Barrel Distortion

Barrel distortion is what you call what happens when straight lines aren't so straight anymore. Here's a simple shot of my kitchen window in which there are several problems right up front, including various sources of colors of light, the fact that the sun is shining brightly outside while inside it's dark, and I'm standing to one side of the window shooting with a wide angle lens. Notice that the window just looks 'off'. It's not rectangular. In Photoshop Elements when you open the 'filters' drop down it says 'Correct Camera Distortion'. That's what we're going to use here. You'll find some variation of this correction on most software. In Elements it gives a series of sliders and dials (that are entirely too stinking touchy, by the way) that you pretty much play with until you think it looks better. Better because it probably won't be perfect when you're done, but it will be better. People see what they think they see, so they probably won't notice the small distortions left. At least most people won't. I only adjusted my photo by -6% vertically and +4% horizontally, and then changed the angle from 0 degrees to 360 degrees to tip it just a little to try and cope with the distortion at the right hand lower corner. They were relatively small adjustments, but made a difference. I also chose to go black and white by using the hue and saturation layer and desaturating the photo myself instead of using gray scale. If you notice there's still a little cyan in there, so it's not quite black and white, but more of a duotone. Desaturating your photos yourself rather than just punching 'monochrome' or 'grayscale' makes for a nicer photo, and you can really change it by changing what colors you desaturate. What could I have done to prevent this in the first place? Use a different lens. I used a wide angle rather than a zoom of 80mm or more to flatten the shot. I could have also stood right in front of the window instead of to one side, and then any distortion would have been easier to correct, even with a wide angle, because the picture would have been balanced. Think first. Then snap. 🙂
A little straighter
BTW, nice valance, huh? 🙂