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How to Rotate, Flip, and Straighten an Image in Adobe Lightroom

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Photography involves tinkering with your images from time to time. Post-production editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom, is a great choice to play around with to create the best image possible.

By rotating, flipping or straightening an image, you can turn an ok image into something better. This is something you might want to do before playing around with adjustments such as exposure.

An aerial view of a beautiful beach

How to Rotate an Image in Lightroom

There are times when your camera doesn’t correctly present you with an image the right way up. This is especially the case when you use your phone is upside down manners to capture shots.

Recently, we were playing around in a swimming pool and wanted to make it look different through a perspective change.

The image was shot normally, yet we imagined that by simply rotating the shot, we could change the idea of the scene.

This is the original image.

A photo of a couple in a swimming pool

And this is the image rotated 90° degrees clockwise.

A couple in a swimming pool rotated 90° degrees clockwise

To rotate an image is very helpful. And luckily there are a few ways you can rotate an image both clockwise and anti-clockwise.

It’s handy to know which one is which. But after all, if you only know one, you just need to press it many times to return to the starting position.

Single Image – Right-Click

To rotate an image left (counter-clockwise) or right (clockwise) is very simple.

Select an image and Right-Click on it. You’ll see the Transform>Rotate Left/Right command.

a screenshot showing how to rotate an image in Lightroom

Single Image – Toolbar

The other way to rotate your image left or right is to use the toolbar at the top.

Select your image, head over to Photo>Rotate Left/Right. That’s all there is together.

a screenshot showing how to rotate an image in Lightroom

Single Image – Keyboard Shortcut

There is a faster way that only takes two presses of the keyboard.

If you press Ctrl + [, you can rotate the image counter-clockwise or left. Ctrl+], the image will rotate clockwise.


How to Rotate Multiple Images

Selecting multiple images to rotate is easy, yet ensuring they all rotate is a little tricky. Using the toolbar method will only rotate one image – the one that is selected from your complete selection.

This goes the same for the keyboard shortcut method too.

The only way you can rotate the images in one. Select the images and right-click on one as they sit in the preview area at the bottom.

a screenshot showing how to rotate multiple images in Lightroom

How to Flip an Image in Lightroom

Flipping an image is different from rotating an image. Here, you are turning the image into a mirrored version of its self.

Like many things in Adobe Lightroom, there are a few ways you can do this.

Single Image – Tool Bar

Select an image in the Library Module.

a screenshot showing how to flip an image in Lightroom

Go to Photo>Flip Horizontally or Photo>Flip Vertically. It’s as simple as that.

a screenshot showing how to flip an image in Lightroom

Single Image – Right Click

Make sure you’re in the single view mode in Library Mode. Select an image.

a screenshot showing how to flip an image in Lightroom

Right-click on the image, head down to Transform>Flip Horizontally or Photo>Flip Vertically.

How to Flip Multiple Images

The great thing about Lightroom is that you can select multiple files and ‘batch process‘ them. This means applying the same settings across hundreds, if not more images at a time.

To flip multiple images, first, select the ones you want. Then follow the Tool Bar method. You won’t see an option for Transform>Flip Horizontally when you Right-Click on them.

a screenshot showing how to flip multiple images in Lightroom

Straightening an Image

Although your camera or smartphone is pretty great at spotting and automatically rotating images, it might not be what you are after.

You might decide that the horizon isn’t exactly straight. Or, the image is better slightly tilted.

Rotating an image will move the image exactly 90° left or right. But what if you only want 10°? Then you’ll need a different tool.

In Lightroom, you need to head over to the Develop Module. There, you’ll find the Crop Overlay tool.

Within this feature, you are able to Crop and Straighten your image. You can then rotate the image with your mouse, or through the use of a slider.

a screenshot showing how to straighten an image in Lightroom


The Angle Slider inside the Crop Overlay area allows you to move 45° in either direction, clockwise or anti-clockwise.

Above the Angle Slider is an Auto button. Pressing this will rotate the image based on what Lightroom thinks is the straightest version.

a screenshot showing how to straighten an image in Lightroom

Using the Mouse

When the Crop Overlay tool is selected, a grid will place itself over the image. If you mouse-over the area between the tools and the image, your mouse will turn into a curved double arrow.

a screenshot showing how to straighten an image in Lightroom

Click and hold and move your mouse up and down to see how the image rotates. To know by how many degrees you are rotating the image, look at the slider for the correct number.

a screenshot showing how to straighten an image in Lightroom

Want More? Try Our Lightroom Processing Course

Do you know how to use Lightroom to bring out the details hidden inside your images?

Lightroom is a great program, but with countless sliders and tools… it’s hard to know how (and when) to use each of them.

That’s why we’ve created the most complete and up-to-date training on Lightroom.

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