Converging Lines: A Drone Photographer’s Perspective

Our brains work in mysterious ways to adjust to what our eyes see. Our brains translate real-world images to us so that we see the world without visual distortion. We rarely notice an effect called converging lines when we see it in 3D with our own two eyes. But when we view the same scene in a flat two-dimensional photograph, any distortions and line angles are difficult for our brains to ignore.

We typically see lines of convergence from ground level. When we look up at a high rise building in a city, the building seems to get narrower as our eyes follow the building upwards. But in our brains, we inherently understand that the building is the same circumference on each floor. We rarely think about how the lines lean together as they slowly converge, way up high.

Our brains feel awkward when viewing perspective distortion that is unfamiliar

This effect also takes place when we are looking down on a building. However, our brains attempt to rebel against the downward lines of convergence because this is a perspective we are unfamiliar with. It can leave us feeling uneasy, unbalanced, or vertigo. Note the railroad tracks I used as an example. With lines converging at the bottom of the photo, we viewers are seeing and feeling something unusual.

From the perspective of a drone photographer with a camera up high, we typically see the converging lines opposite to someone standing at ground level. Thus, we may want to make these visual corrections in post-processing before showing our work to a client.

Note that the distortion leads outwards on opposite sides of the photo.
Adobe Lightroom fixing converging lines.
Guided Upright in the Transform Panel in Adobe Lightroom. Perfect for correcting undesired converging lines.

How do we correct this visual phenomenon? One of the best ways is to use Adobe Lightroom.

There is a tool rarely used in post-processing but is a hidden gem for aerial photographers. Once in Adobe Lightroom, you will find it in the Transform Panel. It is called Guided Upright. (By the difficult name of the tool, it is not surprising that it is virtually unknown.)  Take a look at the next example and notice how the Guided Upright tool was able to square up the building. Here is a quick video tutorial by Adobe Evangelist Julieanne Kost about how to use this awesome tool

Before Guided Upright correction.
The corrected version is now straight and square.

Another example:

Do you know somebody who is getting a drone for Christmas? DJI Aerial Photo Academy will save your loved one from months of frustration. Within days, your new drone pilot will capture and post astounding professional-quality images. We promise!

This gift certificate offer will save you $125 on our best-selling class until Christmas Day. A beautiful stocking-stuffer certificate will be sent your way! Imagine 51% off of the normal price for our complete online Premium Masterclass –this is six full hours of bite-sized lessons with bonus downloads. 

Thank you Santa! 😉🌲

Authors Randy Jay Braun and Stacy Garlington are co-founders of the DJI Aerial Photo Academy, providing live city-to-city workshops helping attendees to create better aerial drone photographs for work or for play. A current workshop schedule can be found at www.djiphotoacademy.com and on their facebook page.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face classes are currently very limited to small groups. They hope to resume full-sized classes in Q2 of 2021.

A book about Aerial Drone Photography? Yep. These two have energy! Randy and Stacy have just laid down the outline. There will be a nicely discounted price for every person on the MailChimp list. Chaaa-ching $$$$$. 

Until then, HECK YEAH, Randy & Stacy are teaching the same course (and more) to you as you sit in your LazyBoy chair at home. This is a bargain because you get a full six hours of bite-sized lessons that you can digest whenever you want. Take a look at our online Premium Masterclass.

Download our personal pre-flight checklists for:

•Mavic 2 Series
•Mavic Pro & Platinum
• Phantom 4 Series
•Mavic Air Series

Randy & Stacy are DJI’s only officially authorized aerial photography instructors worldwide.

Top Blog Posts