The crop overlay is a useful Lightroom feature that can help you compose your image and craft a better crop. The crop overlay is simply the lines that appear over your image when you open the crop tool. These lines are there to help you compose your image.
Changing the Lightroom CC Crop Overlay Step-by-Step
Step 1: Open the image you want to crop in Lightroom
Browse through your imported images and choose the one you want to crop.
Step 2: Go to the Develop Module
Press D to activate the Develop Module in Lightroom.
Step 3: Select the Crop Tool
You can select the crop tool by pressing R in Lightroom Classic CC.
With the crop tool activated your photos automatically get the crop guide overlay that adjusts to the image whenever dragging the crop corners. This allows you to fine-tune the composition to follow your preferred overlay guide.
Step 4: Press O for the Overlays to Cycle to Your Favorite Overlay Guide
By pressing O with the crop tool activated, you can cycle through each of the crop overlays Lightroom has to offer.
You may have to press O multiple times to get to your preferred guide.
We will cover each of these below.
Rule of Thirds Overlay
By default, you will see a simple grid using the ‘rule of thirds.’ This overlay divides your photo into nine parts. You can create a more visually interesting and balanced photo, by placing the subject of your photo in the left or right third of an image. However, this isn’t the only crop overlay available.
This places a grid with many equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines over your image. This can be useful when straightening your photo.
This crop overlay places 4 diagonal lines over your photo. It can help identify leading lines that can draw attention to the subject of your image.
This crop overlay places just two lines, one horizontal and one vertical, over your image. Perfect for when you need to crop an image with the subject exactly centered.
This overlay breaks your photo up into 4 triangles and can help identify leading lines and break up your composition.
Phi Grid Overlay
The phi grid is based on a mathematical theory known as the golden ratio to help make images more appealing. By placing key points of your image at intersections of the lines on the grid, you can make your image more visually appealing.
Golden Spiral Overlay
The golden spiral is also based on the theory of the golden ratio. By placing the key area you want to bring attention to at the center of the spiral, your image becomes more visually appealing.
Aspect Ratio Overlay
This crop overlay allows you to visualize how different aspect ratios will influence your image without having to crop your photo. You can select which aspect ratios are shown in your overlay, go to Tools > Crop Overlay Guide > Choose Aspect Ratios
Step 5: How To Flip Your Crop Overlay
You can flip your crop overlay by pressing Shift+O whilst your crop overlay is visible. This will rotate the overlay 90 degrees.
Changing the tools overlay allows us to adjust Lightroom to fit our preferred way of cropping images.
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Which Lightroom Classic crop overlay do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.
Hey I’m Peter. I’m the owner and editor of Photography-RAW. I make sure that you get the best articles about photography. Personally, I prefer to shoot landscape, nature and macro photography.
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