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Question for experienced photographers

Old 08-17-05, 10:32 AM
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Question for experienced photographers

I've been shooting a lot of photos with my new Canon PowerShot SD500 7-megapixel camera (having previously owned several Kodak and Casio digital cameras.) Rather than keeping a huge swath of photos I don't want, I've developed a habit of pitching most and keeping only one or two representative photos of each subject.

The problem is that the major reason a photo hits the "discard" pile is because the lateral alignment is off - it's tipped left or right. Even a very slight skew is very noticeable and sometimes throws off an otherwise great shot.

I've done what I can to minimize the problem - aligning a camera edge with a vertical or horizontal line; using the viewfinder; taking several photos with the hope that at least one will be squared with the ground. But still, I end up with many off-kilter shots. It's frustrating, and I'm tempted to glue a carpenter's level to the top of the camera!

What do you do to level your shots?

- David Stein
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Old 08-17-05, 10:42 AM
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That's one of the biggest problems with digital cameras. With film, when it's taken in to be processed, they usually straighten and crop any crooked pictures to make them look straight on the print. Check oiut your negatives, I bet you have lots of crooked pictures. With digital, there is no straightening or cropping so you notice the crooked pictures right away.

Tossing them is stupid, it's easy enough to crop and straighten in Photoshop or something similar.
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Old 08-17-05, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by shaun3000
Tossing them is stupid, it's easy enough to crop and straighten in Photoshop or something similar.
But the artifacting is terrible if you do that. Even with Adobe Photoshop CS2 resampling a seven-megapixel image, the antialiasing even of the compressed image is noticeable and distracting.

- David Stein
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Old 08-17-05, 11:10 AM
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In Photoshop, you can simply go to Image, down to Rotate Canvas, choose Abrbitrary, and adjust the level desired by rotating 1, 2, or more (for instance) CW or CCW as needed to straighten out your image.
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Old 08-17-05, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by sfsdfd
But the artifacting is terrible if you do that. Even with Adobe Photoshop CS2 resampling a seven-megapixel image, the antialiasing even of the compressed image is noticeable and distracting.

- David Stein
Are you sure you are not accidently downsampling at the same time. I've never found it very noticable on a full res 8Mpixel image, but usually it is a casual shot printed 4x6" or 5x7". If printed large, it might be noticable.

My camera has an electronic viewfinder, which I find better than the screen on the back. It also has the option to turn on a "grid" in the finder that helps with alignment. I usually leave that on. You might review manual and see if you have one available. In action shots, you may still be off, but I find PS rotates OK.
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Old 08-17-05, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil L.
In Photoshop, you can simply go to Image, down to Rotate Canvas, choose Abrbitrary, and adjust the level desired by rotating 1, 2, or more (for instance) CW or CCW as needed to straighten out your image.
If you use the Measure tool first to make a line (across what should be a straight edge) and then to go Rotate Canvas -> Arbitrary, the correct angle will be filled in already.
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Old 08-17-05, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by sfsdfd
But the artifacting is terrible if you do that. Even with Adobe Photoshop CS2 resampling a seven-megapixel image, the antialiasing even of the compressed image is noticeable and distracting.

- David Stein
Are you referring to the rotate function? If so, when you are using the rotation, the preview that you use to get the lines right is pretty horribly pixalated, but once you apply the rotation, the final image should be clean.
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Old 08-17-05, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by HN
If you use the Measure tool first to make a line (across what should be a straight edge) and then to go Rotate Canvas -> Arbitrary, the correct angle will be filled in already.
That's a cool tip that I haven't tried before . . .

Last edited by talemyn; 08-17-05 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 08-17-05, 06:14 PM
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Some "off kilter" photos look just fine. On things that just have to be straightened, the rotate or straighten function in ANY of my graphics programs works just fine.

Sometimes, you can just crop off the part with a straight line in it, and not have to straighten it.

This one I rotated (just a thumbnail)
http://www.unseengallery.com/assets/images/gratet.jpg
This one I just cropped off the edge of the sidewalk
http://www.unseengallery.com/assets/images/catt.jpg
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Old 08-17-05, 11:23 PM
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Not sure what you're doing in Photoshop but in almost every photo I don't see any artifacting. I'm also a big fan of having only a couple of representative photos. I'd say with my new camera I've taken a couple of thousand pictures and only ten of them are decent. But I'm a tough critic.

Buy yourself a couple 512MB and 1GB cards and just keep snapping, each time turning the camera just a bit. You feel much better when you have the choice of the good picture of $SUBJECT when you have 33 pictures as opposed to 3. During any "event" or shoot I usually just keep shooting. I went to a rock show tonight and took pictures of one of the bands. I took about 100 pictures and this was during a time span of about 30 minutes. Just keep snapping.
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Old 08-19-05, 12:43 AM
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When you crop what how many pixels per inch do you use? Do you give the width or height a factor?
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