When I take a seascape photo by hand, I often find that I had the camera angled ever so slightly. If the picture wasn't meant to have such a perfect horizontal line (the horizon), then it wouldn't be noticeable, but I end up needing to rotate the image by a degree or two in Photoshop.

Most often, this is the only tweak that I need to do in PS, and the other tweaking that I might want to do (cropping, adjust exposure, or apply a gradient filter) I can do in Lightroom. It would be great if I could do the rotation in LR as well, since opening the image in PS takes a bit of time.

I know how to rotate an image by 90 degrees in either direction in Lightroom, but is it possible to rotate by an arbitrary angle?

6 Answers 6


Yes, you can straighten an image using the crop or straighten tool.

You can read about the available methods here: Crop and straighten a photo


In addition to the other answers, here's a Lightroom rotation tip: after you've selected the copy/straighten tool, click on the image of a bubble level. You can then drag a straight line on the photo and Lightroom will use that line to determine what is horizontal/vertical. This works well if there's a known horizontal/vertical line such as a horizon, table, building, etc.

  • This sounds interesting; where is the bubble-level tool?
    – pkaeding
    Dec 7, 2010 at 15:15
  • 1
    it's in the crop and straighten tools: img.skitch.com/20101207-jc4i98q76mary2jg24skpdpyuu.jpg
    – cabbey
    Dec 7, 2010 at 20:43
  • You can also hold down the Ctrl key on Windows, and I assume the equivalent on Mac, after selecting the crop tool and it will change to the bubble-level. Feb 20, 2014 at 0:48

Under Develop tab. Go to the crop function. Near the right and left side handles for cropping, if you mouse near it, you get a rotation option, you can just drag to rotate from here.


In the Develop module, under "Lens Corrections", one of the options is to rotate -- hovering over it will overlay a grid and allow you to assess how straight (or not) your image is -- you can also select a "Constrain Crop" which will do the minimum crop without going "over the edges".

You can also carry out some basic perspective corrections here, if you choose, which can straighten converging verticals on buildings, for example.


The quickest way is to press the R key on the keyboard, and then either click the ruler icon next to the left of word "Angle" in the upper right corder and draw a line on the image, or drag the slider to the right of the word "Angle".

The R shortcut key activates the crop function in the Develop module regardless of which module you're in. Since the angle function doesn't have its own hotkey, the R hotkey for crop mode is the quickest way to access it.


Now with Lightroom 5 you can do it automatically in lens correction

  • This is a helpful comment (for the case where leveling the horizon is the goal) but doesn't necessarily cover all cases where an arbitrary rotation might be desired.
    – mattdm
    Dec 17, 2014 at 17:48

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