Image Management, Lightroom, Photographers, Photography, Processing, Technical, Tutorials

Loupe overlay option in Lightroom – Tutorial

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Lightroom has always proven to be a worthy software for photo-processing. Following my post about customising View options, Overlay option in Lightroom is not a recent new addition, but it is usually long before one could realise the presence of that feature. Today you will be able to see how we could implement this tool in our daily photo processing works.

Overlay is laying an image over your working photograph to see how well both go together visually before we could finalise it. For example, Magazine covers need a transparent file (with the graphics and other text displayed) which we could place over a photograph and decide the best combination. As you might know, this file needs to be created in Photoshop or other graphic softwares. A detailed tutorial on this topic is here by Scott Kelby.

This feature is not only meant for magazine covers. You can have a colour chart and lay it over the photograph to correct specific colours in it even better. A colour chart or colour strip can be self-made using Photoshop.

The idea is, not to make your eye accustomed with the colours being displayed but be more focused on the colour that you had originally envisioned. The more time you spend in front of the monitor, your eyes will deceive you by showing you unrealistic colours. This way, you would eventually deviate from the colours you had in mind, for the photograph. To make sure your eyes are alert and sensible to all the colours, a colour strip overlay is used.


Screenshot 2017-04-22 14.42.20

Screenshot of colour and grey strip laid over a monochrome photograph


In order to set your Overlay Image/color strip, first keep your image/color strip in a safe folder, which you generally don’t access (I keep it in the applications folder). This is to avoid an accidental deletion of this file.

Go to Menu bar, View —-> Loupe Overlay —-> choose Layout Image (refer the below screenshot). This click will open up the Finder and you will be able to navigate to the overlay file.

Screenshot 2017-04-22 14.42.46


Once you linked the overlay image to Lightroom then the overlay file shall be seen over the editing image by enabling the tool by clicking Menu View→ Loupe Overlay → Show. The shortcut to display the Overlay image is Option +Command+ O (For Windows users Alt + Ctrl + O)

TIP: Press and Hold “Cmd” to move the overlay image over the photo to be process.

Voila! That’s it. You are set to try this feature with any image you would like. Let us see how you make the best use of this.


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Navanee Viswa

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