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How To Ensure Your Horizons Are Straight

Here's a quick guide to keeping horizons horizontal every time.

|  Digital Cameras
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Wonky horizons are the bane of many landscape and cityscape photographers as a horizon that's slightly off-tilt can spoil what's otherwise a perfectly good shot. Of course, there will be times when holding your camera at an angle so the horizon line is deliberately not straight but if you do want to do this, make sure it's really obviously on a tilt otherwise, it'll just look like you forgot to check your frame before hitting the shutter button.
How to straighten horizons 
Spirit LevelThe easiest way to ensure you have horizontal horizons is to line it up with the bottom or top of your frame, either in your viewfinder or on the LCD screen. Some cameras also have a digital spirit level feature which will indicate to you when the camera is level  - both on the horizontal and vertical planes. It can be displayed in the viewfinder or on the back monitor when using Live View, along with all your other settings. When the marker is in the middle of the gauge and turns green, you know you're level.
If you don't have a digital spirit level, have a look in your camera's menu options to see if there's a rule of thirds grid. We know this isn't designed for this purpose but the grid will have horizontal lines on it that can be a handy guide when you're looking for a quick way to check the horizon. 
Another option is to purchase a spirit level that sits on your camera's hotshoe and to use a tripod as you're more likely to move / not hold the camera straight when you shooting hand-held. 
Of course, you can always straighten your images in whatever editing software you use as well but it's good practise to get it right in-camera whenever possible.

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jasonrwl Plus
9 1.1k 10 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2015 9:24PM

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jasonrwl Plus
9 1.1k 10 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2015 9:25PM
jasonrwl Plus
9 1.1k 10 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2015 9:28PM

JackAllTog Plus
10 5.6k 58 United Kingdom
26 Apr 2019 6:25AM
Also some wider angle lenses can add barrel distortion, correct for that with software if you can.

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