How to use the Transform Panel in Lightroom

How to use the Transform Panel in Lightroom

How to use the Transform Panel in Lightroom by Meg Loeks
before
How to use the Transform Panel in Lightroom by Meg Loeks
after

Let’s face it, sometimes the lines in our photos aren’t perfectly straight.

Gasp!

It’s true but you’re in luck because there is an easy fix. Lightroom has a great feature for correcting lines, the Transform Panel.

The Transform Panel, located in Lightroom’s Develop Module after the Lens Correction Panel and before the Effects Panel, is a handy little tool that tends to get overlooked. It is great for fixing those distracting lens distortions that usually come when using a wide-angle lens.

With a few simple steps, your image can go from a little wonky to perfectly straight in just a few simple steps.

Below you’ll find a quick video showing you how I use the Transform Panel when straightening out lines and distortion. I’d also like to take a moment to clarify some options you’ll find in the  Transform Panel.

Within the Transform Panel, you will find five Upright options you can use. This is what the options do:

  • Auto: Fixes vertical and horizontal distortion.
  • Guided: Instead of just one guide, this allows you to create two or more.
  • Level: Fixes horizontal distortion.
  • Vertical: Fixes vertical distortion.
  • Full: Combines auto, level and vertical corrections.

Under the Upright options you’ll find seven sliders: Vertical, Horizontal, Rotate, Aspect, Scale, X Offset and Y Offset. Use the slider to manually adjust the perspective within your photo.

Sometimes correcting lines and distortion is a subtle fix like the example I’m using here and sometimes it’s a major fix. Whichever it is for you and your image, I guarantee it won’t be as difficult as you may originally think.

Read all previously published Lightroom tutorials.

This article was updated on October 23, 2017.

SPONSOR GIVEAWAY UPDATE!

The generous giveaway from AlbumExposure is now closed.

Congratulations to Krisanne who said, “Great tutorial – this is something I haven’t played with much in LR, so I’m happy to learn!!” on winning!

About the Author:

Meg Loeks lives just outside a small town in Michigan with her husband and three little boys. Meg is drawn to low light, color, environmental portraiture, minimalism, fine art photography and documenting everyday moments in a timeless way. Visit Megan Loeks online.
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39 Comments

  1. Rachel Jul 13 2012 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    I love albums because they preserve your pictures in beautiful and organized way 🙂

  2. jennifer Jul 13 2012 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Awesome tutorial thank you Monica!!!

  3. Kellie Jul 13 2012 at 4:44 pm - Reply

    That's pretty awesome how straight everything looks after editing. I'll definitely have to give this a try!

  4. Monica Jul 14 2012 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Thanks Monica for the tutorial. I certainly have some images that will benefit from this!

  5. Krisanne Jul 14 2012 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial – this is something I haven't played with much in LR, so I'm happy to learn!!

  6. Anita Martin Jul 14 2012 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    This is a great post! Thank you for sharing, I always forget to use this tool in LR and it is really helpful!

  7. Tonya Isbell Jul 14 2012 at 4:31 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial. I am thinking I may have to invest in LR even though I have PS. I see several things that I REALLY like about LR. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! 🙂

  8. angelamking Jul 14 2012 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    this is a great tutorial! i have lr and never knew about this. thanks!!!!!!!!

  9. Megan Jul 14 2012 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tutorial! I still have a lot to learn about Lightroom… 🙂

  10. Elizabeth Jul 14 2012 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Useful tops, definitely!

  11. Rebecca Jul 14 2012 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    Another fabulous thing to know about LR. Thank you Monica! I love albums…there is nothing like being able to hold those precious moments in your hands!

  12. ChristineBlaylock Jul 14 2012 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Love albums because they are beautiful.

  13. Kim Peterson Jul 14 2012 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this tutorial! … and I love photo Albums as a lasting way to preserve and share memories!

  14. Amii Jul 15 2012 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    Oh wow, love the difference this made! I've take a few architectural shots in the past just for fun and they were all kinds of warped and funky looking. Thanks for the great tutorial Monica!

  15. Ashley Spaulding Jul 15 2012 at 2:19 pm - Reply

    This is one of my favorite LR tools…I use it all the time! Thank you, Monica, for a great tutorial, and thank you, Album Exposure, for a wonderful giveaway!

  16. jodi Jul 15 2012 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    i can think of so many photos that could use this little trick. fabulous tutorial, monica! and thanks album exposure for the awesome giveaway!

  17. Amy Jul 15 2012 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this fabulous tutorial, Monica! I love seeing the before and after. Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Kristin Jul 15 2012 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Wow, what a difference!! Thanks, Monica! And what a great prize!! Thanks, Album Exposure!

  19. Sarah Phillips Jul 15 2012 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    I love how albums look but I hate making them! Would absolutely love to try Album Exposure!

  20. Melissa Koehler Jul 15 2012 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    What a great tip and cool giveaway!!

  21. Laura S Jul 15 2012 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    very cool, I never knew what that feature really did. thanks!

  22. Julie Jul 15 2012 at 10:52 pm - Reply

    Wow! That image looks so much better. Thank you for showing us how to do that!

  23. Megan Moore Jul 15 2012 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial, Monica! As someone who has a few albums to create this year, Album Exposure sounds awesome! 🙂

  24. Stacey Haslem Jul 16 2012 at 11:17 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Monica-I love seeing the side by side difference. Album Exposure sounds like an amazing tool. I love albums because its fun to see all the images in a nice neat package.

  25. Ayca Jul 16 2012 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    This was fantastic! Thanks for letting us sponsor such a great tutorial!

  26. Ayca Jul 16 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    Also, for those of you who are curious about trying AlbumExposure out, you are more than welcome to sign up for a free trial to see if you like us! https://albumexposure.com/register Good luck everyone! 🙂

  27. carol Jul 16 2012 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this LR information! The side-by-side really highlights the difference a minute or so of editing an make in a photo.

  28. Jenny Rpbertson Jul 16 2012 at 6:03 pm - Reply

    This is one of my very favorite tools in LR! I know your blog is on architecture – but I also LOVE to use the tool for my maternity clients to give them a little bit of that "department store mirror" effect when they're feeling a little more horizontal than vertical!

  29. Michelle Jul 16 2012 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for the tips!! I LOVE distortion at times, but there are times when it's no bueno!

  30. Natalie @MamaTrack Jul 16 2012 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    This looks awesome! I can't believe what a difference it made. Wow.

  31. Kim Jul 17 2012 at 7:29 am - Reply

    thanks so much for this post, I'm new to lightroom and love getting these quick tips!

  32. Debra Jul 17 2012 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Wow – I've been straightening with the crop tool but never realized I could fix perspective this way. Definitely bookmarking this tutorial!! Thanks for the great info and example, and thanks to AlbumExposure for the wonderful giveaway.

  33. Lisa Parnell Jul 18 2012 at 1:34 pm - Reply

    Helpful tips, thanks Monica. Would love to check out Album Exposure.

  34. Dana Foley Jul 18 2012 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial Monica! I loe the side by side comparison… what a difference!

    Love albums because they get my pictures off my hard drive, to somewhere others can enjoy them too!

  35. Lacey Jul 18 2012 at 2:09 pm - Reply

    I love that feature!

  36. Jaime P Jul 18 2012 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Honestly, I am not big on "wall photos", but I could have a million photoalbums! I love how they tell a story and are so easy to look back on for years and years. People tend to keep wall photos more up to date and have them replaced with recent photos on a more regular basis, but will keep an album out for years and open it up to look back on the pictures and the memories! I think albums are a timeless keepsake, where wall photos tend to have a "best before" date.

  37. Jennifer Beatty Jul 21 2012 at 1:21 am - Reply

    Wow, what a great tutorial, thank you!

  38. Jessica Entingh Jul 21 2012 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    Great tutorial – thanks! I've used lens correction in LR3 but not to this extent. It's great to see there's more than meets the eye to that tool – much like there is with every other LR & PS tool!

    Congrats to the winner of the giveaway 🙂

  39. erinkehl Jul 21 2012 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    Awesome! I have never used that in LR. Thanks for sharing, can't wait to try it on some of my shots.

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