Friday, 10 August 2012

Getting Horizon Level in Photography

Getting the horizon lines level is one of the most important things to learn early in your photography career. A slanting horizon line has the ability to ruin otherwise great shots, however many people who are beginners in photography make this elementary mistake without realizing it.

There may be times when you would want your camera at an angle, tilting the horizon; it is OK if you are doing it on purpose; to get the desired impact. But remember if you are doing it in purpose make it very obvious, else make it perfectly level, something in between will only be perceived as an error you made when composing your image.

Looking at the picture below you could easily find out that the horizon does slop a little to the left and if you observe closely the tilting horizon has the effect of making the viewers uncomfortable.

Getting Horizon Level in Photography
Getting Horizon Level in Photography

How to get horizons level?

Many modern cameras have grid lines or rule of thirds lines to help you compose your image, even though they are not meant for levelling your image you could align your image along those lines and get a perfectly level horizon. Even if your camera does not have this feature you could either use the focusing spots or simply align the horizon line with the top or bottom of your screen.

There are some companies who sell miniature versions of spirit levels, but if you are not into serious landscape photography you might not need it, with a little attention you could easily get your horizons level and after some time it just becomes second nature to you.

If everything failed and you managed to get a photo with a tilting horizon line, need not worry, most of the image editing software’s including photoshop and iphoto have a straighten feature with which you could do a little crop and get you horizon fixed.

So crux of the matter is to remember to ask yourselves this question before pressing the shutter button.

Is my horizon level ?

If the answer is YES

Press Shutter Release Button.

If the answer is NO

Turn on the rule of third grid and align your horizon with one of the horizontal lines.


Use your focusing points to align the horizon lines


Simply align your horizon in respect to the top or bottom of your lcd.


What the hell, try to align the horizon as much as you can rest we will take care of while post processing.

In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Composition Tips - Using Focal Points in Photography

Related Reading

  1. Rule of Thirds
  2. Photography lighting - 12 Questions to ask yourself before clicking a picture
  3. How To Get Better Lighting From Your On Camera Flash
  4. 5 Tips For Using your Flash Creatively
  5. Stroboscopic Flash Photography