Lightroom Lens Correction Tutorial

Posted in Tutorials.

The upgraded Lightroom Lens Correction is the feature I was most pumped to use when I upgraded to Creative Cloud. It is the best “gotta’ have” feature since Adobe introduced “Content aware fill”. Yes… It is THAT awesome. I am running Lightroom 5.6 at the time of writing this post.
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I’ve highlighted 2 main groups in the lens correction module. I’ve set Lightroom to enable and apply the first section (red) as the images are imported.  As you can see from the screenshot I have enabled all three. Let’s go over what each option does!

  • Enable Profile Corrections – This option allows Lightroom to look at your image and analyze what lens you used to take the shot. It then looks at it’s known database and corrects the image as per Adobe’s algorithm for lens correction.
  • Remove Chromatic Aberration – This is a “halo” effect that can show up in images. Some lenses are known to have a lot of chromatic aberration. This option when checked allows Lightroom to remove the halo.
  • Constrain Crop – This is going to mostly be helpful when we start actually applying the lens correction to the image. After you apply the correction sometimes there is going to be a black area. Constrain Crop will automatically crop your image so that the blank space doesn’t show up.

 

NOTE – Adobe also says that we should enable these options. Enabling Profile Correction and Remove Chromatic Aberration will allow the upright feature to perform a better calculation of the image! Under the “Basic” tab there is 5 different options that can help you easily fix your image.

I’ve listed these items in order. The least drastic options are “AUTO” or “Level”. The most drastic is option is “Full”.

  • OFF – This will remove any option you’ve applied and is the default settings for all freshly imported images.
  • Auto – This tends to be my go to option for almost everything. It tends to do a pretty good job on most landscape shots. It’s also a bit conservative with how much it distorts the original image.
  • Level – This option allows you to level the picture Horizontally. This tends to work best with Horizontal images with a fairly well defined horizon.
  • Vertical – This option really helps to get rid of keystoning in images. “Keystone distortion” is what happens when you point a camera upwards at a vertical surface with the top of the sensor tilted away from the building. The reason it’s called Keystoning is the resemblance of a rectangle to the stone at the top of an arch.
  • Full – This option is the most drastic of all the modes. It tries to do a FULL 3D calculation of the image. This works great when the image is pretty basic and doesn’t have any living subjects in the picture.

 

NOTE – I tend to use Auto and Vertical the most. “Level” would be a distant 3rd. For best results use Lens Correction on RAW files. If you can’t use it on RAW files make sure the file has embedded info for things like the aperture, camera and lenses for better results.

Let’s look at an example. Here’s part of a picture from a house. Look at the vertical lines. I drew a perfectly vertical line and then I traced the edge of the house. That’s a lot of distortion going on!

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With the top 3 options enabled let’s click on “Vertical” and see what Lightroom can do for us!

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Look at the corner of the house. The line has been perfectly corrected. Look at the windows as well! Isn’t that amazing?!?!

Advanced Techniques

Sometimes you might have a picture with a person or an animal in it. Using the lens correction might make them look short and stubby or tall and thin. To manually correct the algorithm you will have to use the new “Aspect Ratio” slider which is found under the “Manual” tab. Moving the slider to the left will make the objects shorter and wider. Moving the slider to the right will make them taller and thinner.

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One option that I don’t see many people use in Lightroom is a feature called “Loop Overlay”. Loop Overlay allows you to overlay your picture with something like Guides or a Grid. I typically use a grid. This allows me to easily compare my verticals and make sure that the lens correction did a good job.

The first time you use overlay you need to tell Lightroom what you want to display in the overlay. Once you do that you can easily control the overlay with quick key strokes. To enable the Grid Overlay follow these steps:

ViewLoupe OverlayGrid

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Once enabled there are a few key strokes you should know…

CTRL+ALT+ o – Turns Overlay on and off very quickly.

Once enabled you can control the size and opacity of the overlay by hitting “CTRL” and then using your mouse adjust the settings on your screen.

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