Update! 08/2010: If you’re using Lightroom 3, these templates will not work correctly. LR3 users need the new layout templates. You can download them here for free.
by Gavin Seim Most of us Lightroom users have heard about print templates. What most don’t know is the super cool trick to use them for simple album page layouts for albums and press printed books. Matt recently posted a video on LR Killer Tips about tweaking template settings to allow multiple images on one layout.
I’ve made a set of print presets that allows you to make some quick square layouts like the one’s below. Great for press printed books and albums. Load em up, select the layout, then select the photo’s you want used. There’s eight in this set and all have about 1/4″ edge space to allow trim room for books. Best of all is their FREE.
LR2 has no way to add a black background itself, so I used this workaround. I’ve included a black file in the download and there’s more details in the help file. Once set up you can turn on “Identity Plate” in the settings and load the black background as desired. A future version of LT should include this feature without a workaround.
UPDATE V1.1: 6/2009, Minor tweaks were made and a new square preset was added.
UPDATE V1.2: 4/2010, Disabled auto rotation (more control), added new Square/2 Corner layout. Bug fixes.
Using The Template Presets:
Unzip the and install. If you don’t know the basics of installing presets check my video out. It centers around Develop presets but the install method is basically the same. These just go in the “Print Templates” folder instead of “Develop Presets”/
Once installed, go to the print module and select the layout you want. You can mouse over presets to get a layout preview (top left). Select multiple images from the filmstrip. This will populate the layout. Bear in mind we’re pushing the limits of how LR layouts were meant to be used so there are a few quirks. For example LR seems to place images in the layout based on the order sorted, irrelevant of what order you select them in.
If an image does not fill the correct cell, there’s a couple solutions. You can fill the first cells, then drag an image manually onto the layout space of the last cell so it remains ordered. This tends to place an extra frame on the layout, but that can just be deleted. Another solution if all images are out of order is to make a collection for your images as you can manually sort it in the desired order before going to the print module and LR should automatically place the images in that order.
Images will fill the cell irrelevant of aspect ratio (V1.2). If the cell crop of the image is not the way you want, hold the CMD key (CNTRL on PC) and drag the image inside the cell to the crop that works. Also don’t hesitate to play with the settings and make your own presets that fit your use style best (changing border styles etc) You can mod setting and update an existing presets or make a new one. You can add to a layout by dragging in extra image and placing them manually. It’s fast since it retains the other settings of the current layout.
Exporting & Printing:
Once you have the desired look you can print it out directly. More often however you’ll probably want to export them to send to a lab or make a book. While export does not actually work from the print module, you can quickly achieve the same result by printing to JPEG.
To export the layout just use “Print To JPEG” from the “Print Job” menu in the right side (see image). Click the “Print To File” button and the file will save out as high res JPEG file ready to be used. Repeat for each layout and Presto you have your ready to upload or save for later.
NOTE: Regarding the “Failed to convert native image to blob” error in the comments. This seems to be a problem with LR that can occur with any print presets. I’ve done some further research and it seems it may be related to having an image referenced in the identity plate that does not exist. I did some updates in V1.2 that hopefully will help those having issues. You might also attempt to fix errors by installing them manually and copying them directly into the print presets folder (as outlined in this video).