Some image files contain information (sometimes called "metadata" or "EXIF data"), part of which tells how the camera or phone was oriented when the image was captured. The idea is that if, say, the camera was held upside down when the image was taken, a program that wanted to display the image could be smart enough to invert it first. Whether or not any particular file contains this orientation information depends on the device that created the image in the first place, as well as any subsequent processing that the file might have undergone.
As it turns out, some programs do not handle the orientation information correctly and end up displaying the pictures sideways or inverted. As we all know, the phpBB software that runs this board is an example. If you visit the support forum for phpBB , you will find that this has been a problem for years. The folks there have tried many solutions and workarounds, but apparently none of them has been completely successful.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
Since a fix to phpBB is unlikely, the next best thing is to create images that work with the software as is. But what does that mean?
As near as I can tell, phpBB will handle an image file correctly in either one of these two cases:
- The orientation information in the file says that the camera was in its normal, right-side up position when the image was taken. For most cameras I'm familiar with, this would result in a landscape orientation, where the picture is wider than it is tall. I'm not sure about cell phones.
- The orientation information is absent from the file altogether.
- Get lucky. If you can rotate your camera or cell phone in various ways, upload the pictures to chaski and see that they always appear correctly, congratulations! You don't need to worry about any of this. I have one cell phone that happens to behave this way and another that doesn't. I guess I'm half lucky.
- Always hold your camera right side up. This probably means no portrait style photos (taller than they are wide), but it's an easy, practical, and probably foolproof solution if you're having problems.
- Fix your PC images before uploading. If you're working on a PC, this is very easy. I found quite by accident that all you have to do is open your pictures in Microsoft Paint (sometimes called MS Paint, it comes with Windows) and immediately save them back to the disk. MS Paint automatically rotates images into the correct orientation, and writes the rotated images back to disk with the orientation in the metadata set to Horizontal (normal).
- Fix your phone images before uploading. I don't know if there's a way to fix images directly on a cell phone or not. But if you can transfer them to a PC (via email or some file sharing setup like dropbox) then you can proceed as in #3, above.
- As a last resort, upload whatever you've got and I will put on my moderator's hat and fix any problems for you.
- For the geeks among us, this site will display the metadata, including orientation information if it is present, in files that you upload. You'll be surprised at all the info that's in there.
- Since some programs handle the orientation information correctly and others don't, statements like "It looks okay on my PC!" don't make complete sense. On my computer for example, Thunderbird (an email client) does everything correctly and images consistently appear right-side up no matter what. But Paint Shop Pro 7 (an oldish paint program) has the same problems that the phpBB software does.
-- Russell Mac
Edit: 27 Sep 2022
User "bushav" reports another workaround to this problem. Here's what he has to say:
bushav wrote: My iPad orients the pictures correctly! Successful workaround and my picture gallery will still be oriented correctly on the iCloud. I'm taking the pictures with the iPad held horizontal.