By understanding the Transform Panel in Lightroom, you will learn how to fix your crooked images with one click!  This technique will speed up your workflow and save you hours of time throughout the year.

I know that I shoot, I am focused on capturing beauty emotion and often find that my images are crooked.  I have spent countless hours going into the crop tool, and straightening my pictures.  Check out the video and article below to understand the transform panel in Lightroom and learn how to fix your crooked images with one click.


Understanding the Transform Panel in Lightroom


The transform panel didn’t exist in versions of Lightroom before version 6, so it is less known and less understood.  The functions of the transform panel originated in version 3.0 of Lightroom but were found in the Lens Correction Panel.

If you are using Lightroom 3.0 or later, watch the video and read the article below to see the power of this panel and how it can speed up your workflow.

See the video here:


Read the Video Transcript

Hey guys I’m glad you’re here today, hey I just want to quickly talk to you about how you can easily straighten your images in Lightroom with one click.

If if you’re like me you tend to shoot a little crooked. I’m more focused on the subject on the expression on the capturing emotion more so than I am to kind of get that picture to be exactly straight with the lines that you see in the image. I’m definitely not a tripod shooter that tends to slow me down tends to make my work more stiff and less kind of engaging.

And so if you’re like me what tends to happen as you get back and you have a lot of images that are just a little bit crooked in any which way. And I find that a lot of my images are that way.

And if, if I go ahead and straighten each one with the crop tool it can take a good amount of time a fair amount of time when I’m doing it you know on almost every image in the shoot.

But what there is in that light room is the transformed panel and if you’re using an older version of Lightroom it is under the lens correction panel not the transformed panel. But here let’s just go into Leitrim real quick here I’ve got a lot of images that are crooked to a little bit to a certain extent and you can see that it just kind of bothers the eye.

Now there might be one or two down here maybe this one here that I want to have crooked. But for the most part these are just a little bit crooked and it’s my fault. I should have lifted my camera just a little bit an angle a little better angle to fix that. So if we go into the develop modulus and want to go to him let’s go let’s go to the first image.

Let’s go to this image right here.

If we go into the develop module I have already got the transformed panel open. This is where you’ll find it. Like I said if you do not have a transformed panel it will be in the lens correction panel. That means you’re just using an older version of Lightroom. But if I come over here you have these you have these transformed buttons up top here.

And these are what I’m talking about if you click these these will help straighten your image based on what Lightroom sees as the strong lines in the image. Now if your image let’s say it’s outside and it’s in nature and there’s just trees and you know they don’t grow straight they grow a little bit of an angle. These buttons aren’t going to work. So these are these are going to work in places where there’s architecture or strong lines a strong horizon line would work.

And that’s why I’ve selected these images in Lightroom that I’ve picked. But if you come here into the transformed panel on this first image and you hit the level button you’ll see that it straightens my image so I’ll undo that and then I’ll redo that you can just hit off and level and you’ll see how quickly it straightens that image. Now I have three images from this session right here and they are all crooked in a little bit different of a way. So if I select them and sink and let’s say I go into my transform here and I have all three of these selected if I hit synchronize what it’s going to do is it’s going to take that an amount of straightening and it’s going to add it to these images and that’s not what we want. Because obviously those haven’t been straightened correctly so if I undo that if we go into sync settings you’ll see three options you have upright mode upright transforms and then transform adjustments.

OK. So the first one let me let me go back into my develop module. The first one upright mode will be whatever is these buttons. OK. So so if I have this one checked it is going to send whatever with these buttons are picked across the other images. This upright transforms. If that one is checked it’s going to send everything that has been currently transformed onto your other images. So I do not want that one checked and if you’ll notice the upright mode comes on grade when I select this button right here. So what that means is now Lightroom on these other two images from the same session is going to evaluate each image on its own and apply the level transform that I have selected here.

The last one the transform adjustments now that are that are that these sliders and that’s also this constrain crop down here. So if I was to have that on whatever adjustments I made here and if I have the constrained Krop checked which I’ll talk about in just a second. It will send that across those images as well so I’m going on check that and the first one.

So the only thing that’s going to come across is this level button of the upright mode being selected which means these other three images will be evaluated on what what they’re crookedness. So let me go first off into the library module so we can see it happen. And let me sink. The upright mode from this image to these images and watch this line right here especially on this one. Watch how it straightens based on what it needs not what this not on how this one was straightened. Katie you see that so now that image is completely straightened and I didn’t have to go in and crop it. In fact all three of these images were shot in the same place so so I could honestly take these two images I could reset them completely. So they’re back to to how they were raw.

I can come in here and check all but if you’ll remember I’ve got to turn these off. OK. And now you’ll see that not only does it synchronize the the contrast the exposure everything that I’ve done on this image. It also is synchronizing the straightening of the image. So those three images to work on took me as much time as it took me to edit this one image and if I’ve got 15 in the same spot that just saved me a ton of time not having to come in and straighten each one of these images independently. So let’s move down a little bit and let’s look at some other ones. Let’s look at the Senior right here. We’ve got all of these images that are crooked Now some of these you know I might I might like to leave crooked so you don’t have to do it all the time but.

But if let’s just do it really quick. I’ll go in the develop module here. I’m going to straighten this one by hitting the level transformed button. That one is now fixed and straight into if I come back into the library mode so you can see what’s happening I’ll select all of these sync settings. I’ll make sure the upright mode is just selected and then I’ll synchronize that across all of these images. So let’s go into them so that one is straightened. Now this one didn’t straighten properly so if let’s go we go on the develop modules sometimes Lightroom can get it wrong. And you’ll notice that there’s an update button here. If I click that it will fix how I got it wrong. Let’s go to the next one.

That one looks fine. So to this one. That one looks pretty good as well. And let’s finish with this one. So by a few clicks of the mouse a few button clicks. I was able to straighten all of these images. OK. Same thing. Same thing down there. Here we can even move through different sessions. So if I come here and straighten this image OK so I can now sync that across images even from other sessions. Upright mode and it will straighten these images as well. OK so all of those were strained. Now there’s something called in the transform there’s something called the guided transform and here’s where you draw lines on the image to get the straightening that you want. Now you’ll notice on this one that I have a lot of bit a lot of lines going a lot of different directions and so you get a total of four lines that you can straighten.

So if I choose this one I can straighten that one. I can straighten this one I’ll choose two horizontals. OK it’s starting to work. And then let’s maybe go to this one here. And then let me go to this one here. So there we go so I’ve used I’ve used the guided transform now to straighten this image. You cannot sync the guy to transform across because all it will do is it will sink. This same transformation to the other images which isn’t going to work I’m just showing you really quick how to use the guided. Last thing I want to show you is the transform adjustments with the constrained crop so let me come let me come to this. This girl here.

So let’s straighten this image. So I click on level k that one is correct and I’m going to sync it across all of these images. Fact. Let me go to the library module so you can see this how it happens. OK. So if I sync across all of these images you’ll see that some don’t get adjusted correctly case so take a look at this one you’ll notice that it fixed it with these lines. But it left this white kind of border around in K and that is where that constrain crop comes into play. So if I had that clicked it would automatically remove those white borders for me. But the problem with that I go into the crop tool is you’ll notice how high up her leg. It has cropped so it may not be exactly what you want. Whereas if I bring this in just a little bit I can drop this down and get some of her foot back.

But you can see I shot it in a way that I’m going to lose some of her foot anyway so maybe leaving it at a bit of an angle is the better thing is the better way to do this. But the key to that so you’ll see all of these have that white kind of border around them. And we go into the library modules so you can see it better. So what I can do is if I sync my settings and I include the transfer I don’t think I have it turned on hold on. Oh I do. OK. So the constrain crop is turned on if I go into the library module and I sync settings and I click on transfer adjustments you’ll see all of these white areas disappear.

And that is because now I am sinking across this constrain crop. OK. Now this one didn’t get it right. And remember if it doesn’t get it right you hit the update button and then it should it should snap it back to where it will be. These ones are not cropping 100 percent correctly because I’ve been in preparation for this video. I I was kind of making sure that the level worked properly. And so what it’s doing is it’s defaulting to one of the ones that I had before. But on yours it should get it right most of the time. If it doesn’t hit that update button and that should fix it. So there you go. I use this all the time. So when I sync settings from another image to sync settings from one image to another I will have this turned on and these turned off unless I want that constrained crop left on.

And then I leave that one on right there. So hopefully this will speed you up as you add it. Hopefully it’s a tip that can benefit you and we’ll see you next time. Thanks.

Straightening your Images using the Transform Panel in Lightroom


Take a look at the images below, does that resemble how you shoot?


Three images from the lightroom library of a bride and groom standing in front of a black door. Each image is crooked in a different way.


Well, this is how I shoot, endlessly crooked!  I  focus my attention on composition, emotion, and feeling, and often come away with crooked images.  If I get one image straight, the others seem to drift to the left or right.

As my understanding of the transform panel in Lightroom grew, I discovered a way to fix my crooked images with the click of a single button.

And it is wonderful.

Below are the corrected images are below, and in this article, I will teach you how I fixed them with one click and then synced that correction across all of the pictures.


Three images from the lightroom library of a bride and groom standing in front of a black door. Each image is now straight by using the transform panel in lightroom.


With this technique you can straighten one or a thousand images, it doesn’t matter.  The choice is yours.


The Transform Panel in Lightroom


An image of the transform panel in lightroom cc

Take a look at the image of the transform panel to the right.  At the top you see the Upright Mode buttons and below you see the Transform adjustment sliders and the Constrain Crop button.

When using Lightroom version 3, 4 or 5, the Upright Mode buttons are found in the basic tab of the Lens Correction Panel, and the Transform sliders found in the Manual tab.  They work the same as the new versions except for one caveat.

It seems the algorithm for straightening images improves with each version of Lightroom, so having the latest version will help in getting difficult to straighten images fixed correctly.

Upright Mode Buttons

These are the buttons to click to straighten your image.  Let me explain how each button works.

  1. Auto : Lightroom will straighten your image both vertically and horizontally based upon strong lines in the image while trying to balance and preserve much of the original image.  Remember, this is software using an algorithm trying to accomplish this, so it is not always successful.
  2. Guided : When you click the guided button, your cursor becomes cross hairs and allows you to draw two to four lines on your image to straighten the image based on those lines.  This is a great option if you want to choose the lines that Lightroom chooses to straighten.
  3. Level : Click this button will straighten your image based on the horizontal lines in your image.  This is the button that I use most often and the button that will cause the least amount of distortion in your image when straightening.  The images above of the bride and groom in front of the dark doors were straightened using this button.
  4. Vertical : Clicking this button will straighten your images based on the vertical lines in the image.
  5. Full : This button is a combination of full Level, Vertical, and Auto perspective corrections.  Because lines are not always meant to be straight in photographs, this button can straighten your images incorrectly.


Transform Sliders : These sliders are a way to adjust and straighten lines in your image manually.

Constrain Crop : The constrain crop checkbox, when ticked, causes Lightroom to keep the Transform adjustment within the bounds of the image.  Take a look at the three images below.  They help explain how the constrain crop button works.


three of the same image of a teenage girl standing outside a building. The first image is crooked and the second two are straight using the transform panel in Lightroom


Notice the white spaces on the 2nd image?  That is caused when Lightroom straightened the image and did not crop out anything.

The 3rd image on the right is the image straightened in Lightroom with the Constrain Crop button ticked, allowing Lightroom to crop in on the image.

It seems like common sense then to keep this button checked, but you need to be careful.

Lightroom does not crop the images intuitively and therefore may crop off a foot, or a head randomly.  If you do keep this checkbox marked, just be sure and review the crop that Lightroom has made.


The Real Power of the Transform Panel in Lightroom


As you increase your understanding of the transform panel in Lightroom, you will find that this technique should be able to be synced across any amount of images you choose.  And you’re correct!  It can be, but it is a bit difficult to figure out how to do it correctly.  Let me help.

Syncing Transforms Across Multiple Images.

Let’s start by taking a peek at the Synchronize Settings dialog box.  In the transform options, you will see three options:

  1. Upright Mode
  2. Unright Transforms
  3. Transform Adjustments


two images showing the synchronize panel in lightroom, one with all the transform settings selected and one with all the transform settings selected except upright transforms.


The first two, Upright Mode and Upright Transforms CAN NOT be selected at the same time.  You’ll notice in the image on the left, Upright Mode is grayed out.

This tells us that Upright Transforms is being used and Upright Mode is disabled.  Uncheck Upright Transforms, and the Synchronize Dialog box will look like the image on the right, showing us that Upright Mode is active and Upright Transforms is disabled.

Let me explain what each does.

  1. Upright Mode : This option will sync across multiple images the Upright Mode button you have currently selected in the Transform panel.  With this button selected and the Transform Adjustment button unselected, each image will be evaluated based on its own needs.  This is how you want to sync Transforms most of the time.
  2. Upright Transforms: This option will sync across multiple images the exact transform from one image to the next.  This means whatever corrections were made to the first image, will be synced across all of the images selected in the same way.  Uncheck this box if you want each image to be evaluated individually.
  3. Transform Adjustments : If you have made changes to the sliders or have the Constrain Crop button selected, ticking this box will sync those slider adjustments and the Constrain Crop across the selected images.  Because I never use the transform sliders, I use this sync the Constrain Crop option across multiple images.




Lightroom gives us powerful tools to correct our images, and by understanding how they work, we can speed up our workflow.

When I use the Transform panel in Lightroom and want to sync those adjustments across multiple images, my Synchronize Settings dialog box looks like this:



These settings tell Lightroom to straighten my images based on the strong lines in the photo and to evaluate each image individually and keep the crop within the bounds of the image. Give it a try; I think you will begin to understand the power found when using the transform panel in Lightroom.


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