Dynamic Symmetry Overlay in Lightroom

I’ve been reading composition books and blogs in an attempt to discover new ways to organize the frame. One of those ways that I’m currently experimenting with is called dynamic symmetry, and is discussed extensively on James Cowman’s blog.

In this post, I’m exploring how to add the dynamic symmetry grid as a custom overlay in Lightroom.

Lightroom Loupe Overlays

At the time of writing, Lightroom CC is in version 2015.5.1 (1073342).

Lightroom comes with several crop guide overlays, but unfortunately the dynamic symmetry grid isn’t part of them. Although there is no way at the time of writing to customize the overlay grids, another feature can be exploited as a workaround: loupe overlays.

The original goal of this feature is to put an image in its context of use, such as adding all the surrounding text of a magazine cover. You will find this under the View menu:

The Loupe Overlay menu.

By creating a set of custom images, we can use this feature to our advantage to overlay a dynamic symmetry grid, using the Command + Option + O shortcut to toggle it:

The Dynamic Symmetry overlay.

Issues and limitations

At the time of writing, the feature is unfortunately super buggy, and seems to crash Lightroom only minutes after being enabled for the first time.

Another minor problem is that loupe overlays doesn’t follow the image orientation. In other words, you need both a horizontal and vertical grid images and manually switch between the two.

Download the overlay files

I created different flavors of the grid, for either light or dark lines, and horizontal or vertical orientation:

Arnaud Porterie

Arnaud Porterie
Arnaud Porterie is currently Deputy CTO at Veepee, and was previously a core maintainer of the Docker open-source project and engineering leader for the Engine team inside Docker, Inc.

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