A primary requirement of stock photographs is to convey a clear concept. To achieve this, good stock photos don’t have any elements that are distracting.
A crooked horizon line immediately draws the eye and will unhinge an otherwise great image.
Even the best of us take images with the horizon a few degrees off of level. In the example below, I was holding the camera at arm’s length above my head to accentuate the steepness of the ridge and couldn’t look through the view-finder.
So I corrected it in Lightroom and ended up with this:
There is a place for artistically crooked horizons in stock photography, but these are usually done more obviously than I’ve done here.
The good news is that Lightroom makes it really simple to straighten a photo. It’s part of the Crop Tool and you only need to click and drag to the angle desired.
Grid lines even pop up to help. It literally takes just seconds and should be done on every image where the horizon prominently features.
Time to fix: 10 seconds