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Cream of the Crop: cropping and resizing > Straightening Crooked Photos

Straightening Crooked Photos

If you handhold the camera for most of your shots rather than using a tripod, you can be sure that some of your photos are going to come out a bit crooked. Here’s a quick way to straighten them accurately in just a few short steps.

Step One.
Open the photo that needs straightening. Choose the Measure tool from Photoshop’s Toolbox (it looks like a little ruler, and it’s hidden behind the Eyedropper tool, so just click-and-hold for a moment on the Eyedropper tool until the Measure tool appears in the flyout menu).

Step Two.
Try to find something in your photo that you think is supposed to be straight (the horizon in this example). Drag the Measure tool horizontally along this straight edge in your photo (as shown), starting from the left and extending right. As soon as you drag the tool, you can see the angle of the line displayed both in the Info palette (which appears automatically) and up in the Options bar, but you can ignore them both because Photoshop is already taking note of the angle and placing that info where you’ll need it in the next step.


Step Three.
Go under the Image menu, under Rotate Canvas, and choose Arbitrary, and the Rotate Canvas dialog appears. Photoshop has already put the proper angle of rotation you need to straighten the image (based on your measurement), and it even sets the button for whether the image should be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise.

Step Four.
All you have to do now is click OK, and your photo will be perfectly straightened (check out the horizon line in the photo shown here—straight as an arrow).

Step Five.
After the image is straightened, you might have to re-crop it to remove the extra white canvas space showing around the corners of your photo.


When you use the Measure tool, the line it lays down stays put right over your photo until you rotate the image. If you want to clear the last measurement and remove the line it drew in your image, press the Clear button that appears up in the Options bar.



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