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5 Steps for Creating Your Own Print Templates in Lightroom

5 Steps for Creating Print Templates in Lightroom

Lightroom is an amazingly powerful program.  We all love it for the ways that it saves us time in editing and the simplicity of editing.

However, most of our focus is on the ways that it can help us save time in the Develop Module.  In this post, I want to share with you how it can save you time blogging and creating beautiful products collages for your clients.

Lightroom's Print Module has the power to create these things for you without you ever having to leave Lightroom.  And you can do it in just a few simple steps.

Where to find the Print Module

1. Get Started

Navigate to the Print Module in Lightroom.  You'll find it between the Slideshow and Web Modules and the second module from the right.

Layout Style and Print Job Panels in Lightroom

2. Tweak Your Settings

Once you are in the Print Module, you'll need to let Lightroom know the size and type of print template you are creating.  This involves changing the settings in two different panels—the Layout Style Panel and the Print Job Panel.

In the Layout Style Panel, I make sure that I have "Custom Package" selected.

In the Print Job Panel, I make sure that I have "JPEG File" selected next to the words Print To.  This makes sure that Lightroom knows that at the end of this process I want to save this as a JPEG and not print it directly to my printer. Next, I set my File Resolution to 300 ppi, uncheck the Print Sharpening box, and make sure my JPEG Quality slider is all the way to 100.

The last setting you need to customize is the Custom File Dimensions.  Make sure the box next to this setting is checked.  Then, in the boxes below, tell Lightroom what size image you want to end up with.  You can set any settings here that you'd like.  5x7, 8x10, or anything larger and custom that you'd like to create.

Cells Panel in Lightroom's Print Module

3. Add Your Photos

Now we need to add photos to this collage.  To do this, start in the Cells Panel inside the Print Module. Make sure that the "Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio" box is unchecked.  Next, click on one of the cell size buttons to add it to your collage.  You can adjust the shape and size of the cell you add so there is really  no need to worry too much about which one you select.

Use the handles around the photo box to adjust it's size and shape and location. Lightroom operates best if there is at least a tiny bit of white space between your photo boxes. It doesn't seem like it should make a difference but it does.  Trust me.  It will be easiest if whenever possible you leave at least a small bit of white between your boxes.

When you have your boxes how you would like them, go ahead and drag and drop the photos you want into each of the boxes.  If you want to move the photo around within the box, hold down the cmd/ctrl key and then click and drag on the photo to reposition it.

How to Save your Print Module Creation in Lightroom

4. Saving Your Lightroom Creation

To save your, click the "Print to File" button on the lower right-side of the Print Module.  Lightroom will open a dialog box so that you can give this file a name and tell it where to save it.  It will save as a JPEG file that you can upload to the web or to your favorite place to make prints.

If this is a file that you are going to save and share on the web, you can try decreasing the JPEG quality a bit or reducing the File Resolution a bit to reduce the file size.

 How to save a print template in Lightroom

5. Saving Your Template for Next Time

If this is a template that you'd like to use again, you can save it as a template that will be ready to use the next time you need it.  On the left-side of the Print Module, locate the Template Browser Panel.  Click the "+" sign next to Template Browser. 

This will open up a Lightroom dialog box that will allow you to give this template a name and choose which folder inside your Template Browser to save it in.  If you don't have any folders set up to save it in, just choose the "User Templates" that is there by default in Lightroom.

Troubleshooting Tips

  • If your cells will are moving and snapping to certain dimensions, go to the Rulers, Grid & Guides Panel and make sure you have Grid Snap turned to OFF.
  • If the photo cells are changing ratio when you place your photo inside, move to the Cell Panel and uncheck "Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio."
  • If you aren't used to using Inches to set your Custom File Dimensions, you can change the Ruler Units to Centimeters (or other options) in your Rulers, Grid & Guides Panel.  Set your "Ruler Units" to whatever works best for you.
  • If you want to place images from multiple folders into a collage, you will need to create a Collection and add the photos you want to use to the Collection.  Collections are what Lightroom uses in Book, Slideshow, Print and Web Modules to find photos.

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