How To Rotate an Image in Affinity Photo

by Mar 23, 2023Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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How To Rotate an Image in Affinity Photo

When you use the Photo Persona in Affinity Photo, you will find there are several ways to rotate an image. Which is best depends on why you’re wanting to rotate it. For example, is the image lying on its side as in the screenshot below.

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Image lying on its side in Affinity Photo and needs rotating

In this example, we need to be able to rotate the image anticlockwise through 90°.

Rotating an Image Through 90°

The Photo Persona has two extremely useful commands that we can use to rotate an image through 90°. You will find these in the “Document” menu. They are “Rotate 90° Clockwise” and “Rotate 90° Anticlockwise”. You can use these to easily align an image that’s lying on its side.

You will also find two other useful options in this menu which are “Flip Horizontally” and “Flip Vertically”.

Whilst these four options are useful, they may not necessarily help with the reason you want to rotate an image. Another common problem we see in photography is where the horizon in an image it’s level or an upright building is tilted. That takes a different approach to fix.

Rotating an Image to Level the Horizon

Here’s an example of an image that needs rotating slightly to level it.

Image that needs rotating to level it

The shot you see above is slightly tilted left and needs rotating right; if you look at the top row of bricks you can see this. The best way to make this correction in the Photo Persona is to use the Crop Tool.

You will find the Crop Tool in the Affinity Photo Tools Palette which is usually on the left of the interface.

Using the crop tool to rotate an image

When using the Crop Tool, you will find two buttons in the Context Sensitive Toolbar at the top of the screen. These are “Rotate” and “Straighten”.

Do not use the Rotate button. This is used to rotate the crop area through 90° and does not rotate the image. Instead, you should use the Straighten button. This will allow us to rotate the image through a small angle.

When you click the Straighten button, you will activate the Level Tool. When you then place your mouse pointer over the image, you will see it change to show a level as in the screenshot below.

Using the Straighten or level Tool found in Affinity Photo

Position the pointer on the start of a line that you want to be horizontal. Then click once, and whilst holding your mouse button down, drag the pointer to the other end of the line. As you do this you will see a straight line drawn by the tool. Then when you release the button, the image rotates so that the line you’ve drawn becomes level.

Removing Empty Space

Having rotated the image, you will find areas of the empty document background become visible. This is indicated by a chequered pattern around the edge of the document, usually near to the corners. Here’s an example.

Empty space after rotating the image

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There are a couple of ways to remove this empty space after rotating an image. The first of these is to crop the image to remove the space. You can read more about how to crop an image in affinity photo in this tutorial.

The second method for removing the empty space is to repair it. This means replacing the empty space with pixels from other parts of the image. Whilst you could use the Affinity Photo Patch Tool for this, a much easier option is the Inpainting Brush. This tutorial explains how to use the Inpainting Brush to remove an unwanted tripod shadow. The process for removing the empty space around the image is the same as this.

Whilst we’ve now looked at two reasons for rotating an image, there is a third that you may need to know about. This happens when you need to rotate or flip only one of the layers in an image without affecting others. If that’s what you’re trying to do, this tutorial should help.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

You’ll find more high quality, free tutorials on my Affinity Photo Tutorials page.

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