The crop tool in Lightroom is a well-known tool, yet there is more to it than there may seem. Here I will show you how using overlays will make the crop tool more effective and useful.

Once in Lightroom, navigate to the Develop panel and select the crop tool [keyboard shortcut R.]


1. Setting Up Your Overlays

First, you’ll want to set up the overlays to cycle through that best suit your needs. From the Menu bar, go to Tools > Crop Guide Overlay > Choose Overlays to Cycle.


A pop up box will appear that will allow different overlays to be chosen. The three selected in the screenshot below are the ones I use the most often. Select which ones will be most effective in your workflow.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.25.24 AM

2. Choose Aspect Ratios

If you have selected Aspect Ratios as one of your overlays, then you will need to choose dimensions you would like to show when that overlay is active. From the Menu bar, go to Tools > Crop Guide Overlay > Choose Aspect Ratios.


Another pop up box will appear where you will need to choose which ratios will work for you. Below are the ones I use most, as these are dimensions often selected by clients.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 10.24.44 AM

3. Cycling Through Overlays

Activate the crop tool by selecting it in the develop tab or using [keyboard shortcut R.] To cycle through the overlays, all you need to do is press O until you reach the desired one.

You can see below how these overlays can help with composition or prevent being too aggressive with the crop tool. It is useful to use this tool during in person sales to show what a cropped image will look like in specific dimensions. Try adding this to your workflow and share how it works for you.