darktable (my new favorite photo editing app) has a perspective correction feature. The steps to use it are pretty simple to follow, but first, lets discuss why they’re needed.
Lenses distort the world around us. Don’t believe me, just look at the photos you’ve taken with your cell phone camera. Have you ever noticed how people’s foreheads get enlarged?
To complicate matters further we have round lenses with round distortions and rectangular sensors. These natural limitations cause a significant bias to how our devices capture the world around us.
Similarly the wiring in our brain leaves us to be inclined to certain perspective bias.
Our powerful computers can compensate for this perspective bias. The image on the left has perspective correction applied. The image on the right is without perspective correction.
In darktable perspective correction is a simple process consisting of:
- Activate the perspective correction module
- Get structure
- Automatically correct for vertical/horizontal distortion
- Automatically crop for largest area
The same rules for how we apply this technique to photos through our software is the same technique for how we can apply this in our own lives.
- Decide to correct your perspective
- Understand the structure and rules of those around you. Like the building above they have a history that’s worth respecting.
- Correct for vertical/horizontal distortion. While our corrections may not be automatic or as accurately calculated, we need to remember that whenever we are operating, we are likely operating on more than one dimension at a time. We need to recognize and respond to the reality of our distortions.
- Assume the largest perspective going forward. Once your perspective has changed respect and enjoy the new understanding.
While our software can correct for perspective sometimes the best views come from being humble enough to get on one’s knees. The photo below would look a lot different had I taken it standing up instead of looking at it from the mushroom’s height.