Correcting Perspective in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Correcting Perspective in Photoshop and Photoshop Elements

Photoshop perspective correction opener

Sometimes you’ll capture an image that should be rectangular but is anything but. In this example I shot an image of a 6 x 6 inch sheet of paper for a project. The aim at the time was to have a reference image before the project was shipped.

Photoshop perspective correction step1

Later I found I need to do more with the image and because it had been shot so casually the proportions were all wrong and the image does not look like a square sheet of paper. I also no longer have the project so reshooting is out of the question.

Luckily Photoshop and Photoshop Elements both share a similar tool for adjusting perspective which will go a long way towards fixing an image like this.

To do this choose Filter > Lens Correction in Photoshop and then click the Custom tab to access the custom tools. In Photoshop Elements choose Filter > Correct Camera Distortion.

Photoshop perspective correction step2

Make sure the Show Grid option is checked and you may want to adjust the grid size so it is useful for determining the straightness of the edges in the image.

The Vertical Perspective adjustment will fix this image’s perspective problems so drag it to the left to increase the width at the top of the image to adjust for the incorrect perspective.

Photoshop perspective correction step3

When you do this you may notice that the image has some geometric distortion. In this case it’s barrel distortion and the edges of the subject are billowed out.

To remove this adjust the Remove Distortion slider to counteract the distortion. It won’t be possible to get it perfect but it will be possible to reduce it to acceptable levels.

Photoshop perspective correction step4

In this same dialog you may occasionally want to adjust the Vignetting slider if your lens causes dark vignettes in the corners of the image. In most cases you will drag to the right to slightly lighten the edges of the image.

Photoshop perspective correction step5

Once you’re done click Ok to return to Photoshop.

The only problem that cannot be fixed in the lens correction filter is the one that would stretch the image so the subject looks closer to its original proportions which are of a 6 x 6 inch page.

For this you’ll need to click the Move tool and drag up or down on the image to stretch it.

If you need to stretch the image beyond the current image canvas dimensions, do so and confirm the change. Then choose Image > Reveal All to reveal the area of the image off the side of the canvas. While the final image isn’t perfect it looks a lot better than the original.

Photoshop perspective correction step6

This same tool can be used to adjust perspective on buildings which show a keystoning effect where the building appears to be narrower at the top than at its base.

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Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at

Some Older Comments

  • Allen Conway December 4, 2012 08:53 am

    @Helen Well, it looks like I'll have to get the hang of using this new (for me) tool. Thanks for that!

  • Helen Bradley December 4, 2012 07:01 am

    @allen this is an all in one fix so you get to fix barrel and pincushion distortion, you fix perspective and vignetting and you can scale the resulting image up or down to suit. It is far more sophisticated a fix than the perspective crop tool offers. Also you can tinker with the settings until you get it right - until you click Ok, the image isn't actually altered.


  • chandrasekaran December 4, 2012 02:44 am

    Can u compare perspective correction using Edit > Transform Perspective ?
    In the transform perspective method we will lose some area i think

  • Allen Conway November 29, 2012 01:28 am

    What is to be gained doing it that way rather than by using the perspective crop tool?

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer November 19, 2012 02:25 pm

    This was a revelation when I first learned about it. I use Photoshop to do it on a Mac, and wrote a detailed workflow with keyboard shortcuts for how to do it in CS5:

    I included a sample image to download and practice on as well.

    One other tip to keep in mind is to make sure when framing the shot to leave enough space for the building or subject to "straighten in to" so to speak.

  • Vinylmeister November 19, 2012 06:01 am

    Great tip, as I photograph a lot of album covers, I am using the ps skew tool

  • Chitra Sivasankar Arunagiri November 19, 2012 05:59 am

    WOW! Great article! I dont use it much but I have been learning and knowing the options on Photoshop elements and this is just the right article at the right time. Thank you. :)