Four Under-Used Tools in Lightroom's Lens Correction Module

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Four Under-Used Tools in Lightroom’s Lens Correction Module

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hacking photography, mike newton, architecture,

Almost every lens changes the way your image looks by warping it in some way. Each lens can create barrel distortion, vignetting at big apertures, chromatic aberration, and more.

Some lenses have more distortion than others. Let’s look at four tools in Lightroom’s lens correction module that are a lifesaver

1. The easy button – lens profile corrections in one click

Before lens corrections:

lens corrections, lightroom

Brick wall at 16mm, f/2.8, ISO 1250. You can see the ‘bulge’ in the middle because the horizontal lines are not parallel. Also notice the dark corner vignetting from shooting wide open at f/2.8

After one-click lens correction:

hacking photography, brick wall, lens correction, barrel distortion

Same settings as above but with lens profile correction applied. Note the parallel horizontal lines and no more dark corners.

I shot this wall on a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8 to illustrate the ‘bulge’ in the middle and vignetted corners. These are distortions from the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II lens.lightroom 5 lens profile corrections,

Lightroom is already loaded with profile corrections for this specific lens! Just click “enable profile corrections” in the “Profile” section of the Lens Correction module and Lightroom will fix the distortion for the lens you used!

Finding your lens profiles on older versions of Lightroom

As Lightroom keeps rolling out newer versions, it rolls out profiles from newly released lenses. If you are using Lightroom 3 from 2010 but have a lens that hit the market in 2012, Lightroom won’t have it in there.

You can go download Adobe Lens Profile Creator to look up your lenses, grab their profiles, and manually add them to Lightroom.

I use the profile corrections on almost all of my images

Unless you have a very specific reason to manually deal with it, I suggest that you just use Lightroom’s built-in profile corrections most of the time.

While you can certainly change all these lens corrections manually, in most cases it makes more sense to let Lightroom do the hard work for you.

2. The vertical slider

Pizzeria Mozza San Diego, architecture photography, keystoning, hacking photography

The problem

I photographed this shot above for a commercial builder. Notice how the building in the back is falling over, and the one in front has vertical lines that aren’t parallel? Rather than repeat this excellent DPS article (Why are my Buildings Falling Over? A Short Guide to Perspective Distortion and Correction in Photography) that describes why this happens, I’ll show you how to correct it.

The solution

I pull the vertical slider to the left until the lines are parallel.

hacking photography, architecture photography, pizzeria mozza, lens correction, lightroom 5

Crop it

Notice anything weird? When you shift the vertical axis you lose some of the image. Architecture photographers use tilt-shift lenses to correct this in camera without losing any of the image.

Since I didn’t have one at the time, I corrected it in Lightroom by cropping the white part out.

tilt-shift, hacking photography,

3. The horizontal slider

Sometimes you might be in a hurry and shoot a photo that needs to be slightly shifted horizontally in post. I did this during a fashion shoot.

Hacking Photography, model, horizontal shift

The problem

I took the photograph without realizing I was slightly positioned to the side of the wall vs. straight on. If you look closely, you can see the line where the wall hits the ground, and that it slightly angles from bottom left to top right.

The solution

Using the horizontal slider and shifting it slightly to the right will tilt this photo so the right side appears to come closer to the viewer and the left side moves further away from the viewer. The result is that now the photo is perfectly square with the wall and the line along the bottom is level.

hacking photography, lens corrections

4. Vignette slider

The problem

When shooting at big apertures most lenses create some form of vignette, meaning dark corners in the photo. Sometimes these can be attractive, but sometimes you don’t want them.

I shot this photo at f/1.8. Do you see the dark corners? I want to remove those.

hacking photography

The solution

Simply pull the vignette slider in the Lens Correction manual module to the right to reduce a vignette.

vignette, hackingphotography.com

Vignettes are a matter of personal preference. I don’t think the first photo looks bad with the vignette, I just wanted it without it. You can use the vignette slider to create or enhance a vignette by pulling the slider to the left.

Pro tip: if you’ve cropped the image at all, you will want to use the post-crop vignetting tool in the “effects” dialog box. The vignette slider in the lens corrections module affects the original image size, regardless if you’ve cropped it.

If you want to see these tools in action, check out the video below:

I hope you found this helpful – happy editing!

Read more from our Post Production category

Mike Newton teaches photography learning shortcuts and other photo hacks at Hacking Photography. He is a full-time advertising photographer in San Diego California. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or his personal photography site.

  • Keith Starkey

    Very good tools to know! Thanks.

  • For #2, in Lightroom’s Lens Correction section, the options to level/vertical/full/auto offer a 1-click fix to the same thing. I often find “auto” to be the easiest way to correct verticals and level horizons (works for me, 9 out of 10 times).

  • Depends on the image. But yeah start there and if you don’t like the job it did just undo and pick another method. Super easy.

  • My pleasure!

  • I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’ve never used the autocorrect version of this which is funny because I get on my soapbox about saving time in editing! I’ll have to give it a shot and see how it works.

  • I tend to avoid 1-click fixes like the plague, but this one actually does a superb job. Like Darlene said, it does not work every time – but it works often enough that I always try it.

  • Anand Joshi

    Excellent article. Very informative and worth trying next time for PPing a wide angle shot. Thanks.

  • Mister_Q

    Yes, the new “upright” tools on the first tab of the lens corrections does a great job. It’s a fairly recent addition to Lightroom which may be why it’s been missed.

  • Ruel Urgel Villaluna

    Good job Mike! I love your article. It will help me a lot! God bless you!

  • KLHERTZ

    I just went to Lightroom and opened up lens corrections but all I have are Profile, Color and Manuel. I don’t have the basic option. I use lightroom 4 is that why?

  • Yes, I’m using Lightroom Creative Cloud and they’ve made some new additions in Lightroom 5.

  • For sure, glad it helped 🙂

  • My pleasure @disqus_p7kB0T9KIL:disqus!

  • Steven Pearce

    Fantastic article Mike! I’m gaining more confidence in using Lightroom and this helps. Thanks!

  • You should credit the artist who painted the mural in the top photo. His name is Chor Boogie.

  • Hi Sandrino. I was hired by the restaurant to photograph the interiors of their restaurant. Definitely not trying to avoid giving credit where credit is due, but wasn’t ever told who the artist was/is. I also photographed their other restaurant in which he did the murals as well.

  • Glad to hear it helped!

  • No problem, Chor Boogie is doing a mural here in Miami right now. His work is unmistakable.

  • Johan Bauwens

    If you use In – camera lens correction already, is there any point in using lens correction in Lightroom ?

  • Some great info there! You may also want to mention the options available for removing Chromatic Aberration – something I find very useful for older glass. Thanks!

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