Changing Aspect Ratio


Today’s Question: Is there an easy way to change the aspect ratio of an existing image (Lightroom, Photoshop, etc.)? I have a client who needs the photos I took of his house in 4:3 format versus 16:9.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can crop many images at once in Lightroom to any specific aspect ratio using a crop preset in the Library module.

More Detail: For reasons I’m not aware of, you can’t create a preset in the Develop module in Lightroom that includes cropping. However, you can crop as part of the Quick Develop set of controls available on the right panel in the Library module.

If you want to apply the crop in an automated way to multiple images, the first step is to select the images you want to crop and then make sure you are viewing those photos in the grid view (not the loupe view). To switch to the grid view simply press the letter “G” on the keyboard.

With the images selected in the grid view, you can click the spinner control (the triangle) to the right of the Saved Preset popup to reveal the Crop Ratio popup. Click that popup and choose the desired aspect ratio. All of the selected images will be cropped based on that aspect ratio, with the vertical versus horizontal orientation respected for the crop.

It is important to keep in mind that when you crop multiple images in this way the crop will be centered on the photo. This won’t always create the best result for each image. Of course, you could always revisit the crop for each image by selecting the image you want to refine and choosing the Crop tool in the Develop module.