How to Rotate a Photo in Lightroom

how to rotate a photo in lightroom

Of all the potential issues that could distract from the quality of your work as a wedding photographer, a crooked or badly rotated image can be one of the most challenging to identify and correct. As a wedding photographer delivering images to clients, knowing how to rotate photo in Lightroom can be a valuable skill to have. Keep reading to learn how to rotate in Lightroom efficiently.

How to Rotate Photo in Lightroom

As specialists in editing wedding photos, we wanted to provide you with a guide on how to rotate a photo in Lightroom to correct these issues. The following tips will not only help you produce better quality images but can help reduce the time you spend in your post-wedding workflow.

Reasons to Rotate a Photo in Lightroom

Just like the reasons to crop a photo in Lightroom differ, several different circumstances can create the need or desire to rotate a photo. These can range from camera settings and effects that may distort the image to the physical factors of the surroundings that prevent you from getting the straight-on photo that you wanted. In some cases, Lightroom rotate image adjustments can add that special touch to the image.

  • Elements in the photo appear slightly tilted. Whether your subjects are standing on a sloping hill or the camera is unintentionally tilted at the wrong moment, photos can end up slightly off center. Even when the effect is subtle, it can distract from the overall quality of your photography work.
  • You want the final photo to be a mirror image of the original. In some cases, you may want to flip an image entirely, so that the left and right sides are switched. This is another situation in which you may want to use Lightroom to rotate your image.
  • You took the original photo at an angle. As a photographer, you are sometimes forced to take a photograph from an unusual angle in order to get the shot that you want. Maybe there is a particular object in the way, or you need the angle to fit in the full wedding party and the scenery within the frame.
  • You want to use an angle to create perspective. A photo that is artistically angled then cropped can add a new perspective to the image while demonstrating your unique skill as a wedding photographer. Angles can emphasize your subjects or create a dramatic, gallery-worthy look.

Ways to Rotate a Photo in Lightroom

The approach you choose when deciding how to rotate image in Lightroom will depend on how dramatically you want to turn your original image. The tools that Lightroom provides for this task vary from quick and dramatic rotations to more subtle, context-based tools to adjust your image. In general, taking time to use the software’s more precise tools will provide you with the best results for your wedding photos and your clients.

Rotating a Photo by 90 Degrees

This option is by far the most basic and least nuanced of the ways you can rotate a photo in Lightroom.

rotate photo lightroom 90 degrees

Image by Brian Hatton Photography

To find out how to rotate in Lightroom this way, move to in the Develop module, where you will select either Rotate Left or Rotate Right from the main photo options. This selection will rotate your image clockwise or counterclockwise from the photo’s center point.

Flipping a Photo to its Mirror Image

Another easy-to-complete option for rotating your clients’ wedding photos is to flip the original to its exact mirror.

lightroom flip photo

Image by Brian Hatton Photography

With this adjustment, the left and right portions of the image will switch sides. From the same photo menu as the rotating tools above, you will choose the Flip Horizontal option. This horizontal flip can be useful when you want subjects or elements within the photo to be on a specific side. Any text added in Lightroom to be displayed should be added after flipping or it will also have a mirror effect and will not be readable.

Straightening a Photo in Lightroom

For most of your needs, the above rotations will be far too coarse. In order to know how to rotate photo in Lightroom the correct way, you need to be able to straighten it using more refined tools.

rotate photo lightroom straightening

Image by Brian Hatton Photography

Within the Develop module of Lightroom, you will use crop and rotation in conjunction to compose a perfectly straight image. If needed, use the undo feature in Lightroom to start at the beginning and create the crop you desire for your photos.

The first step is to create crop boundary using the Crop Overlay tool. You will then drag the photo into the crop frame you created to reposition it within the crop space. From there, you can rotate the image so that its elements are straight in reference to the crop boundaries. As you move and rotate your photo, Lightroom’s grid of thirds and a finer grid will appear to help you fine-tune the alignment.


Jared Platt's Lightroom Tips

You can rotate photo in Lightroom using the Angle slider or the Rotate icon from the corners of the crop box. You can also rotate the image with Angle tool by dragging the photo on a horizontal or vertical line. In addition to these tools, you may also select the Constrain To Warp option to make sure that the crop frame stays in the photo area, which ensures that your image won’t be distorted.

As you work on perfecting the rotation of your photo in Lightroom, you can always reverse the edits by clicking on the Rest option in the Crop Overlay tool window. Once you are satisfied with the positioning and straightening of your image, click on the Crop Overlay tool to apply your changes. With some practice, you’ll start to develop a feel for how to rotate photo in Lightroom most effectively.

Whether you are correcting an issue with the original photo or using an angle to add visual interest to a special image, you will need to know how to rotate photo in Lightroom the correct way. The above guide is just the start of becoming an expert with straightening and rotation tools this powerful program offers. For more about editing in Lightroom, and what can be done to your wedding images, read through our comprehensive blog post.

It is also just the beginning of the value that we can offer you as a professional post-processing company specializing in wedding photography. From straightening out your best photos to helping you define and showcase your unique photography style, we can simplify your workflow and save you time and energy.

And on the topic of simplifying your workflow and saving time, access our Online Training: Advanced Lightroom Skillsets with expert Jared Platt to discover his insights and tips for creating a fast and efficient post-wedding workflow. Click on the banner below to watch the Online Training and learn more from the Lightroom Guru!

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