Lightroom’s printing capabilities are amazing. Its ease of use and variety of features blow me away! One of the things I like about it is the ability to create a fine art print, like the one shown above.
Outputting Your Fine Art Print to an Image – Finally!
Version 1 allowed you to send a fine art print to the printer, but if you wanted it in an electronic copy for e-mailing, sending to an online printer, or for posting on the web, you had to use another method, like Photoshop. Lightroom 2 changes all that. It now allows you to export the fine art prints you set up in the Print module directly to a JPEG.
Changing the Background Color of Your Fine Art Print
One thing that Lightroom 2 doesn’t allow you to do directly, though, is change the background color of the fine art print. It is always set to white. If you use the right steps, though, you’ll be able to create something with any background color you’d like. The rest of this post provides steps on how to change the background color of your fine art prints directly in Lightroom 2 and then export them to a JPEG (the color changing techniques will still work in Lightroom 1, you just won’t be able to export it to a JPEG).
How to Do It
We have 2 things going on here. First, we need to change the color of the background of the fine art print. Second, we need to output it as an image. Several steps require that you create an image outside Lightroom. I use Photoshop in the examples, but you could use any similar image editing program.
How to Change the Color
- Determine the size you want your final fine art print to be. I find that an 8×10″ provides a nice size, especially when posting on the web or e-mailing. Any size could be used, though. You’ll also want to decide about how much area will be taken up by the photo and how much will be color and/or your logo or descriptive text. I choose to set my fine art prints to have more space around the image than others do.
- Open Photoshop and create a blank document at the size you chose in step 1. If the fine art print will be used for the web/email/etc., set the resolution to 72. If you’ll be printing it, I recommend setting it to 300. Click OK.
- Fill the document with the color that you’d like the background of your fine art print to be. Also, place any logos or other text in the document. Make sure to place them in areas that won’t be covered by a picture in the final fine art print. Most people place the logo/text directly below the image area.
- Save the document as a .jpeg or .tiff file.
- Open Lightroom and go to the Print module.
- In the Layout section, set your margins and cell size as needed to have your image fill the fine art print as much/little as you’d like. I also typically check the Zoom to Fill option in the Settings panel. It makes sure that the image fills the entire available area. You can click/drag the image to position it as needed in its assigned space.
- The key to changing the background color is to change the overlay. In many cases, this is used to simply place a logo or other text on the image. Go ahead and check the Identity Plate option and click the down arrow just below that setting and choose Edit. Click the Locate File… button and choose the file that you saved back in step 4. Once chosen, click the OK button.
- Make sure that the Opacity and Scale sliders are both set to 100%.
- At this point, your image may be hidden by your new frame. To move it behind the image, click the Render Behind Image option. You can click/drag on the background to position it correctly. [Update - positioning it exactly can be very difficult. Read this recent post on how to get it exact.]
- Your fine art print is now ready to export as an image.
Output the Fine Art Print as an Image
Now that your fine art print is built, you can export it as an image.
- Go to the Print Job panel. Select JPEG File from the Print to: drop-down.
- Set the File Resolution to 72.
- Set the appropriate JPEG Quality – I find that 80 is a good balance between quality and file size.
- Set the Custom File Dimensions to the size of your document. Mine are set to 8×10″.
- Set the Profile to sRGB, which is the preferred color profile when viewing your image on a monitor.
- Once done, click the Print to File… button. Give your image a name and save it to a location on your computer.
That should do it. Hopefully you now have an image of your fine art print, with a different background color. I would recommend saving this as a print preset, which allows you to easily re-use it in the future.
A reminder of the final image…