Picasa Series [#10] Tuning Listing Photos - Straighten

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

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)

Posted by

Craig Daniels
This blog is all about technology and helping you to use it smarter! Your digital footprint is your chance to attract new clients. What kind of impression are you making via your website, blog, and social media? We’ll be talking about that! Are you as productive as you can be? What apps might help you out? Do you know how to use all the best tools inside the apps? I enjoy photography and videography, you can expect to see those topics also on this blog.
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Comments (42)

Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

I love Irfanview app too - but it has different strengths... like screen capture, crop and save (in fact many of the graphics you see in my blogs are doing exactly that). Picasa excels though in the tuning category. Plus then you can export a folder in batch to a target resolution (or share on a web album instead of sending huge emails). Some photo apps like the ones that come with cameras usually drive me crazy because the "dumb it down" way to far too be useful. Picasa is simple and yet the array of available tools are all useful and intuitive.

Jan 27, 2011 06:45 AM
Melissa McKinney
McKinney Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Realtor, www.LivingFayetteville.com

Love this feature and love that you turned me on to Picasa! YaY!

Jan 27, 2011 08:01 AM
Denise Roberts
New Colony Properties, LLC - Pinehurst, NC
e-PRO, REALTOR - Specializing in Pinehurst, NC Area

Hi Craig - Another great tip/tool!!!  I've never used Picasa....have to give it a try.

Jan 27, 2011 08:48 AM
Barbara Hensley
RE/MAX Properties - Rockwall, TX
Homes for Sale in Rockwall County, Texas

Oh, Craig...you just keep taking a bigger slice out of my days!  You have quickly become an authority to me on almost everything to do with technology...and now photos are on my mind!  I will check this out...thanks!

Jan 27, 2011 09:18 AM
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

For a free tool it really has LOTS of useful stuff!  I've gotten away from using it but I'm gonna have to go back.

Jan 27, 2011 09:46 AM
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

That's a good lesson Craig!  I have had a hard time trying to figure Picassa out!

Jan 27, 2011 01:23 PM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

I love Picassa thanks to you Craig! Oh....here is something you can put on your list to teach us: sometimes I have something in the pictures I want blurred out, a logo, someones face, etc. Can you do that in Picassa? I have tried and can't figure it out if it's there. Tried Picnik too. Is that a Photoshop thing?

Jan 27, 2011 01:58 PM
Tom Branch
RE/MAX Dallas Suburbs - Plano, TX
Broker, CDPE, SFR, ACRE, Plano TX Ambassador

I'm running PhotoShop CS4 Professional for post processing work. Picasa looks like it has a bunch of nice features though...


Jan 27, 2011 01:59 PM
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Shar - the closest thing in picasa is the retouch tool (basic tab) - you can adjust a variable size brush and then 'touch' a spot to correct (usually dust/scratch removal). There are photoshop like web editors that we should be able to find a good tool to do this (w/o the photoshop purchase)

Jan 27, 2011 02:31 PM
John Novak
Keller Williams Realty The Marketplace - Las Vegas, NV
Henderson, Las Vegas and Summerlin Real Estate

The Straighten function has saved a lot of my photos. That and Fill Light are two of my favorite Picasa quick fixes.

Jan 27, 2011 02:36 PM
Debra Davis
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners - Snellville, GA
Realtor - Atlanta, Decatur, Snellville, Loganville

Another great edition of this series. This is something I can use all the time. Seems like I'm always taking them crooked.

Jan 27, 2011 02:47 PM
Sidney Kutchuk
Property Management & Sales at REALTY WORKS TEMECULA, CA 92590 (951) 217-6745 - Temecula, CA
Property Management & Sales Experts 951-217-6745

Thanks for the tip Craig, i am going to take a second look at Picasa.

Jan 27, 2011 02:48 PM
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Fort Bragg Military Relocation Services, Fayettevi

Craig, Picasa is one of the best kept secrets.  Makes editing and sharing videos a breeze.  Great post...

Jan 27, 2011 03:59 PM
Eric Anderson
Eric Anderson Realty Group - Fayetteville, NC
Fort Bragg Military Relocation Services, Fayettevi

Craig, Picasa is one of the best kept secrets.  Makes editing and sharing videos a breeze.  Great post...

Jan 27, 2011 03:59 PM
Menlo Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale
Wende Schoof - Menlo Park, CA
WendeByTheBay.com - 650.504.0219 - SF Peninsula

Craig, funny you mention this.  I just pulled up a $1.2 million dollar listing today with a thumbnail that made the house look about 600 square feet and sliding down a hill.  Seriously, I think the person who took it was falling down at the time and then did nothing to edit it. 

Jan 27, 2011 04:58 PM
Surprise Arizona Realtor Jim Braun Sun City Grand Active Adult Communities
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Jim Braun Sun City Grand Az - Surprise, AZ
Surprise AZ real estate Phoenix West Valley

Craig: Thanks for all the help and sharing with us all the knowledge you aquire. I use Picasa but now I need to really start using PICASA to its fullest.

Jan 27, 2011 11:14 PM
Jody Moore
Blue Shirt Photography | SendOutCards - Lexington, KY

I don't use Picasa but It's getting a lot of Buzz. I need to check it out.

Jan 28, 2011 01:23 AM
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

Thanks Craig, I will try again!

Jan 28, 2011 02:23 AM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I love Picasa, Craig. It's one of the best programs out there and it's free. What more could you ask for.

Feb 02, 2011 12:09 AM
Kenneth Cole
Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com... - Staten Island, NY
NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson

Thank you "Professor"

Jan 06, 2013 01:10 AM

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