Keeping Your Camera Level

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I'm sure you've seen photographs on the internet where the horizon is just a little bit off.  The camera was just a little bit crooked, so the horizon slopes to the left or to the right.  Now let me be clear--there's no absolute rule that says the horizon has to be straight.  There are good reasons why you may choose to take a landscape photo at an odd angle.  But if you do, it should be clear that this was intentional on your part.  A slightly tilted horizon simply looks a little strange.  Now, if you happen to have photos with a tilted horizon, you can fix it easily in just about any imaging software program.  You can even do it after posting your image online with many sites.  However, I still believe you're better off shooting the picture horizontal the way you want it--that way you don't have to crop the edges of your image to get the horizon straight.

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Now your camera can be level in two directions:
  1. Left to Right.  This direction is the most important.  This is the direction that will make sure that your horizon looks straight.
  2. Front to Back.  This direction is much less important, but it can still be helpful in some situations.  In particular, if you are shooting with a wide angle lens and would like to minimize distortions, keeping your camera level can often help.
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So here are three ways you can make sure your camera is level before you take your picture:
  1. Some cameras have a built-in level that you can activate to adjust your camera just right.  This is simple and easy, and I highly recommend using this feature if you have it.
  2. Some tripod heads have a level on the plane where the camera mounts onto the ball head.  You can use this to make sure your camera is level.
  3. You can buy a plastic level that will fit into the flash mount of your camera.  This is a cheap, easy solution that's worth a few bucks.


  1. Just learning how important being "level headed" is! Once again, thanks for the mini lesson!


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