Main Question: Can you revert back to the original orientation of a photo in Lightroom?
I've had Lightroom for a while but I didn't use it that much in the last year. I'm trying to get back into it.
I just imported some photos I took recently, in this case I was taking photos of a jigsaw puzzle using a tripod so I could take photos overhead. The arm on the tripod can be turned horizontally.
Diving straight into taking photos resulted in all of them being upside down when viewed on the PC. In the Lightroom Library module you can use the options Rotate Left (CCW) or Rotate Right (CW) or rotate a photo. If you use the grid view you can rotate multiple photos at once.
If I don't close Lightroom I can use the Undo command to revert back to the original orientation of the photo.
But what if Lightroom has been closed. In that case I can't see a way to get back to how the photos were original imported.
Have I missed something somewhere or am I focusing too much on a rather trivial point? Being a bit of a computer geek is maybe making me too into this too much but I thought I might as well ask :)
These are the areas I've looked at:
- Develop doesn't seem to be able to fully rotate the photo.
- If it could then it has the history feature
- Metadata doesn't seem to contain the information
- I used Jeffrey’s “Metadata-Viewer Preset Editor” Lightroom Plugin to look at all available values
- Removing a photo from a catalog and adding it again does work but is not a great solution
- This means you lose anything else on the photo like keywords
Here's some information about what I'm using:
- Lightroom 5.7.1
- Nikon D5100 with 18-105 kit lens
- Windows 8.1
- Photos imported into Lightroom as Nikon .NEF files
- Lightroom saves sidecar .XMP files
I added some info to the list above.
Super Coco reminded me that the orientation of a photo is stored in the EXIF data. For some reason Adobe decided not to make that available in Lightroom. I used Jeffrey’s “Metadata Viewer” Lightroom Plugin to view the data. That only works for one photo at a time so I looked at the Phil Harvey's amazing ExifTool library using the Windows binary version.
With ExifTool I was able to export the orientation EXIF data for all the photo I took that day. I got these different values:
- Horizontal (normal) (4)
- Rotate 90 CW (3)
- Rotate 270 CW (24)
After the name is the number of the 31 photos I took for each orientation. I saved the data to a CSV file, rotated an image in Lightroom and closed it, saved the data again. The exported data was identical so it looks like that is the original data.
I next tried a new test which was to export the metadata from Lightroom before and after rotating a photo. This time I found a difference which is the tiff:Orientation attribute of the XMP file. You can modify the data in the XMP files and Lightroom can read in the new settings.
I've tried taking some new photos with the camera in various orientations and with the Nikon 'Auto image rotation' settings ON and OFF.
Basically the camera can give the correct orientation if your camera is horizontal or rotated left or right. I found a webpage Derotating JPEGs with exiftool that gives a possible good position reason for the orientation sensor not working at other angles:
So far, so good. The photos of Dr. Doom appeared on my computer with the correct orientation because my computer looked at the Orientation field of the EXIF data and rotated the image accordingly.
Unfortunately, I happen to take a lot of photographs looking down, with the camera’s image sensor in a nearly horizontal plane. In this position, the orientation device—which presumably uses gravity to figure out which way is up—doesn’t have much to go on, and the value of the Orientation field is kind of a crapshoot. I think it reports the orientation the camera was in just before I pointed it down to take the picture. And that could be any orientation, because I never think about how I’m holding the camera before I’m ready to shoot.
That page is about JPEG and lossy or lossless rotation but I think the key point about the camera facing down is valid when using RAW. I've not tested the idea that it's the last valid orientation that's recorded. On my D5100 it seems to always record 1 (normal horizontal) for any different orientation.