Hi and welcome back.
Even though I preach to crop in camera when out shooting, it is inevitable that you need to crop. And photoshop is the place to do it. We are going to go over Advanced Cropping to straighten your images.
Now when cropping, it doesn’t matter if you have layers or not as the crop will go all the way through the layers. Also, choosing when to crop is important too. Sometimes, if the image really needs it, I’ll crop first; sometimes I wait to see if I can save an image first before I crop. It is completely subjective.
After bringing an image into photoshop, scroll over to the tool bar on the left. In CS3, go to the eye dropper on the bottom and click and hold until the drop down box show and you can see the ruler.
Once you’ve clicked on the ruler, you need to choose a spot to drag a line from. For the shot of the tractor, nothing is really level, so I chose a line across the tops of the tires. Just choose a spot to start, then click and drag to the opposite side. You can do this with a horizon line, across tires, alongside a building edge, or any place you can visualize a straight line.
Once you choose your line, go to Image, scroll down to Rotate Canvas, then scroll over to Arbitrary and click okay.
Once you click okay, this box will come up. This box tells you how much the canvas will rotate from the current level.
Once you click okay, the image will rotate. Then you can see the new level. Here, the tractor looks level but the landscape is still a bit skewed. I want the foreground element to be level, so for me it’s good.
Now, on the left side tool bar, click on the crop tool, surround your image, and crop.
Voila, the finished cropped image. Perfect. Even though the background is out of level, the main subject, the tractor, is just right.
I teach and preach cropping in camera: that is, do your best to get the image you want without spending time cropping later. But, eventually, you will need to learn how to crop effectively.
That’s it for now. Till next time, happy Photoshopping!