The Importance of Straight Lines in Interior Photography

Since Brooke and I started this blog and Instagram account, I have taken a bunch of pictures of our house! And it’s been a continual learning process. One of the things I’ve learned is the importance of maintaining straight lines.

So what does this mean?

Basically, it means that any horizontal line in your shot, such as a counter top, should be horizontal. That is if you’re taking a straight on shot. And any vertical line, like the side of a cabinet, should be vertical. It is such a simple thing, but it makes a world of difference in your photos – especially with interior shots, where there are a lot of vertical and horizontal lines. If your lines are straight, your images will look more professional.

I used to not pay close enough attention to this. But now it’s one of the first things I look for when setting up a shot and while editing. In this post, I’m going to share a few tips that will help you do this.

Use the View Finder

The first thing you should do is turn on your view finder, and make sure the grid is turned on. This will help you make sure your lines are straight and aligned.

Level your Camera

Check that your camera is not leaning left or right. You can do this by making sure all of your tripod legs are extended the same amount. You can also use the level on your tripod, if it has one.

This might seem like an obvious one, but also make sure all of your tripod legs are sitting on the same flooring. In other words, make sure that one leg is not sitting on a rug, while the other two are on the hardwood. This will cause your tripod to be unlevel.

Horizontal Lines

Again, this only applies to straight on shots. If you’re taking an angled shot, any horizontal lines will be running away from you, which is normal. But if taking a straight on shot, you want those horizontal lines to be perfectly horizontal or your image will look crooked and unprofessional.

Make sure your camera is pointing perfectly perpendicular to the wall you are shooting. You can do this be rotating your camera left and right while watching the view finder. Find a horizontal line in your shot, such as a horizontal grille on a window or the edge of a counter top, and try to line it up with a horizontal line on your view finder grid.

Vertical Lines

Whether you are shooting a straight on shot or an angled shot, it’s important that all vertical lines are running straight up and down. Again, the view finder is your friend. While looking at it, tilt your camera up and down slightly while watching the view finder. Find a vertical line in your shot such as the left or right edge of a cabinet door, and try to line it up with one of the vertical grid lines.

Fix In Post

It’s always best to let the camera do as much work as possible, especially for your lines. But sometimes no matter how hard you try, you’ll notice while editing that your lines might still be slightly off.

If this happens, you can use your photo editing software to fix it.

The simplest way to do this in Photoshop is too drag a guide close to the line that is slightly leaning, either horizontal or vertical, and then rotate your image so that the line matches up with your guide. Once you do this, you will need to crop your image to get rid of any empty space you created near the corners.

You can also do this directly in Instagram by clicking Edit->Adjust, and then slightly rotating and watching the grid lines.

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  • Reply Angie

    Do you have a preferred camera that you would recommend?

    March 28, 2019 at 2:57 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Angie. We use a Cannon DSLR. Nikons are also very good. You can’t go wrong with either one.

      April 4, 2019 at 6:38 pm

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