I'm (very) new to using Adobe Lightroom (CC) and have been using it today to add graphic watermarks to some photos.

Now, some of my source photos were taken with the camera held sideways, so the photo is rotated vertically.

Looking at the source JPGs, the image files (in Windows and many other applications) appears to be correct but with the orientation of the image being horizontal. In many applications, this quickly changes after a second or so, with the image thumbnail being rotated vertically as it should be. I'm guessing this is based on some metadata stored within the file, telling the software the correct orientation.

Now, loading these in Lightroom shows the thumbnails rotated correctly. However, when I Export the image from within Lightroom, with the intention of adding an overlayed Graphic Watermark, the output file is back to being rotated incorrectly.

I'm assuming the rotation metadata is being stripped on export? Even so however, I'd expect Lightroom to process the "correctly orientated" image when adding the watermark, and then exporting, resulting in the output image being rotated correctly and the watermark being in the correct position.

Am I missing something or doing something wrong here?

  • \$\begingroup\$ What have you chosen in the Export dialog under Metadata? \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    May 24, 2017 at 13:53

1 Answer 1


Either that or Lightroom is writing the images rotated in the correct orientation, but leaving the EXIF tags in place, causing software to rotate it wrong.

I would check what LR is writing using EXIFTool, and depending on what you see, look for options you can change in Lightroom to turn on or off exporting of whichever EXIF tags are at issue.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I've just had a look in EXIFTool and cant see any differences in the tags. i have however forgotten to mention one thing, some of my vertically orientated images were exported correctly while others were not. On the other hand, I dont think Lightroom is rotating it correctly rotating the image, but overwriting this by means of an incorrectly written EXIF tag, as the watermark is shown in the correct position, rotated correctly, over the exported (incorrectly rotated) image. \$\endgroup\$
    – Salem874
    Sep 27, 2016 at 8:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Browsing my images in Lightroom, It also seems as if those which exported with wrong orientation are showing rotated incorrectly in the "Develop" tab while those which xported correctly dispaly appropriately in Develop mode. Oddly, both images show fine in thumbnail view... (apologies for double post, these was to long to be included in my previous comment as an edit) \$\endgroup\$
    – Salem874
    Sep 27, 2016 at 8:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. That means the preview is out of sync with Lightroom's state of the world, so to speak. That happens every now and then. Rotate it a couple of times, and it should start working correctly. \$\endgroup\$
    – dgatwood
    Sep 27, 2016 at 17:49

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