Menu

Photography 101: Edge

Today is all about straight edges, and tweaking your image to ensure your lines are perfectly positioned.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia is a stunning place, but it was the “jungle temple” in the larger Angkor complex, Ta Prohm, that really lured me in. Centuries-old stone, covered in intricate carvings, have fallen victim to time and tree roots. Still, despite the neglect, it’s a living site — impossibly-hued moss covers tumbles of stone that could continue tumbling at any moment. Visitors can clamber over, under, and behind, seeking hidden details and quiet crannies.

In some areas, walls still stand, their intact windows creating frames and portals. The solid, straight edges of the windows are a stark contrast to the waterfall of stones on either side:

secret garden

Today, show us an edge — a straight line, a narrow ridge, a precipice.

Tip: To make sure your edge packs a punch, use a photo editing tool to check the alignment and adjust the image, if needed, so that your edge is perfectly straight.

You can also use these tools to make sure your leading lines go exactly where you want them, or to straighten a photo to emphasize the Rule of Thirds.

Most photo editing software or apps include a straightening tool that imposes a grid over your photo — you move the image until your edge aligns with one of the straight grid lines, and voila! There are a few ways to tackle this, many of them free:

  • If you use Instagram, straighten an image with the Adjust Tool. Other phone editing apps — Snapseed, Camera+, VSCO — offer similar abilities.
  • Free photo editing site PicMonkey lets you upload and edit any photo. To straighten, choose a photo from your computer, then click “Edit” and choose the “Rotate” tab. Use the slider to adjust your photo’s angle.
  • Photoshop and Lightroom, two popular pieces of software, each have a straightening tool. In Photoshop, adjust a photo’s angle while cropping, or use the Ruler. The Ruler will tell you the precise angle of your line, so you can straighten with no guesswork. In Lightroom, look for the “Crop and Straighten” tool; it’s the first icon on the left in the Develop Module.

Note: Comments on Photo 101 posts are closed — please use the Commons to share your new posts, discuss today’s theme and tip, and chat with fellow participants. If you choose not to use the Commons, just be sure to tag your post with photo101 so others can find your submission in the Reader. 

Close Comments