Adjust crop and rotation

The Develop module contains tools and controls for cropping and straightening photos. Lightroom crop and straighten controls work by first setting a crop boundary, and then moving and rotating the image in relation to the crop boundary. Or, you can use more traditional crop and straighten tools and drag directly in the photo.

As you adjust the crop overlay or move the image, Lightroom displays a grid of thirds within the outline to help you compose your final image. As you rotate an image, a finer grid appears to help you align to the straight lines in the image.

Crop a photo

  1. Select the Crop Overlay tool  in the tool strip, or press R.

    An outline with adjustment handles appears around the photo.

  2. Drag in the photo with the Crop Frame pointer or drag a crop handle to set the crop boundary. Corner handles adjust both image width and height.
    Note: After you drag a crop handle, select the Crop Frame tool to use it.
  3. Reposition the photo by dragging the photo within the crop frame using the Hand tool.
  4. (Optional) Select Constrain To Warp to keep the crop bounding box within the image area when lens corrections have been applied. Constrain To Warp prevents the photo from becoming distorted.
  5. Click the Crop Overlay tool or press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) when you’re finished cropping and straightening.
Press O to cycle through grid overlays in the crop area. To display the grid only when cropping, choose Tools > Tool Overlay > Auto Show. To turn off the grid, choose Tools > Tool Overlay > Never Show.

Crop to a specified aspect ratio

  1. Select the Crop Overlay tool  in the tool strip.

    The padlock icon in the tool drawer indicates and controls whether the crop controls are constrained.

  2. Choose an aspect ratio from the Aspect pop-up menu next to the padlock. Choose Original to specify the photo’s original aspect ratio. Choose Enter Custom to specify an aspect ratio that is not listed.
    Press Shift+A to select the Crop Overlay tool with the last-used aspect ratio.

    Lightroom stores up to five custom crop ratios. If you create more than that, the older ones drop off the list.

  3. Drag a crop handle to set the crop outline or drag with the Crop Frame tool .
    Press Shift as you drag a crop handle to temporarily constrain to the current aspect ratio.

Switch crop orientation

  1. Select the Crop Overlay tool  in the tool strip.
  2. Drag in the photo to set the crop boundary.
  3. Press X to change the orientation from landscape to portrait or portrait to landscape.

Straighten a photo

 Select the Crop Overlay tool  in the tool strip, and do one of the following:
  • Rotate the photo using the Angle slider.

  • Rotate the photo by moving the pointer outside a corner crop handle to display the Rotate icon , and then drag to rotate the image. The axis of rotation is the center of the crop rectangle.

  • Select the Angle tool , and then drag in the photo along a line that you want to be horizontal or vertical.

Holding down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) with the Straighten tool selected displays a grid that helps you straighten the photo.

Clear or undo a crop or straighten adjustment

 Click Reset in the Crop Overlay tool drawer.

Rotate or flip a photo in the Develop module

  • To rotate a photo in 90-degree increments, choose Photo > Rotate Left or Rotate Right. To rotate a photo to less than 90 degrees, see Straighten a photo. The photo rotates in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction around its center point.
  • To flip a photo horizontally from front to back so that you’re looking at a mirror image, choose Photo > Flip Horizontal. Objects that appeared on the left side appear on the right side, and vice versa. Text in the photo will show in reversed mirror image.
  • To flip a photo vertically from front to back so that you’re looking at a mirror image upside down, choose Photo > Flip Vertical.