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To level your photos or not

FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk
Thread started 06 Feb 2012 (Monday) 12:39   
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groovehouse
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Can I get some feedback on an issue that I'm struggling with?

Personally, I feel that if you are shooting sports and you can see the baseline, horizon or a fence along the back of the field, you should try to level your shot a little. I mean maybe having the image cranked 20-45 degrees adds an "arty" look (dutch angle) but seriously, sometimes, to me, it's just sloppy.

Am I being too critical? I don't see crazy angles in the shots I see in my local paper or in sports magazines or websites.

What do you think?

For an example of what I'm talking about...

See this slideshow with crooked angles:
http://www.houstonpres​s.com ...at-suns-99-81-36079147/#4external link

Then check out my slideshow:
http://www.houstonpres​s.com ...kets-vs-nola-35971391/#25external link

I feel that about 98% of my shots are level, certainly one or two might get away from me in post processing, but I try my hardest to make sure my shots are level. Once again, am I too critical? Does it even matter?

Post #1, Feb 06, 2012 12:39:54


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FlyingPhotog
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Being keystoned to sidelines, baselines, foul lines, etc. means they can't always be "level" but verticals should always be vertical!

Post #2, Feb 06, 2012 12:42:23


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joedlh
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I agree with you: they should be level. However, it's clear that not all photographers hold this line. I often see crooked pictures in the NY Times, which bills itself as "the paper of record". Is it possible that straightening an image violates a basic tenet against photo-manipulation for journalistic use?

Post #3, Feb 06, 2012 12:43:44


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groovehouse
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joedlh wrote in post #13835226external link
Is it possible that straightening an image violates a basic tenet against photo-manipulation for journalistic use?

That's a good question. Does it? I don't feel it does. I agree that changing the angle of the shot is "manipulating the photo" but I don't feel that it's the same as photoshopping in a ball or player or even erasing something in the image. I think leveling a shot should not fall in that category. But I don't know. I wonder what a professional photo editor thinks?

Post #4, Feb 06, 2012 12:50:32


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dankopp
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There is currently a contentious debate going on at SportsShooter.com about modifying photos. Cropping and color correction seem to be universally allowed. I would think leveling is the same as cropping.

Post #5, Feb 06, 2012 13:15:18




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MT ­ Stringer
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I would think leveling is the same as cropping.

In Lightroom, the straighten tool is in affect when you have the crop tool activated. So, I say it is OK. I hope so because I have a hard time keeping the camera perfectly level when it is on the monopod.

Post #6, Feb 06, 2012 13:26:46


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J.Napier
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Leveling is just like cropping and should be done always IMO in a sports shot,as well as exposer and color correction if its needed.I find myself straitening my other types of work too somtimes to much probebly.

Post #7, Feb 06, 2012 14:05:17


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bpalermini
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I always level my shots. I can't stand the slanted ones and I've never liked portraits, etc that are at a diagonal.

Post #8, Feb 06, 2012 14:28:28 as a reply to J.Napier's post 23 minutes earlier.


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Hannya
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Hi. Wonky horizons smack of amateur shots as do incorrectly cropped shots. If youre wiring images to the press you are under pressure to get that right in camera but if you can do it in pp then i think its part of you job to present your pics well

Post #9, Feb 09, 2012 03:27:25


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john5189
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There is nothing cheating about levelling a shot with PP software.
In the days of the darkroom the shot would have been levelled a the printing stage.
That was never considered cheating. As also dodge and burn under the enlarger was not considered cheating.
There is nothing wrong with the endeavour to try and take the perfect shoot . Though you are manipulating everything around the camera (lights and reflectors everywhere) .

Post #10, Feb 09, 2012 04:09:01


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Drewc2010
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I agree 100% for leveling your shots. For me I shoot NHL, the Hurricanes in particular, and I can't tell you how much it bugs me that the AP guys and Getty guys don't care about their horizons, when that is one of the main things I look for with my pictures...it shouldn't look like your player is running/skating/jumpin​g up or down hill at all, it's just not naturally what the people there were seeing and thats what sports shooting is all about.

Post #11, Feb 09, 2012 14:14:43


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geoff5093
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I always level my sport shots, there are only certain circumstances where I feel that a slightly tilted photo can work.

Post #12, Feb 09, 2012 18:36:42


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groovehouse
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Hannya wrote in post #13854158external link
Hi. Wonky horizons smack of amateur shots as do incorrectly cropped shots. If youre wiring images to the press you are under pressure to get that right in camera but if you can do it in pp then i think its part of you job to present your pics well

I agree wholeheartedly.

Drewc2010 wrote in post #13856889external link
I agree 100% for leveling your shots. For me I shoot NHL, the Hurricanes in particular, and I can't tell you how much it bugs me that the AP guys and Getty guys don't care about their horizons, when that is one of the main things I look for with my pictures...it shouldn't look like your player is running/skating/jumpin​g up or down hill at all, it's just not naturally what the people there were seeing and thats what sports shooting is all about.

I couldn't agree more... I like to call them "earthquake shots" -- "What, did we have an earthquake during that shot?" I don't think so...

Post #13, Feb 10, 2012 11:36:05


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Drewc2010
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groovehouse wrote in post #13862632external link
I couldn't agree more... I like to call them "earthquake shots" -- "What, did we have an earthquake during that shot?" I don't think so...

Thats usually the excuse I like to use haha the only photo's I don't level are the ones that when I level it, I will cut out something important in the photo such as part of a player or the puck or stick...etc

Post #14, Feb 10, 2012 12:54:26


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13inches
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I like to slant my photos about 13-22 degrees. It gives them a hip, modern look.


Of course, I'm kidding

(or am I?)

Post #15, Feb 10, 2012 14:31:27


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