Image by David Clapp
If you've ever photographed a tall building from below looking up, the chances are that you've experienced converging vertical in your photography. But what are they, and are they a good thing or a bad thing? The truth is they can be both. Find out why here.
What are converging verticals?
Converging verticals appear in photos when you photograph tall, square objects such as buildings at an angle looking up or down. When you point your camera upwards to fit the top of the building in the image, converging verticals occur as the lines of the building converge, or appear to get closer and closer together, the higher up the building you look. Converging verticals can appear more pronounced when using a wide angle lens.
What can I do to stop converging verticals occurring in my photos?
The simple answer is to hold your camera completely level when photographing buildings. Most cameras will have a built in spirit level to help you to achieve this. It may mean that you have to take your image from further away to fit the whole building in without tilting the camera. Other options include shooting from mid height, or correcting the effect in post production software.
Can converging verticals be a good thing?
Yes! They may be a nuisance when you want to have perfectly straight buildings, but converging verticals are an ideal tool to use when photographing something disappearing off into the distance. For example, in the above photo of a straight bridge, the converging lines of the bridge and the light trails of the traffic all converge to the same place, leading the eye through the frame to the centre of the image. Using multiple converging lines in a shot leading the eye to one central position often works well.