How To Rotate an Image in the Affinity Photo Develop Persona

by Mar 23, 2023Photo Editing Tutorials

Robin Whalley Landscape Photographer

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How To Rotate an Image in the Affinity Photo Develop Persona

Have you ever opened a RAW file in Affinity Photo and found that it’s in the wrong orientation? If you have, you will probably have noticed that there is something important missing from the Develop Persona. There’s no easy way to rotate the image to correct it.

Let’s look at an example.

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The RAW Image Problem

I shot this image using a Nikon D800 on a tripod. For some reason this and several others all ended up on their side.

Example of an image lying on its side

When you’re faced with an image on its side like this, it becomes very difficult to edit.

The solution is simple, rotate the image anticlockwise through 90°. But that’s what’s missing from the Affinity Photo Develop Persona. And because this is a RAW file, it must be opened in the Develop Persona first.

Currently, none of the tools in the Develop Persona can be used to rotate the image. The crop tool does have a Rotate option, but it only rotates the crop and not the image. If you use that, you will end up cropping the image rather than rotating it.

Now you can appreciate the problem, let’s look at two possible solutions.

Using the Rotate Feature

One feature that we do have in the Develop Persona is found in the view menu. Here you have the commands “Rotate Left”, “Rotate Right”, and “Reset Rotation”. These look promising but they aren’t quite as useful as you may think. Below you can see the result of using the Rotate Left command.

Image after using the Rotate Left command in the Affinity Photo Develop Persona

Whilst this has rotated the image, it doesn’t rotate it through 90°. If you want to do that, you will need to use the Rotate Left command 6 times. That’s an awful lot of mouse activity and the same problem exists with the Rotate Right command.

By the way, if you want to reset the image after using either of these commands, use the “Reset Rotation” option in the “View” menu.

Improving the Rotate Feature

The real problem with using the Rotate Left and Rotate Right commands is the time it takes using the mouse repeatedly. An easy solution to this is to assign a keyboard shortcut to both commands. It’s then easy to press the keyboard shortcut repeatedly until the image is correctly rotated.

To assign a keyboard shortcut in Affinity Photo, open the Preferences. On a Mac you will find the “Preferences” option in the “Affinity Photo” menu whilst on a PC it’s in the “Edit” menu. This then opens the Preferences dialog where you can choose the “Shortcuts” option. You can see a screenshot of the dialog below.

Assigning a Keyboard shortcut to the rotate commands in the Affinity Photo Develop Persona

After selecting the Shortcuts option, you can choose the Persona and Menu from the two dropdowns’ at the top of the dialog. This then displays a list of the commands in that menu. Look down the list and you will find the Rotate Left and Rotate Right commands.

To the right of these commands there are two fields which are probably empty. Click on the field you want to assign a keyboard shortcut to and then press the keystrokes. The keystrokes then appear in the field. In the example above I have assigned the Cmd + left arrow to Rotate Left and Cmd + right arrow to Rotate Right. If you do something wrong or want to remove the shortcut, click the small ‘X’ icon to the right of the field to clear it.

After assigning your keystrokes, close the dialog and then test them.

You can learn more about creating and managing custom keystrokes in this tutorial.

The RAW Layer Solution

One new feature in Affinity Photo 2 also provides a solution to our problem of how to rotate the image. This feature is the new “RAW Layer” option found in the Develop Persona.

When you have a RAW file open in the Develop Persona and have either the View Tool or Zoom Tool selected, you can configure the Persona’s Output. You can see these tools indicated in the screenshot below together with the Persona Output dropdown.

Affinity Photo Develop Persona RAW Layer Output option

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The Output dropdown provides three options:

  1. Pixel Layer
  2. RAW Layer (Embedded)
  3. RAW Layer (Linked)

In the earlier versions of Affinity Photo, it was only possible to output the developed image as a Pixel layer. Now we have the two additional RAW options. Choosing either of these will save any adjustments you’ve made together with the RAW file data (or a link to it) as part of the layer. Doing so means you can reopen the layer in the Develop Persona later and continue working with your adjustments.

We can now use this feature to help solve our problem and rotate the image. Here’s how…

In the Output dropdown select the “RAW Layer (Embedded)” option. This is preferable to using the link option as it removes the risk of the link to the RAW file becoming broken. It does though increase the size of your image file.

After selecting the Output option, click the Develop button. This closes the Develop Persona and moves you into the Photo Persona where you can edit the image. You can then use the tools in the Photo Persona which includes the options to rotate the image through 90 degrees clockwise and anticlockwise.

After rotating the image, you can double-click the RAW Layer in the Layers Studio Panel to reopen it in the Develop Persona. Now you will find that the image is correctly orientated, and you can continue editing with the Develop Persona tools.

Whilst neither of these solutions is perfect, they are workable alternatives until a new rotate image feature is added to the Develop Persona. The second option does however require you to know how to rotate an image in the Photo Persona. There you have several options to rotate an image which are explained in this tutorial.

More Affinity Photo Tutorials

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

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