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How to Change Crop Overlay in Lightroom CC

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.

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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.

golden spiral crop overlay for cropping photos in lightroom
Golden Spiral Overlay

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.

Grid Overlay

This places a grid with many equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines over your image. This can be useful when straightening your photo. 

Diagonal Overlay

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.

Center Overlay

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.

Triangle Overlay

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.

Concluding words

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.

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