Another newbie here, question about building pictures

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by zadim, Oct 24, 2007.

  1. zadim

    zadim TPF Noob!

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    Hello everybody, I am new here and discovered photography recently. I´m reading tutorials and this forum (really useful) and the more I know the more I enjoy it. As now I stroll around the city with my camera, I have many photographs of buildings, but most of them look weird, inclined to the centre... I don´t know how explain it well, maybe this is a silly question (sorry) but I enjoy also architecture and want to learn to take nice
    pictures.
    Any idea what am I doing wrong?
    Thanks
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    You aren't doing anything wrong...what you are seeing is known as 'converging verticals'. (Google it for more info).

    There are ways to fix or correct for this. Firstly, you can move farther away from the buildings. By doing this, you are equalizing two distances...the distance from the bottom of the building to the camera...and the distance from the top of the building to the camera. This isn't always an option though.

    Next, if your images are digital, you can use a program like Photoshop to correct this. Use a tool like 'transform' to change the perspective of the image and make the lines vertical.

    The last option, would be to use a tilt/shift lens (if your camera has interchangeable lenses). A tilt shift lens is similar to the movements that you would see on an old fashion 'view type camera'. It allows you to change the tilt of the lens, to make it parallel to the building. These are pretty common for architectural photographers...but they are not cheap.
     
  3. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Are you talking about converging verticals? If that is the case, those happen because the film/sensor plane is not parallel to the building. The only way to avoid this is to make sure that your camera is parallel to the building. If the building is quite tall it is very difficult or even impossible to achieve this and frame the whole building at the same time unless you use the movements of a view camera. Alternatively, there are some software that can correct the converging verticals on a digital picture.

    Edit: Mike beat me to it... Once more...
     
  4. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    What camera and lens(es) are you using? Do you do digital post processing?

    If what you are describing is what I think it is, it is caused by tilting the camera upwards, so that the film or sensor plane is not vertical. There are a few ways round this:

    Use a wide enough lens so that you don't have to tilt the camera up, or move further back.

    Use a camera or lens with 'rise', so that the camera can look up without tilting up. These lenses are usually known as PC (perspective control) or TS (tilt-shift) lenses. Some cameras permit rise. The image below was shot with a large format camera that has rise, at the full rise available with the camera/lens combination. No further correction took place. If you look at the green stairs you can see the height of the lens - it is below the centreline of the photo, but there are no converging verticals. The camera was levelled with a spirit level. (55 mm lens, on a 4x5 camera)

    Correct the perspective in post production or at the printing stage if printing traditionally. There are various programs available if using digital post production. If printing traditionally with an enlarger you tilt the easel, and the lens, if you can.

    Best,
    Helen

    Later edit: large format cameras with movements are fairly cheap in comparison to high end DSLRs with PC or TS lenses (eg $700 for a fine, new 4x5 Chamonix camera, $300 for a second-hand lens in excellent condition). The film isn't cheap, however, but how much would you use, and how serious are you about architectural photography?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Also, google "keystoning". Everyone else has already offered good starting points. Tell us what gear you're using, there might be some interesting solutions ot the problem.
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    This is a 28 mm PC lens on a plain old 35 mm SLR:

    [​IMG]
     
  7. zadim

    zadim TPF Noob!

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    First of all, thank you for your responses. It´s the first time I hear of tilt-shift or PC lens!
    I have a digital camera, not DSLR although I´m buying a DSLR as a Christmas present for myself (I´ve taken note of your suggestions to people that have asked for advice), so this interest in architectural photography has no professional goals, it´s just because I enjoy it. I see there are different possibilities to treat it, so as I´m a really beginner I think I should try first the tips tho minimize the effect, I hope to improve
    (or at least try to) my skills. Call me old-fashioned but I don´t usually use digital post production, just for B&W pictures or so. Maybe I´m not in the right direction...
     
  8. Actually, I would encourage you to reconsider. The ability to correct mild keystoning is one of the great leaps forward in digital - try it out. I personally dig Tilt-Sift lenses, but they take a little practice, and a good one costs real money. If it's just a hobby, at least take a look at how to fine-tune a slightly converging image in Photoshop.


    Have fun.

    BTW - Nice camera, Helen.
     
  9. (Ghastly) Krueger

    (Ghastly) Krueger TPF Noob!

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    When the circumstances lend themselves, shoot from a higher place... like from a window across the street from the puliding you are shooting, a pedestrian bridge, etc.
     
  10. zadim

    zadim TPF Noob!

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    Your advice sounds sensible, I´ll give Photoshop a try (I suppose there is more suitable sw in the net but it´s the only I have used), as maybe I´m not ready to think of so professional lens. Helen, that building on the right is the Hearst Tower?
     

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