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Mastering the Art of Horizon Line: Tips for Instantly Better Photography

There are so many elements to good composition. From arranging the subject well to limiting distracting elements, composition really does impact how the viewer responds to your picture. But did you know that the horizon line also impacts composition? Here is our article on what the horizon line is in photography!

What is a Horizon Line? 

The horizon line in photography is the line where the sky separates from land or water. The horizon line tends to be the actual height of the viewer’s eyes when looking at an object, interior, or an exterior.

The Horizon Line and the Rule of Thirds

To explain the Rule of Thirds, we must first define composition. Composition is the relationship between the arrangement of all of the elements in your photograph. Basically, composition describes how your subject is placed in relation with everything else in the picture. 

The Rule of Thirds states that if you divide your photograph evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, the subject of the image needs to be placed at the intersection of the dividing lines. Any of the intersections! But it must be at an intersection. 

How does this pertain to horizon lines? Well, the rule states that the horizon line needs to sit on one of the horizontal lines!

How to Straighten Horizons 

Crooked horizons are a surefire way to make a viewer feel weird about your photograph! It’s definitely a sign of unprofessionalism. Even if you are shooting on a hill, where things get a bit more complicated, you can still find a distinct horizontal horizon line.

Most new DSLR and mirrorless cameras have a level built into them so you can see if you are holding your camera and lens level or not! You can access this by clicking either the “Info” button or the “Display” button on your camera, depending on brand. This changes the view of the LCD screen and a level should pop up. 

But fear not if you were unable to take a straight picture in the camera. You can use post processing and editing software to straighten your image out! You can do this by selecting the Crop Tool. Most editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom will have either a Rule of Thirds grid pop up immediately when the tool is selected or at least have a horizontal line run through your image that will help you straighten it out. 


In conclusion, be attentive to your horizon line- it can make or break your image! It’s okay if you didn’t get it straight from the camera, you can always use editing software to straighten it all out. 

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