Getting it straight, square and true ... some thoughts

posted on 3rd of november, 2010

I enjoy taking architecture shots while I travel and around my home town. I prefer shooting more recognisable/iconic buildings than generic however enjoy whatever is available and interesting at the time.

One aspect I have struggled with, however am improving, is getting lines square, not including lens distortion or the angle between the film plane and subject, just plain horizon parallel to frame edge and getting verticals to vertical. Not that I always want square and straight.

I have guidelines available on the display of my camera LCD when using liveview, which help greatly and whenever possible I use a tripod, which has a trusty bubble on the head. However, I still often rely on a few other techniques that I thought I should share:

-lining up the red focus marks in the view finder with top and bottom or left and right of a feature
-using the liveview guide lines and lining the vertical and or horizontal with features on the subject
-putting the centre focus mark on the centre of the subject as a starting point
-sighting along the join between to central brick/paver/cement join/etc

-moving to the edge of a perpendicular surface (horizontal or vertical) and shuffling back and forth until I can only just not see the adjacent surface (for example a side wall)

-placing architectural features in all for corners of the view finder and the centre focus mark in the centre of the subject
-taking a test shot (while on tripod) then zooming in and out to determine if it is right then iterating until it is perfect

I have used these or combinations of these with the camera in the vertical, horizontal, upside down and looking straight up position and still have a way to go before I always get it right however I am getting better. When I do not get it quite right, there is always the straighten tool in Lightroom that works a treat on the horizontal and vertical.

My tripod head is quite stiff and small adjustments are tricky which leads me to want to buy the Arca Swiss C1 Cube however to be able to do that my Dreamstime sales would have to take a near vertical trend upwards than they seem to! In the meantime, it is patience and small adjustments of the tripod head or even turning the whole tripod if that is easier.

My next wish list item is a tilt-shift (Canon 24mm) lens so that I can learn about shooting with film plane parallel to subject plane. That is a blog for another day and again will require some serious upward trending sales!

Happy shooting everyone

Comments (8)

Posted by Keki on November 05, 2010
lovely work! :)
Posted by Iwhitwo on November 04, 2010
Very nice architectural images!
Posted by Shopartgallerycom on November 04, 2010
Great advices and lovely pictures!
Posted by Sobek85 on November 04, 2010
love the shots
Posted by Mani33 on November 04, 2010
Look awesome!
Posted by Scottysally2 on November 04, 2010
Nice images. :)
Posted by Arim44 on November 03, 2010
Great Images.
Posted by Laurasinelle on November 03, 2010
Nice work!

Comments (8)

This article has been read 1200 times. 1 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Bevanward.

About me

I moved to Adelaide, Australia in 1978 from Auckland, New Zealand, as a child. Raised in Townsville, North Queensland, I left home to work in Central Australia where I first became interested in photography as a field geologist. From there I took a role in Johannesburg, South Africa, returned to Australia to marry, moved to Santiago, spent five years there in the capital of Chile and since have moved back to Brisbane, Australia where I am now based. I live with my wife of eight years and our three year old son. I have spent the past 10 years travelling all over the world and as part of my trav... [Read more]

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