Is there a way to add useful aspect-ratio search to Lighroom?

The present interface (LR 3.2) gives only 3 options: Landscape, Portrait and Square. Those seem more like orientations than aspect-ratios to me.

I'd like to be able to see all the aspect ratios in catalog (3:2, 4:3, 2:1, etc) and filter by those. It is often the case that media requires a specific aspect ratio and this would make finding a matching image much more efficient. It is much hard to find an image that can be cropped to some specific ratio than one that was intended that way (I adhere to the 'fill-the-frame' principal, so I usually know in advance if I'm going to crop, and once its done, that's it).

5 Answers 5


Looks like there is no easy solution. Here is how I manage for now. It's neither automatic nor perfect and requires a little discipline but gets you a good part of the way there.

For cropped images, I used hierarchical keywords since Smart Collections are not flexible enough yet to distinguish between exact aspect ratios. Like this:

enter image description here

This is the part that requires discipline since, every time an image is cropped to one of these unusual-but-even aspect ratios, the right keyword must be applied. For example, images with 2:1 aspect ratio get the 2x1 keyword.

This obviously leaves out images with odd aspect ratios. Lucky for me, I only crop 1.2% of images.

For standard aspect ratios, I created an Aspect Ratio Collection Set and Smart Collections for each aspect ratio. Like this:

enter image description here

Above 3x2 is a Smart Collection which selects on:

  • Cropped is False
  • keywords does not contain AspectRatio
  • Camera contains DSLR K-5 K-7 K20D K10D EOS REBEL S5Pro E-5 E-620 SLT D3 D300 ...

Where .... is actually a long list of Nikon DSLR, since like Pentax, there is no identifying keyword for all of them. In the case of the 4x3 collection, that would be:

  • Cropped is False
  • keywords does not contain AspectRatio
  • Camera contains PowerShot Coolpix Finepix DiMAGE DMC DSC E-P1 E-PL2 Photosmart Optio Tough Stylus X70 XZ-1 Exilim EasyShare
  • camera does not contain S5Pro

It is a little easier since fixed-lens cameras are grouped into families by nearly everyone, for some reason you will notice the Pentax X70 does not say 'Optio'. Also note the Fuji S5Pro is part of the Finepix line, so it must be excluded explicitly.

Excluding the AspectRatio keyword hierarchy from these collections lets me label images that come out of cameras with a strange aspect ratio. A number of compact cameras for example support Sweep Panorama or Automatic Panorama features that produce images that do not correspond to the sensor's native aspect ratio. The same is required for multi-ratio cameras such as many Panasonic Lumix models. When such an image gets imported, simply labeling it with the correct AspectRatio keyword such as 7x1, excludes it from incorrectly appearing the the Aspect Ratio Smart Collection.

  • I am impressed, this is a lot of discipline. I can barely get myself to tag based on Lens.
    – BBischof
    Apr 12, 2011 at 18:47
  • 1
    Thanks! Guess it depends on priorities, I really do not mind searching for a specific lens (10756 of my images match 'Unknown lens'), but finding a photo that fits is very important to me! My images are cropped very tightly in-camera (can't work without a 100% coverage viewfinder anymore) so I can rarely simply crop an existing image to fit a requested format.
    – Itai
    Apr 12, 2011 at 19:09

Any Filter Lightroom Plugin by John Ellis lets you filter by aspect ratio and numeric aspect ratio, as well as filtering on a ton of other fields (it claims 305).

The way it works is a little strange at first, but pretty easy to get a hang of, especially if you make use of temporary collections to "save" the results.


Jeffrey Friedl just released a plugin that can filter by aspect ratio in various ways. See here: http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/data-explorer#criteria

However, it requires LR 4.1 or above.


I totally agree, Portrait, Landscape, and Square are orientations, not aspect ratios. At the moment, through LR3, there is no way to filter by a specific aspect ratio. It is possible to search by whether an image is cropped or not (true/false), but not by the specific aspect ratio.

This may be due to the fact that Lightroom does not limit you to any well-known, fixed ratios like 3:2 or 4:3, etc. It is possible to crop to any dimension, as well as rotate cropped images, which could complicate any such search algorithm.

  • How do we search for cropped images? I looked for that without any luck. I thought of the variety of aspect ratio but looking at the set of focal-lengths with decimals places... it would probably not be much worst. Then there is always the standard set plus 'other' approach.
    – Itai
    Nov 11, 2010 at 0:54
  • Just a note that instead of searching for cropped images, which you can't, you have to create a Collection which selects cropped images for you. That is pretty simple to do.
    – Itai
    Apr 12, 2011 at 14:38
  • That is indeed what I meant...you use a smart collection with the criteria "Cropped: true". Smart collections are technically just saved searches.
    – jrista
    Apr 12, 2011 at 18:35

Lightroom 4 has this:

enter image description here

While it's not as drill-down as the exact ratios, at least it gets you the verticals and horizontals.

  • 1
    You neither read my question nor jrista's answer. This was available in V3 too and are not aspect ratios.
    – Itai
    Jul 14, 2012 at 22:32

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