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Custom Printing in Lightroom

I have to admit a certain bias here, I have a strong fondness for the Print module in Lightroom.. After years of trying to get Photoshop to print something that resembles what I have on the screen, Lightroom (with the proper printer/monitor calibration) prints it exactly as I see on my screen.

Today, I would like to show how to create a custom print page within Lightroom. The final output should look something like this

Lets start by going into the Print module

As you can see above, the print module is set up to print a single image. Choose the Custom Package which allows us to place multiple images on the page .

In this example, we want to create a landscape image so we need to change the Page setup.

Click on the Page Setup… button in the bottom left of the screen to bring up the dialog box below


In the Orientation section, click the right hand diagram to select landscape format and click OK. This will now show a blank landscape formatted page. Time to add some placeholders for our images, so in the Cells tab in the right hand panel, click one of the Add to Package buttons to add the placeholder.

This place holder is moveable and scaleable by dragging any of the square node points. One problem is not knowing where the centre of the page is..

It is possible within Lightroom to snap placeholders to a grid, to do this turn on the grid setting in Grid Snap and tick the Show Guides tab.. both are found in the Rulers, Grid & Guides tab in the right hand panel.

Having set that up, I added a couple more image placeholders using the Add to Package buttons mentioned previously.

My new placeholders are the wrong way round for the images I plan to use here, so all that needs to be done is click the Rotate Cell button in the Cells tab.

To add images to the placeholders is as easy as clicking the placeholder to select it and then dragging your image from the filmstrip at the bottom of the page. (don’t see the filmstrip? try pressing Shift-Tab till it appears)

I have chosen to overlap my images in this example. if one of the images had been hidden behind another, just right click (ctrl click on a mac) and a context sensitive menu allows you to move images forwards or backwards as required.

Now we come to a little work around…

I’d like to add a faded background image to the entire page. Lightroom doesn’t currently let you place a transparent background image but it does let you create one with the identity plate!

The trick to this is to have created an image that matches the size and aspect ratio of your printed page. In this example I have a photo saved earlier to the dimensions of an A4 page. In the Page Panel. click the tiny little arrow in the bottom right of the Identity Plate preview and select Edit…

Choose your image and press ok

Resize and locate your background by dragging with the cursor. Make sure the Render behind image box is ticked so that all your photos sit on top of the background.

I then lowered the Opacity of the Identity plate to about 65% and end up with the finished image below. This is now ready to be sent to the printer or printed to a Jpeg file as required.

Now that you have your design, you can drag and drop different images onto your placeholders to create different looks.



When you are happy with your design, it is always a good idea to save the template for future use. To do this, click the + button in the Template Browser panel on the left handside.


I hope you have found this useful and as always, feel free to ask any questions




About Scot Baston (31 Articles)
Scot Baston is a Commercial & Wedding Photographer that lives on the south coast of Devon, that inspires much of his work. Whether it the technical or emotive sides, Photography is a passion that continues to challenge and inspire.

7 Comments on Custom Printing in Lightroom

  1. Steve Foster // 11/08/2011 at 11:14 am //

    Great Tutorial Scot, Had a problem getting the background image to fully cover the A4 page. Used printer properties to enable borderless printing, then resized my image, saved it. Then used it as an identity plate. When fully scaled it would leave a thin white slither. Help!
    Steve Foster

  2. great stuff thanks for sharing……

  3. This is my missing link! I do almost everything in Lightroom now and I have been trying to figure out how to print a photo collage.like this. Thank you! Love Tip Squirrel. Scrappy Gen

  4. nice post thanks for sharing….

  5. How can we remove background from pictures with fine images like grass and human hair, specially when they are flying around? You wrote a very informative article. Thought you may be able to help.

  6. Once you have finished your layout, can you export it as a jpeg to put on your website or facebook page? I love to print these but would also like to show them off to potential clients to generate interest.

  7. I was able to answer my own question. Lightroom 4 in the print module gives you the option to “print to jpeg”. Great feature!

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