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.

Bird Photography – Getting Ready to Print in Lightroom

One of the final steps in my Lightroom RAW workflow is to take the best overall “selects” from a shoot and prepare them to be printed by Mpix.com. The easiest way to accomplish this is by creating a print template which includes all the layout information as well as all the print job information (as shown in the three screen captures below). Then you just select the image you want to print in the Filmstrip panel and you’re ready to “print” your image to a jpeg file which can be uploaded to Mpix.com.

I know I’ve said this before but the best place to learn more about using Lightroom’s Print module is in Scott Kelby’s new book The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Book for Digital Photographers or at Matt Kloskowski’s Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Killer Tips blog.

Lightroom Print Template

Lightroom Print Template layout and print job settings for a 16″ x 20″ fine art print including a custom identity plate. Mpix can print this high-resolution jpeg in 4′ x 5″, 8″ x 10″ or 16″ x 20″ sizes and the prints look great!

Lightroom Layout SettingsLightroom Print Job Settings