#12 in the Judging a Photograph series
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.
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.
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.
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.
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