If you use Windows 8 and have a newer digital camera, you may be experiencing a dilemma where photos appear correctly oriented but when uploaded to a website, they appear sideways. This is a known issue with Windows 8. It is painfully annoying because sideways images are easily identifiable and changed, but only when they actually appear sideways. If they look correct on the OS, it is impossible to know which ones to edit.  Why does this happen? When you take a photo using a digital camera, additional information saves with the actual image called EXIF data (see below for a full explanation). Windows 8 reads EXIF data from the photo, including photo orientation, and displays the image based on that data.  But most other software ignores EXIF data, so it appears correct in Windows 8 but then sideways when uploaded to a website.  For auctioneers this can be very frustrating and a HUGE waste of time. The easiest solution is to take all your photos in landscape.  However, if you have to take vertical photos and use Windows 8, here are a couple workarounds:

1)      Turn off the automatic rotation on your camera.  This is by far the easiest fix.  With “autorotate” turned off the orientation will not be stored in the EXIF data, and the photos will appear sideways in Windows 8.  This is a setting on your camera that must be set before you take the photos.  It can generally be found under the “settings” or “set-up” menu; some cameras use a wrench as the icon.  With “autorotate” turned off, photos will need to be manually rotated once they are uploaded on the computer. But you have the assurance that as you use these photos across various websites, they will all appear correct.

2)      Use a third party software to bulk resave photos and ignore EXIF data.  IRFANVIEW is free and can be used to resave all the photos without EXIF data. Be warned, though: the process takes several steps.  The result will be a new file folder with all the images; the ones that were automatically rotated using EXIF data will now appear sideways. The program itself can be a little daunting to a non-tech savvy person.  IRFANVIEW is a useful program for resizing and renaming but be careful if you install it not to also install malware or adware.

3)      Picasa is a program that can be used to individually view and rotate photos. Time killer!  Picasa is also free and allows you to edit color, crop and rotate each image.  It ignores EXIF rotation data so the image will be displayed with the same orientation as other programs that do not take that data into account when displaying photos.

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Technology is always changing.  Generally the changes are for the better (Windows 8 is questionable). The active auction software companies like Wavebid, Proxibid and AuctionServices.com will update their systems to read in EXIF data but in the short term, auctioneers who use Windows 8 should try the above solutions to ensure their photos do not appear sideways in their online marketing.

If you know of an easier way to work around rotation issues in Windows 8, please post in the comments below!



And if you want to nerd out, here’s what EXIF data is:

“EXIF is short for Exchangeable Image File, a format that is a standard for storing interchange information in digital photography image files using JPEG compression. Almost all new digital cameras use the EXIF annotation, storing information on the image such as shutter speed, exposure compensation, F number, what metering system was used, if a flash was used, ISO number, date and time the image was taken, whitebalance, auxiliary lenses that were used and resolution. Some images may even store GPS information so you can easily see where the images were taken!” Source: exifdata.com/