If you have been following my Picasa Series, you'll know by now what an amazing all-around photo app that Picasa is (and free too!). If you use photos in presentation work (ahem nudge nudge Real Estate Agent, Home Stager, Home Inspector) then you should really consider a post-production phase for any photos that you take. Picasa makes it extremely easy to do so. Today's post will be focusing on one of the tools that you can use to correct problems with your photos. The tool is the Straighten Tool. (BTW, if you missed the other articles in the series, be sure to click the link above and my articles will be listed for you.)
Notice in the bottom right photo below that the person taking the photo was momentarily distracted as to straight. It happens, I'm not sure why... but I see this all the time. Now when you get back to your computer and say "I can never use that!" (I hope you say that)... but now you don't have to say that. Picasa has a tool that makes it insanely easy to correct this and you CAN use that photo! My corrected version is on the left... much better!
When you are viewing your photo in Picasa, click on the Straighten Tool. It is located on the left-hand tool palette under the "Basic Fixes" tab. When you click the tool, there will be a series of horizontal and vertical gridlines displayed to help you orient to true straight. The slider bar to make rotational adjustment is at the bottom of the photo. As you slide it left or right, you will see your photo adjust accordingly.
I want to point out something in the straighten example above. I found and used a vertical line (on the cabinet) that was near the center of the width of the photo. This is the place to pick a vertical that needs to adjusted to a true plumb. Depending on the tilt of the camera (if it is looking slightly up/looking slightly down), you may notice that "verticals" on the outer edges of the photo cannot be equilaterally straight up and down. This is because of a keystone effect (vertical lines will converge to a vanishing point). You don't have to get over-analytical about what any of that means, just be aware of the center of photo recommendation and you will be ok.
Finally, I want to remind you that all of the editing in Picasa is non-destructive (meaning you can always go back to "original state" if you ever need to). This means that the original JPG file is not altered. So whatever tuning that you do, for example straighten, brighten, crop, etc - you will need to do the "export" command in order to create a file that incorporates all of your changes. The export command also allows you to create a copy file that smaller resolution file that is great for MLS and web pages and blogs. (see my article on the Picasa Export Command here)