live with any small inaccuracies.

So if I simplify it is:

Recompose when it is dark or you are in a hurry; and move the focus point when you have time or when you need great accuracy.