I'm having a lot of trouble taking photos of doors and things with parallel lines.
Here are some of mine:
you can see it most of all on the door here:
Can you see how the lines that are parallel in real life, aren't in the photo? They wander off to the vanishing point.
I want them to not do that. I want parallel lines to look parallel in the photo. How do I change how I take the photo to do this?
Yes, I know they can be fixed post-production, for a digital camera, but I want to learn to do this with my camera first for several reasons.
1. I don't always shoot digital (sometimes I shoot film)
2. every edit risks degrading the quality of the image
3. I feel very strongly that my learning style requires I need to learn to take technically accurate photos that require very little editing. I know a lot can be done post-production, but I don't want to be wasting valuable time fixing mistakes that I could simply not make them when I take the photo.
Any thoughts or advice on how I can compose the shot better to make the parallel lines look parallel?
Stand further back and use a longer lens (ie zoom in a bit). A wide angle lens will exaggerate the problem. A longer lens will minimise it.
Also stand as 'straight on' as possible to the middle of the image. With the door, you took it at head height so the bottom of the door is further away than the top. If you took it level with the middle of the door, it would still appear to narrow a little top and bottom, but not so much.
If you stand back AND get at the right height, it will appear much better.
Go on - take a series of photos at different heights and different distances away (zoom so that the door appears the same height each time) and post the results.
Same with the sign - you're standing near the post end. Try it standing further along.
What you see are the effects of how the lens is constructed… It can be corrected using software if enough data is avaible. (camera + lens + Zoom level + focus distance.)
I can try to correct one image if you upload a uncropped image (ideally directly out of the camera, that way all metadata is available for the software).
About composition: It may help to position the camera at the upper or lower edge of the rectangular object. That way you don't get that "bulge" in the middle, but rather only one side of it.
r ranson wrote:I'm more interested in the parallel lines issue. I want to try to keep them parallel instead of having them wander off towards the vanishing point.
If you don't want to correct it in software, you can use a pinhole "lens". Basically a <1mm hole in front of the sensor. The downside is that you will need A LOT of light (and or long exposures). And they are not as sharp as a glass lens.
When photographing things that have parallel lines that are not equal, such as a door, window or a house, is called “keystoning” and is a result of perspective caused by not being properly oriented to the subject. For example taking a picture of a house from the sidewalk in front, the sides of the house at eye level are closer than the sides of the house at the roof, hence the distortion. 35mm cameras have long had “distortion control” lenses that are actually split in two and have a knurled knob on them you can adjust and see the sides of the house magically go into alignment. Old view cameras that had bellows were very flexible so the lense could be tilted to correct keystoning and other distortions.
The photographer can correct the keystoning by carefully aligning the camera so it is perfectly oriented in relation to the subject. Twin lens reflex cameras (such as the venerable Yashicamat) were great for visually aligning as the photographer was seeing the image upside down which removes the minds desire to correct the keystoning, because after all, the mind knows that window is square, unfortunately the film doesn’t agree (viewing a photograph or drawing upside down is a good way to gain insight into the composition, good or bad). The viewing screen at the top of the twin lens reflex also usually had a grid on it that assisted getting things straight. Professional 35 mm cameras could often have viewing screens with grids overlaid added. Software can correct the distortion relatively easily upon editing. I have an app for scanning documents on my phone that automatically reads the edges of the photographed document and assign edges that can then be adjusted to correct the keystoning.
Shooting with the smallest aperture possible given your light and exposure times may help. Not an expert though, somebody else needs to confirm.
posted 4 days ago
Tripods and/or camera quick mounts often include built in levels that can be useful for static shots. Additionally using a stable tripod (also locking up the mirror w/ a reflex 35mm and using a cable release) allows for a sharper exposure if vibration can be minimized. A camera with a built in level can even act as a rudimentary surveying device when coupled with a story pole.
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