advanced photoshop

How to correct lens flaws in Photoshop CS5

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by The Advanced Photoshop Team

In this tutorial we look at how to correct a number of common photographic lens flaws using the controls in Photoshop CS5

Many photos could benefit from some time spent in Photoshop and with Photoshop CS5 you can guarantee that it will be time well spent. One of Photoshop CS5’s upgraded features is the Lens Correction filter. This feature has comprehensive manual controls that enable you to be a lot more precise when editing your images, which makes Photoshop the image-editing program of choice when you are looking to correct lens imperfections.

It has options for correcting three of the most common lens flaws: geometric distortion, chromatic aberration and vignetting. To open the filter’s dialog box first make sure your image is in RGB format and go to Filter>Lens Correction.

Another reason for picking Photoshop to correct your lens flaws is the fact you can select the exact camera model and lens type from an exceptionally long list displayed on the right of the dialog window. If your lens is not visible on the list, you can create your own custom lens profile by downloading the free Lens Profile Creator software from Being able to select the exact lens means greater editing control and the Lens Correction filter automatically fixes some of the lens flaws.

The controls are very easy to master and, with a little patience to learn how each setting works, your photos will never be in need of lengthy repair sessions again.

Step 1: Auto correction

Step 1

This updated feature has an auto-correct facility, so if your image has only slight flaws this is the editing panel for you. On the right there are two tabs – make sure you are on Auto Correction. This feature works by letting you select the exact camera and lens settings so Photoshop can then automatically fix the problem.

Step 2: Auto fixed

Step 2

Open up an image with vingetting issues. The correct camera make will be identified (see bottom of dialog box); just select the model and lens as shown in the screenshot. Once these options have been selected, check the Geometric Distortion and Vignette boxes on the right and watch Photoshop rid the photo of these flaws.

Step 3: Custom options

Step 3

The Auto Correction options work best on small flaws; use the Custom panel to fix trickier issues. In this panel all possible lens problems can be sorted out quickly and simply by the sliders. Open up an affected image in the Lens Correction filter and bring up the Custom tab.

Step 4: Transform the perspective

Step 4

To correct this image we need to use the Vertical Perspective slider. This image is a dramatic example of distortion so we’ll need to move the slider nearly all the way to the left. A lot of the image has been cropped at the top so move the Scale slider until it’s all visible again.

Step 5: Keep an eye on your progress

Step 5

Keep switching the Preview box at the bottom of the panel on and off to see your progress. When happy with the new perspective hit OK, select the Crop tool and get rid of the checkerboard. If your image needs any more improvements, open again in the filter and tweak.

Step 6: Geometric distortion

Step 6

To manually remove geometric distortion (bloating/pinching) from photos, go to the Custom panel and work with the top slider. There are small icons on the end of the slider bar to show you which way to move the slider to solve your problems.

Step 7: Scale slider

Step 7

Remember when working to use the Scale slider at the base of the main slider bar so you can see your improvements. When making corrections in Photoshop, more often than not, less is more. The most subtle changes look more natural and can make the biggest difference.

Step 8: More tweaks

Step 8

When you have an image open to correct one flaw, why not try out the other sliders to see if you can make any other improvements at the same time? For instance, subtle vignette or bloating may be present in an image, but you just haven’t noticed it until this point. This ensures that you don’t forget to make tweaks at a later stage, as well as saving you a lot of time if you’re working to a deadline or on a large amount of photos.

Step 9: Add elements for a change

Step 9

Using the Lens Correction filter to remove flaws is one thing, but why not use the feature to add elements into your photos? Adding a subtle vignette can transform an image.

Step 10: Add some depth

Step 10

A series of comprehensive and well-labelled sliders make life very easy when using this feature on your photos, by telling you which way to move them to gain the desired results. You can pull the marker towards the darken end if you would like to boost the depth or use the Midpoint slider to define the size of the vignette.