Architectural Photography and the Uncanny Valley

In the field of robotics there's an idea called the Uncanny Valley. The idea is that people prefer robots that look more like humans, but only to a point. Once they resemble humans very closely, but not exactly, they start to freak people out.
In architectural photography, this feels somewhat analogous to the situation with straightening verticals (keystone correction). When people view images that aren't corrected, they intuitively know that the home looks funny. In most cases they don't even know why, but they can sense it.
Once the image is corrected, though, it suddenly feels much better.
Back before computers, you needed a tilt-shift lens setup to correctly do architectural photography. Nowadays, about 30 seconds in Photoshop is all that's needed.
I have posted a tutorial page on keystone correction in our resources section. I encourage everyone to learn this technique and use it to improve your quality and expand your business with this value-added post-production service.
Update: I've recently found some free software called ShiftN that automatically straighten verticals in your images, and even has a batch mode.
Enjoy!
Alan

Views: 216

Tags: image quality, post-production

Comment by RL Caron on November 16, 2010 at 9:25pm
Yes, you can often make do without a T-S lens and 'fix' it in Photoshop or Lightroom 3 -- but if you own this luxury, you can have both corrected verticals AND get most of that driveway OUT of the frame in the RAW capture. This one example will not suffer by being corrected entirely in post, but a T-S lens will, in closer shots, nail you a frame that you cannot get in any other way. Some architects will not even consider a photographer who does not own a perspective correction lens. My Canon 17mm T-S has paid for itself many times over simply because I am seen as a photographer serious about that genre of photography.
Comment by Alan Pinstein on November 16, 2010 at 10:08pm
Thanks for the comment. I think you're the first RE photographer I've come across to own a TS lens! I would love it if you could post some example TS images to your profile.

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