Photographing Outdoors? Remember to Level the Horizon!
A pet peeve of mine is outdoor photographs of waterfront panoramas (or any horizon photo) where the horizon is crooked, inclined at an angle, rather than straight and level.
There's probably no photographic blemish (other than maybe a finger in front of the lens) that looks more careless and amateurish. And there's no excuse for leaving these crooked photos in a real estate slide show or virtual tour, particularly when it takes a few moments to correct the horizon in your photos.
There are lots of ways to accomplish this, but the easiest one is to edit away this unsightly problem using Picasa's free "Straighten" tool. As most of you know, Picasa is free and it's also wonderfully easy to use.
This is done in three easy steps, presuming that you already have Picasa on your computer.
First, open your photo with the crooked horizon in Picasa and select the "Straighten" tool in the editing menu to the left of the photo.
Once you've selected "Straighten" a grid consisting of fine white dotted lines will be superimposed over your lopsided photo.
Move the slider at the bottom of the photo to the left or right as needed to level the horizon. Then click "Apply".
The photo above is your finished product, with a level horizon. I used the water's edge on the horizon as a guideline.
There are many other ways to accomplish the same thing using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, or other photo editing tools. The important thing is to stop uploading these bizarre, crooked horizon shots to your real estate website, to virtual tours and even MLS photo archives. You'll look more professional and viewers won't get vertigo looking at photos that are intended to show off your listing.