Note: This post is from our book Develop Great Images in Lightroom (available for iBooks).
Often when I crop, its all about precision. I frequently need to crop to a specific aspect ratio. Sometimes it’s for the screen (video projects and slideshows) as well as print output. In these cases, I need the shape of my photo to precisely match my target. Fortunately, Lightroom Classic makes this easy.
Step 1: Select an image for cropping
Step 2: Choose the Crop Overlay tool by pressing the R key. This will even switch you from the Library module to the Develop module. An outline appears around the image with adjustment handles to modify the crop.
Step 3: Examine the Crop Overlay tool in the tool drawer. A closed padlock means the crop tool is constrained to a preset. While, you can click the lock to unconstrained the crop tool, lets focus on using a specific aspect ratio preset.
Step 4: Click the a Aspect pop-up menu next to the padlock to choose an aspect ratio. The following choices are available (international localizations may contain different sizes).
- As Shot: This matches the original ratio of the photo.
- Original: This essentially uncross the image and restores it to its original crop.
- Custom: More on this later
These ratios are common print sizes:
- 1×1: A square-shaped crop
- 4×5 / 8×10: A popular print size
- 8.5×11: This matches a standard sheet of paper in a US standard
- 5×7: Another sized crop used for prints and frames
- 2×3 / 4×6: These two sizes are also widely used for prints
The sizes are frequently used for multimedia projects:
- 4×3 1024×768: This matches many older computer and revision monitors
- 16×9 1920×1080: The aspect ratio for most video projects
- 16×10 1280×800: The ratio of most widescreen computer monitors
Tip: If youd like to use the Crop Overlay tool with the last settings used, press Shift+A.
Step 5: Drag a crop handle to crop the image. You can also click to select the Crop Frame tool to freely position the crop.
Step 6: You can modify the crop behavior if needed with a keyboard shortcut. Press the X key to toggle the orientation of the crop between portrait and landscape.
Step 7: Press Return (or Enter) to apply the crop. You can exit without cropping by pressing the Escape key.
Remember, all cropping is nondestructive. You can always revert a cropped image by choosing Original from the pop-up menu to restore an image to its original crop.