Photo Tip Monday - January 27th - Ld

Photo Tip Monday - January 27th

Welcome to the second week of the '5 Tips for Setting up a Great Nature Photograph' series! Last week we talked about paying attention to your light source when taking pictures of nature. This week I will be talking about something that seems really simple and obvious, but that can severely make or break a picture. 

Time again for my disclaimer:

Warning: Throughout this series I will be showing you some pictures that well...are not some of my favorites. Unedited. Never before posted (never before wanted to post). I decided to post these pictures versus finding examples on the internet because 1. that would be copyright infringement, and 2. because I want you to see that I don't always get it right. I have learned by doing and I want you to learn from things I have done. The best way to do this is through some of my mistakes/examples.

Notice anything about the picture listed above? Anything? Take a look at the horizon...

Yes, that's right. The second step in setting up a great nature photograph is:

2. Check your horizon


I am imaging many sighs, eye rolls, "are you kidding me?" expressions and more from some of you reading this. But hear me out. 

Yes, telling you to check your horizon before taking a photograph seems extremely simple and obvious. However, as you can see from the picture above, it is something I have to remind myself constantly, especially if I start getting excited about something I'm photographing. I'll be five or six photographs in, and then stop to review the pictures on my camera screen. It's often only then I realize all five or six pictures are crooked. 

I know I'm not the only one who does this. I wish that I could collect money on every picture I see on a photographer's website, Pinterest, and many other places that are crooked. I'm pretty sure I'd be rich! Honestly, it's surprising how many I find. And let me tell you, nothing ruins a picture faster then when I see a crooked horizon. Why, you ask? Who cares, you ask? I DO! It matters because every time I see a picture that has a crooked horizon, that is ALL I notice. It could be the most beautiful picture, but my main focus is that the horizon isn't straight. I don't want that for you or your beautiful pictures that you work hard on and are proud of!

I know of others out there like me. Seriously. Maybe we should start a support group. I challenge you to look at the two pictures above now that I've pointed out they are crooked. Can you look at the pictures in the same way? 

So what can you do to to help ensure a straight horizon?

Most cameras have a grid that appears in the view-finder or camera screen which helps tremendously with lining up the horizon (such as in the picture above). If you don't see one on your screen or in the view finder, check the settings or the manual for your camera; sometimes it is a setting that can be turned on and off.

If your camera doesn't have one, you can take something with a straight edge (such as a piece of paper) and line it up as straight as you can on your camera screen. Use this as a grid to help line up the horizon in your shot. 

From there, you simply line up the horizon to one of the grid lines and snap away!

You CAN fix a crooked horizon in a photo-editing software (another blog post for a later time), however, it is best to line up the photo right away when you're taking it. You should never take pictures with the mindset that you will make major edits later.

Here is this week's takeaway:


-A crooked horizon can make or break a picture

-Use your camera's grid to help line up horizons

-If your camera does not have a grid, use something with a straight edge as a make-shift grid

Is checking horizons something you need to work on? Something you have mastered? I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have to help remind yourself! 

Be sure to check back next week for part three of our series!

Happy Photographing!

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