"Straighten the horizon", they say

Apr 6, 2006
Colorado, USA
I shoot a fair amount of landscape scenes, but usually, around here, there usually aren't large bodies of water in them. But there is something I see quite often that I've wondered about as I look at other photos with water and the comments they recieve. There seems to be a common confusion in the mind of viewers between the shoreline and the horizon. They are not the same and quite often a shoreline may not be equidistant from the camera from end to end within a scene. Granted if the shoreline recedes into the distance from one side of the shot to the other it can appear that the shot is tilted, but it is not, relative to the horizon.

So what's the proper way to process these kinds of scenes? "Level" the shoreline? Ignore requests to tilt the shore unnaturally? Just not take the shot with a shoreline that recedes into the distance?

All of this I suppose can be chalked up to an unfortunate artifact of only having 2 dimensions to work with with a camera. So I've wondered, how should one handle the composition in these cases?
Mar 21, 2008
The Netherlands
If I know that the photo is level I don't change it unless the image "looks" wrong to me. When others point it out to me I'll take a look again and decide if I need to change it or not.

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