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Straightening Crooked Photos

If you hand-held your camera for most of your shots rather than using a tripod, you can be sure that some of your photos are going to come out a bit crooked. Here's a quick way to straighten them accurately in just a few short steps:

Step One

Open the photo that needs straightening. Choose the Ruler tool from Photoshop's Toolbox (it looks like a little ruler, and it's hidden behind the Eyedropper tool, so just click-and-hold for a moment on the Eyedropper tool until the Ruler tool appears in the flyout menu).

Step Two

Try to find something in your photo that you think is supposed to be straight or relatively straight (the tops of the ridge on the right, in this example). Click-and-drag the Ruler tool horizontally along this straight edge in your photo, starting from the left and extending to the right. As soon as you drag the tool, you can see the angle of the line displayed in the Info palette (found under the Window menu) and up in the Options Bar, but you can ignore them both because Photoshop is already taking note of the angle and placing that info where you'll need it in the next step.

Step Three

Go under the Image menu, under Rotate Canvas, choose Arbitrary, and the Rotate Canvas dialog will appear. Photoshop has already entered the proper angle of rotation you'll need to straighten the image (based on your measurement), and it even sets whether the image should be rotated clockwise or counterclockwise.

Step Four

All you have to do now is click OK, and your photo will be perfectly straightened (check out the ridge in the photo shown here—it's now nice and straight).

Step Five

After the image is straightened, you might have to re-crop it to remove the extra white canvas space showing around the corners of your photo, so press C to switch to the Crop tool, drag out a cropping border, and press the Return (PC: Enter) key.

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