Lightroom 2 Poster Template Tutorial

I received an email last week from a photographer in Michigan who was curious how I added the white border and text to my prints (posters actually). There are many ways to do this in Photoshop (and Scott Kelby’s books detail most of these methods) but I prefer to let Lightroom 2 handle the heavy lifting most of the time.

Enchanted Rock, Texas 20 x 16 Poster

The first step in creating this type of Print Template is to setup a custom Page Size in Lightroom 2 such as the 20″ x 16″ page shown above. I chose 20″ x 16″ since its a common frame size available and the white borders used result in a very viewable 17″ x 11″ image size.

Once you’ve set your page size you’ll need to change the Image Settings as shown below to add a medium gray Stroke Border around your image giving it the appearance of being matted.

Lightroom Print Layout Settings

Lightroom Image Settings & Layout

To create a poster Layout, you’ll need to change the Margins to add the white border and set the Page Grid to 1 row and 1 column. This should result in a Cell Size exactly 17″ wide and 11″ high.

I use Lightroom 2’s Overlay settings to add a custom Identity Plate to the white border below the image as shown below.

Lightroom's Overlay Settings

Lightroom's Overlay Settings

This is where things can get a little sticky so I’ve created three custom Identity Plate templates including a one-line, two-line and three-line version to add and modify as needed.

Lightroom's Identity Plate

Centering Lightroom's Identity Plate

Centering the Identity Plate in the bottom white border can be a little tricky in Lightroom 2 and this feature has been improved only slightly in the Lightroom 3 beta.

The best way I’ve found to do this is enlarge it to 100% and then center it with the edges of your image, moving it up and down, little by little until it looks about right. Then reduce to to somewhere between 60% – 75% until the text is smaller than the image width as shown above.

Editing an Identity Plate

Editing an Identity Plate

A few tricks to make this look really nice:

  • Use an all-caps font like Trajan Pro for a really elegant look.
  • Add a blank space between each letter in a word and three blank spaces between each word.
  • Create a multi-line identity plate by adding pressing Option+Return to start a new line.
  • Use different font sizes for different parts of the identity plate.

Once you’ve finished this you can save this as a Print Template to use again and again.

20 thoughts on “Lightroom 2 Poster Template Tutorial

  1. Mr. Jeff~ First of all, i like to thanks you for giving us instructions and everything! Everything came out great but at the end..when i saved it and it doesn’t show frame line when i upload on Flickr or Facebook. I appreciated it if you don’t mind replying back to email. I love to send you my pics for an example. Thank you

  2. Thanks for being one of the good guys and sharing your knowledge! I am new to the site, and i have added it as one of my daily reads! Also, I am looking forward to hanging up one of your posters!


  3. Great tip Jeff.

    I have one problem though. I can’t select a print template any larger then my printer will allow in lightroom, I would like to do this and send it off to a lab and have it printed, is this possible to choose a 20×16 layout with only a standard printer?


  4. Wow, I’m just about to pull the trigger on the Epson 3880 and this intro to lightroom print templates is most appreciated! I look forward to more posts regarding the art of printing, many thanks.

    • Jeffrey,

      Thanks for reading. I don’t do any of my own printing right now and have no plans to print ‘in-house” in the future. I’ve found outsourced printing by Mpix Pro / Millers to offer much higher quality and value. The best blog on printing goes to John-Paul Caponigro, the Zen Master of digital printing.


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