Rotating Images

This page describes a common issue of image rotation and suggests how to make sure your images show up in the correct orientation in a Symbiota portal.

Specimen images are often taken with the camera oriented at a 90° angle, which produces a specimen image that is rotated sideways. To ensure images are in the correct orientation in a Symbiota portal, you must ensure that the image has been rotated using a program that actually rotates the image data rather than just adding a EXIF metadata orientation tag (which is how most cameras and file explorers rotate images).

Adjusting the camera settings to define the correct orientation, or batch rotating the images within file explorer on a PC are not ideal because they only modify the EXIF metadata orientation tag within the file and do NOT actually rotate the image file (pixel data). While many software programs (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, MS Windows Explorer, etc) will auto-rotate correctly based on the orientation tag and display the image correctly, not all software programs will do this (e.g. Internet Explorer, some browser plugins, etc). Furthermore, when images are upload on the web, the orientation tags are often not carried over to web derivatives generated by the file upload program (e.g. thumbnail, web views, etc). For example, the image links below will all have the wrong orientation when viewed in Internet Explorer (PC version), and only the full size (original) image will self-orient within Chrome or Firefox.


Web View

Full Size

The safest solution is to rotate the actually image data (pixel definition) rather than just the setting the orientation tag. This can be done as a batch processing using image editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. The link below provides a list of a number of free options for lossless rotation of images. For example, you can download “JPEG Lossless Rotator”, which is easy to use, shows the true rotation of the images within a folder, and provides lossless rotation tools.

List of Lossless Rotation Apps

Lossless Rotator App by Anny Studio

Cite this page:

Ed Gilbert, ed: Katie Pearson. Rotating Images. In: Symbiota Support Hub (2021). Symbiota Documentation. Created on 02 Dec 2021.