Taking Photos of Frames

Lisa A

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I came across this tutorial which solved a problem I've been having for a long time. When taking a picture of a frame, it doesn't appear quite square. I've found that this is due to the perspective from which you are standing when you take the picture.

The Perspective feature in Adobe Photoshop fixes this probelem. Note that this is only available in Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements. Here is the tutorial that explains how to do this:
Cropping Pictures

Enjoy! :D
 

TheDoctah

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You can fix perspective issues in Elements. You just can't do it using the crop tool.

image -> transform -> perspective gives you the handles that you can move to correct the perspective distortion. It's available in Elements at least back to v2.0 (the version I have).
 

Jim Miller

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I use JASC Paint Shop Pro, which is a competitor to Photoshop. I have an older version of Photoshop, but prefer the tools in Paint Shop -- for the price it is a very powerful program & has more features than I need.

Perspective correction is a common need with photography of frames. It's often necessary to shoot at an angle to avoid reflections in the glazing.

In my experience barrel correction is another often-needed fix for digital photos.
 

framah

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Of course, the easiest way is to hold the camera square to the art in the first place.
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TheDoctah

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Right, Framah, which works great unless you need to use an on-camera flash. This can be alleviated with a tripod, but if you're using a P&S you probably don't have one.
 

HB

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Jim said:
In my experience barrel correction is another often-needed fix for digital photos.
I've found that to be true esp in cheaper cameras with poor lens. I traded my Fuji in on a good NIKON - huge difference - now I never have that distortion -even right at the very edge.
Its a coolpix 8800VR - I highly recomend it for shooting frames!
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by HB:
...I've found that to be true esp in cheaper cameras with poor lens...Its a coolpix 8800VR - I highly recomend it for shooting frames!
That's what I use. It may be better than a cheap camera, but often my photos of frames still need barrel correction. Maybe my camera just needs a better photographer.
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TheDoctah

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Jim-

You can alleviate the barrel distortion by using a longer focal length and moving the camera farther away from the subject. So instead of standing up close to the frame and using the least amount of zoom, stand farther away and zoom in.
 

Baer Charlton

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Before we all run off at the mouth about other esoteric things...

I for one would like Lisa for bringing this little PK into our lives.

Thanks for sharing Lisa.... now I have a bout 7,000 pictures I want to go correct.. :D
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by TheDoctah:
...You can alleviate the barrel distortion by using a longer focal length and moving the camera farther away from the subject...
Yes, I know about that, but it's much easier to click the correction in the computer. My meager budget will not allow me to construct a studio - I have to photograph frames in my shop, where light comes from all directions and space is limited.

When I took the 150 or so photos for the shadowbox book, I had to use every trick I could find to balance the lighting, aviod reflections, and still depict details of the subject at certain angles. For an amateur, that's tricky. I learned a lot. If only I could have spent the $2500 for a photographer...
 

Whynot

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Jim,

How do you correct the barrel effect? Oh, but you are not using Photoshop... anyway, go ahead, the principles and the tools must be more or less the same in both programs. Thanks.

Lisa,

An even better Photoshop tool than Perspective is Sqew.
Perspective moves two corners of a selection at the same time. Some times you need to bring one corner into square more than the other and here Sqew comes in handy. Just make a selection of what you want to square up, give yourself a couple of guiding lines as to form a 90 degree angle against which to modify your selected area of the picture and proceed with Edit>Transform>Sqew. Grab one corner and pull it any needed direction. When you are done with the first corner, you go to the next. This way you make perfect square corners in Photoshop.

But if the picture was taken from little distance, the sphericity of the lens would "barrel" distort that picture. The degree of that barrel distortion is not depending on how good or bad a camera is but rather on how curved its lens is. Some lenses will distort more than others. Fish eye lenses are the ones that distort the most, but they also give you the widest viewing angle when taking pictures outdoors. You may not be aware of distortions in that case because trees and mountains are not made of straight lines and the small barrel effect passes unnoticed by the eye. Wide angle lenses are rated smaller than 50 mm (normal). As lenses get a narrower view (tele-photo lenses) their "number" (focal length) is getting larger. HB's camera must have lenses of higher than 50mm focal length and this is why barrel distortion is smaller in his camera, but not completely absent. As a minus, HB's camera gets narrower views (as if looking through a tube) and in order to get the whole picture he needs to step further back from where another camera may take the same picture.
Why do you think professional photographers need so many lenses? A wide angle lens that's good for taking outdoor shots will visibly distort faces (big nose) in portraits. With some lenses you can take close ups but not with others etc. Single lens cameras (those that can't take different lenses) are commercial cameras (sort of LaMarche, LJ, Roma cameras). They may be relatively expensive for non-connaisseurs, yet they are commercial cameras and their use is limited to "album memories". Pictures taken with commercial cameras will only be "perfect" for amateurs, for those who can't say the difference and all they are after is pilling up memories. When one needs to take photos for a catalog or for the purposes of making posters, magazines etc, then even the amateur photographer (like we all are) starts seeing the limits of any commercial camera. Those gorgeous pictures in Play Boy Magazine or Victoria's Secrets glamorous illustrations are not taken with our type of cameras. No way! The best photographer can't produce such pictures with any of our commercial cameras. In the world of cameras any 35 mm film unit is the equivalent of a very low resolution digital camera, and today's highest rezolution digital camera is only as good as a 35 mm film camera. If you want large pictures with fine details in there you need as big resolution as you can get (large format film). Or larger film format cameras like very high resolution digital cameras are for professional photographers only. They can afford to pay for a good camera as much as for a good car for they get paid a fortune for a professionally taken picture.
 

DVieau2

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Whynot,

Good explanation but allow me to nitpick two points.

The normal field of view or normal lens is determined by measuring the diagonal size of the film or sensor plane. For 35mm that would be 50mm. Almost all consumer digital cameras have a smaller size sensor plane so the normal lens of your digital camera is about 38mm.

A good 35mm camera with 100-speed film is equivalent to a 12 mega-pixel camera. That would be considered a high-resolution digital camera.

Doug
 

HB

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I usually shoot at 89mm , i zoom in as much as possible - yes it "flattens the image". I shoot from upstairs looking over a balcony! I should mention though that some lenses are manufactured better than others and do have less edge problems.

Good points though - & Jim - yes, the odd time I need to do barrel adj - especially in big works where I could not zoom in as much. Skewing works great for "poor framing" of the picture as well - poor framing as in not being a good photographer & not centring and shooting from an angle - no-no's. I always shoot before glazing too!
 

Whynot

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So, HB, you too know how to do barel adjustment? Please, don't leave me in ignorance here. I don't know how to do this adjustment as I learned Photoshop by trial and errors, without books, and I get nervous everytime I need to read dirrections on the Help menue because I start at one point just to arrive at completely other topic, by way of digression, and not being able to trace my way back to continue my learning from where I left. Also true that if I didn't digress I'd still be left with white areas. Nither way is too hopeful. There is no substitute method for having someone smarter than I am showing me how to do it in the first place ;)
 

David Waldmann

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From the Help file in Paint Shop Pro:

Correcting Barrel Distortions
If your image has a barrel distortion, it looks pushed out at the center. Lines that should be straight are curved. You must correct lens distortions before cropping the image. For distortion corrections to work properly, the axis of the camera lens must coincide with the center of the image.

Important: This effect works on greyscale and 16 million color (24-bit) images only. To increase the color depth of an image, see Increasing the Color Depth of an Image.

To correct a barrel distortion:

Choose Adjust > Lens Correction > Barrel Distortion Correction.

Set the Strength of the correction. Adjust this value until the dis­tortion disappears. Look for lines in the image that are curved and adjust the Strength Value until they become straight. The image is resized as you adjust this value.

Preserve central scale Whether the scale of the center of the picture remains the same or is adjusted. If you mark this check box, pixels are either added to, or removed from the image. Clear this check box if you do not want to change the size of the image or layer.

Note: Notice the Result size group box. If the Preserve central scale check box is marked, the changes to the original image in the width and height display for the adjusted image.

Click OK.


All I did to find it was type "barrel" in the Search field of my Help file.
 

Jim Miller

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Originally posted by Whynot:
Jim, How do you correct the barrel effect?
David's explanation is good, but too darn technical for me -- I am, after all, a framer. I just click on the icon that says "barrel distortion correction" and marvel at what happens next. Every foray into Paint Shop Pro 9 is a great adventure for me.
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Baer Charlton

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I used to have some rather nasty barrel distortion; then I took it to a good gun smith who replaced the bent barrel and now I don't shoot anymore anyway and so I have not barrel distortion... just the mental thing. :D

You guys have been great with this thread. I have spent many hours with my foot up and iced as I adjust hundreds of great photos.

Point of Note: No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try... nothing is going to help the Mona Lisa. She is just flat blah.
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HB

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I use photoshop menu called Filter...Distort...Pinch or Spherize. Easy to use - just experiment. (I have verion CS or 8.0)

Usually for a more natural effect I increase the canvas size first by selecting
menu Image...Canvas size...increase 150% h & w, then I do the spherizing or pinching. Keep re-doing til it looks good.

Then I use the crop tool to crop just outside the image. Again if it doesn't look good, I undo & re-spherize.

After cropping,I r-click, select all, then free transform, then distort, then for each corner grab the corner & drag to the edge.

Hope that helps.
 

HB

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Baer

One might think they have barrel distortion on everything after looking in the wrong end of that barrel!
 
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