Creative Ideas for Tilting the Horizon in a Photograph

#12 in the Judging a Photograph series

Creative Ideas for Tilting the Horizon in a Photograph on Falcondale Life Blog. Sometimes our horizons are wonky by accident but what if you deliberately tilt your image to get an interesting new effect? Bolton Abbey..

One of the first things that you learn when you start to enter photo competitions is that a lot of people simply don’t notice a wonky horizon. However, the judge will notice straight away! It’s not an error anyone makes twice, I think. Landscape photographs commonly have a horizon in them, of course. Tilting the horizon when you shoot a photo is a mistake that is easily made. You may get teased for being drunk or having “left-hand dropsy”! We all do it, usually favouring one side or the other. However it’s important to straighten it up in post.

Learn a Rule Then Break It

As with all “rules” in art, it’s fun to try to find ways to break them. Tilting the horizon in an image can make a dull picture more interesting. It doesn’t generally work with portraits of people and animals. Wide, pastoral landscapes don’t usually look good on a tilt.

When Tilting Works and When it Doesn’t

Structures such as buildings which have strong lines in them are ideal for experimenting with a tilt. If you get a decent result, you may not have produce an amazing photograph, but you may make your album just a little more interesting. Perhaps your tilted image will be bit more appealing on your Instagram feed than a straight one would have been. Who knows? Experiment and see.

The best tip I can offer is to find a diagonal line and use it as a vertical or horizontal line. A strong line will make it clear what your intention is.

Three Examples

Creative Ideas for Tilting the Horizon in a Photograph on Falcondale Life Blog. Sometimes our horizons are wonky by accident but what if you deliberately tilt your image to get an interesting new effect? Ripon Cathedral.

Ripon Cathedral

This roof line on Ripon cathedral is pleasant but not very interesting, so I tilted it to see if it could be more striking. I think it improves it a little, but it’s not amazing.

Creative Ideas for Tilting the Horizon in a Photograph on Falcondale Life Blog. Sometimes our horizons are wonky by accident but what if you deliberately tilt your image to get an interesting new effect? Woodland.

In the above shot, these woods were green and nicely back-lit. As one tree was alone in the foreground of my image, I thought I had better make a feature of it. The tilt does achieve that.

Creative Ideas for Tilting the Horizon in a Photograph on Falcondale Life Blog. Sometimes our horizons are wonky by accident but what if you deliberately tilt your image to get an interesting new effect? Bolton Abbey.

Bolton Abbey

Lastly this shot of a window in Bolton Abbey is actually taken from a side angle to give the impression of a tilt. I pointed the camera sharply upwards. The base line of the window is now a diagonal, and diagonals are always a super, strong feature in an image.

Do you like any of these images? Please let me know your opinion in the comments.

Read the previous blog in the Judging a Photograph series here or read the next blog in the series by clicking here.

Read the Judging a Photograph series from the start by clicking here

Photalife

9 Comments

  1. 12th April 2017 / 1:24 pm

    Great tips

  2. 12th April 2017 / 10:30 am

    Ooh, super tips. Your blog is so useful! I like to experiment with angles, so it’s really good to understand a little more about it and how I can improve my photography!

    Kat x

  3. 11th April 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I really like the one of Bolton Abbey. Its very striking and works really well as a tilt. The left hand wall is vertically straight so you might not know it’s a tilt straight away. Great photo.

  4. 10th April 2017 / 10:53 pm

    The picture of Bolton Abbey is amazing. Looks great being tilted

  5. 10th April 2017 / 8:43 pm

    I’ve tried tilting with family photos as they are often manic and require an odd angle 🙂 Gives a great perspective to buildings and outside

  6. 10th April 2017 / 8:04 pm

    Fab captures! It is amazing what effect it can give just by tilting to an angle isn’t it? Love the tree snap and the Bolton Abbey one too 🙂

  7. 10th April 2017 / 10:01 am

    What a great tip. I would never have thought of tilting the angle for a horizon shot but I can see that they are really effective here. I really like the one from Bolton Abbey. I used to live just round the corner from there!

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