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A particular image appears rotated (in the "portrait" orientation) when viewed in Thunderbird (as an e-mail attachment), Firefox, and Photoshop. However, it appears in the "landscape" orientation in Windows 7 Explorer and Windows Photo Viewer Why the inconsistency? Is there any way to fix that by changing settings in the viewer?

In this particular case, the "landscape" orientation is photographically correct, though the camera may have been in a funny position causing an accelerometer to think that a "portrait" orientation was intended.

As viewed in TB/FF/PS, I need to rotate the image counterclockwise 90 degrees to get it looking right. When I use Windows to do that, the orientation then changes to be "portrait" 90 degrees in the opposite rotational direction.

The workaround is to rotate it counterclockwise 90 degrees and then clockwise 90 degrees and then the image displays correctly and consistently in all viewers cited above. It is unintuitive that two opposite lossy rotations (which as opposite operations, should combine for no effect other than compression losses) should be required just to get an image displaying consistently in Windows and other viewers. What am I missing here?

  • This is all based on how each program pays attention to and respects the EXIF orientation information stored in the image. Some care about it, some don’t. Which does and why and how to adjust each one is idiosyncratic to each piece of software. – JakeGould Sep 19 '15 at 15:45
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    OK, so how would one adjust Windows Photo Viewer to pay attention to EXIF orientation information? – WBT Sep 19 '15 at 15:53
  • Read your own question. “…the "landscape" orientation is photographically correct, though the camera may have been in a funny position causing an accelerometer to think that a "portrait" orientation was intended.” Windows Photo Viewer seems to be paying attention to the EXIF info since it is “correct” in displaying it “incorrectly.” Everything else is incorrect? Or maybe I have that backwards? – JakeGould Sep 19 '15 at 16:13
  • @JakeGould My understanding is that cameras record the image in "landscape" format and sometimes add EXIF metadata saying "display this rotated" that some programs do or don't pay attention to. I suspect the image in question has that EXIF instruction (even though landscape is the best way to look at this image) and Windows Photo Viewer is ignoring it, leading to confusion in what rotations are required for correct display elsewhere. – WBT Sep 19 '15 at 16:17
  • FWIW, it seems like Windows Photo Viewer doesn’t pay attention to EXIF data and possible solutions are explained here. – JakeGould Sep 19 '15 at 16:19
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I had exactly the same problem. Found out that [exif:Orientation:] is only respected by some programs.

I have Bash Ubuntu for Windows 10 so I checked the exif data by using: root@AW:/mnt/c/Users/me/Dropbox/Photos/folder# identify -verbose * |grep -i exif:orientation exif:Orientation: 6 exif:Orientation: 3 exif:Orientation: 3 exif:Orientation: 3 exif:Orientation: 6 exif:Orientation: 6 exif:Orientation: 6

Then I used jhead -autorot * in that folder. I then checked the exif data again, even though it showed correctly in the application I was using.

root@AW:/mnt/c/Users/me/Dropbox/Photos/folder# identify -verbose * |grep -i exif:orientation exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1 exif:Orientation: 1

Since you're using Win 7 you won't have Ubuntu for Windows, unless you've upgraded by now.

Here is some very useful information from: http://www.impulseadventure.com/photo/exif-orientation.html

"Auto-Rotation Utilities There are several tools that allow the image content to be rotated losslessly in software, based on the information stored in the EXIF orientation flag. By far the best time to perform this is during image import (e.g. from memory card). Most import applications (such as DownloaderPro) can do this during the copy operation (from memory card to hard drive). Doing so ensure that all programs can see the image properly rotated, without having to rely on the EXIF Orientation flag. This means that even programs such as Microsoft's Windows Picture and Fax Viewer will also show correct orientation for portrait / vertical images.

Most programs will rotate the image content and then update the Orientation flag to reflect the new orientation (usually a value of 1), while still leaving other metadata intact."

Win 8 & 10 - Default Windows Photo Viewer - reads the exif tags and correctly displays the image.

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