How to Change Aspect Ratio in Lightroom

You might have seen that some of your photos get weirdly cropped if you upload on any social platform. The problem lies behind the wrong aspect ratio while uploading the images. This guide will teach you not only how to change the aspect ratio in Lightroom but also when to use a specific aspect ratio.

Understanding Aspect Ratio

It is important to understand what aspect ratio is before jumping on how to change the aspect ratio in Lightroom. Basically it defines a ratio or a proportional relation between the width and height of the image. You might recognize it in the form of ‘x:y’, for instance, 1:1. An important thing to realize here is that aspect ratio is not a measuring unit such as inches, it just defines the relationship between width and height.

Common Aspect Ratios

The next step is to know about the different aspect ratios or crop orientation in lightroom that you might come across in your daily life. The most common are 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, and also 16:9.


Until a few years ago, Instagram only allowed 1:1 images on its platform. This ratio means that both the width and height are equal in length and form a perfect square. Some common image sizes in this ratio are 8×8 inch or 1080x1080px.


This ratio was mostly used in 35mm film and photography, however, it is used in print images as well. The images in this ratio are 6×4 inches or 1080x720px.


It has a larger width than height and forms a rectangle. Mostly, this aspect ratio was used in computer monitors, old TVs, and some digital cameras. However, it has now been replaced by 16:9 as an international standard. Now, the image sizes in this ratio are 8×6 inches or 1024x768px. 


As we said before, 16:9 is now the international standard for cinematic footage and display screens. The reason behind this is that it offers a better-elongated view than the previous one.

How to change Aspect Ratio of a Girl Photo

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Why change Crop Orientation in Lightroom?

Your camera might use a 3:2 aspect ratio. However, if you upload it on Instagram or any other social platform, you will see that it is cropped by the platform itself. This automatic crop might result in resolution loss or even a distorted image. Secondly, if you wanted to print or frame the image, black borders might appear on the print. Therefore, the main reason behind learning how to change the aspect ratio in Lightroom is the fact that ratios used in cameras are not the same as printing or for uploading. Now, let us move on to the main highlight of this guide.

How to Change Aspect Ratio in Lightroom

Lightroom has become very intuitive in recent years. By following these few simple steps, you can change the aspect ratio of your images as much as you like.

Step 1

The first step is to select the photo and simply press ‘R’ in order to directly open the Crop Tool. An alternative method is to head into the Develop Module, and then select the Crop Tool.

Step 2

Now, there will be an aspect ratio drop-down menu. It might be named differently in Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. The other name might be ‘Crop’. Here, you will see that it is set to either As Shot or Original

Step 3

The last step to change crop orientation in Lightroom is to either select a preset aspect ratio or enter a custom one. 

Lightroom itself has many presets for aspect ratios and you will most probably find the one you need in that list. Simply select the one you want from the drop-down menu and enter to apply it. 

However, if you do not see your desired aspect ratio, you can use Enter Custom option. An important to remember is that you can even directly enter the exact measurements or even the ratio. Now, if your entered values are the same as one of the presets, then Lightroom will let you know this. On the other hand, a new preset will be created with your entered values.

Custom Aspect Ratio in Lightroom

Photo edited in Lightroom.

Some Tips for Cropping in Lightroom

Firstly, you should know that by following the above steps, an overlay will appear over your image. It will show you how the image will look after it is cropped. You can drag it in order to reposition it. Also, you can move its sides individually to change the crop size as well. 

Secondly, pressing Command+Option+R on Mac and Control+Alt+R on Windows will reset the crop.

Thirdly, simply pressing Escape will dismiss the tool without applying the crop.

Conclusion - How to Change Aspect Ratio in Lightroom

Learning how to change crop orientations is necessary if you want to upload or even print your images. If you are a beginner, then the presets will give you a thorough idea of how each aspect ratio changes the image.

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Have a nice photoshoot! 

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