Auto-Level Images

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Today’s Question: Is there a way to use the leveling tool in the crop menu on auto import?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can have your images automatically rotated (such as to straighten a crooked horizon) during the import process by using a preset that includes the Upright mode set to “Level”.

More Detail: The Crop tool in Lightroom enables you to adjust the rotation of the image to straighten a line that should be perfectly vertical or horizontal, such as a horizon line. There is even an Auto button that enables you to apply the rotation to the image automatically based on image analysis.

As you may have noticed though, you’re not able to save crop settings as part of a preset in the Develop module in Lightroom. That means the leveling feature of the Crop tool can’t be applied as a preset in the Develop module or upon importing new images. You can, however, achieve the same leveling result by creating a preset that includes the Upright Mode option, with the Upright feature set to “Level”.

To create a preset that includes automatic leveling, be sure to first click the “Level” button under the Upright heading in the Transform section of the right panel in the Develop module in Lightroom. Then, when saving a new preset, be sure to turn on the “Upright Mode” checkbox under the Transform checkbox within the New Develop Preset dialog.

If you apply that preset within the Develop module or using the Develop Settings popup in the Apply During Import section of the right panel in the Import dialog, the preset will apply the Upright correction to rotate automatically based on an analysis of the image. Note that you could also apply more sophisticated transformations by using the Vertical or Full options for the Upright adjustment, for example.