Camera Raw: Leveling and Cropping

Camera Raw is a Photoshop plug-in that allows you to manipulate your raw image. A raw image is any image with little to no manipulation done to it. It is similar to the negatives of non-digital photograph. A raw image is about as close to what your camera actually saw and took as you can get, and the Camera Raw plug-in supports a variety of different raw formats. One of the features of this program is to correct issues with cropping and leveling.

Fixing Unlevel Photographs

Even if you use a tripod, sometimes your photographs are slightly unlevel with the horizon. This tilted look is effective if you planned on doing it. If not, then it just makes the photograph unattractive. While you can fix the tilt in Adobe Photoshop, it takes a lot of work to do that. Plus, you’ll ruin your raw image if you don’t save a copy. It’s also faster to correct this problem in Camera Raw. You can also quickly crop your photographs using the Crop tool, which is similar to the Marquee tool in Photoshop.

Correcting Your Photograph

Before you crop the photograph, you should fix the leveling problem. This is done using the Straighten tool. To use this tool, select and drag the tool along a line that is actually level. For example, the horizon is good to use since that’s what you want to match it up with anyway. Release the mouse and you’ll see a new frame.

This new frame appears, which shows how it would fix the horizon problem. It also crops your image to the largest size that it can without adversely affecting your photograph. You can, however, preview this data before you decide to make the changes.

Further Fixing Your Image

Once the Straighten tool does its works, you can then further enhance your photograph. For example, if you want to make the photograph larger or smaller, then you do this by dragging the marquee handles back and forth. You can also fix the proportions of the photograph the same way.

If the corners of your image look a little askew from fixing the horizon, then remove the border of your image. You can do this via the Crop tool. Simply select the tool and drag it across your image. Then, let your mouse go. The marquee will surround the section of the image that you selected. If you want to increase or decrease the size of the selection, use the marquee handles. You can also rotate your selection the same way. Just grab one of the side handles and move it either right or left.

Finally, you just press enter and your image is cropped. But, if you don’t want any of these changes to take effect, then select the tool that you were using, either the Straighten or Crop tool. Click outside of the marquee box. You’ll see that no part of your image is still selected.