Q&A Day (The Picture Package Aftermath)

Hey folks. First off, thanks for all of the positive feedback from the multi-photo layout in the Picture package video last week. I got so many questions from it that I thought I’d cover them in one post.

What’s interesting though, is that I started out to write a Q&A post but I also wanted to include some overall points about this picture package/print/album thing. I think by reading this, you’ll have most of your questions answered.

The thing that started this whole discussion was when I stated that Lightroom’s print module is not geared for creating books and albums. The picture package workaround/tip I gave may change that for some people but it’s just that – a workaround. You’re still going to have all the frustrations that you had before because this is not an album/book creating program. You still won’t: 1) be able to change the color of the background, 2) Be able to screen the background photo or control it’s opacity, 3) print CD/DVD stickers, 4) Add text the way you REALLY want to, 5) Add Identity plates on all pages, or 6) Add real graphics or captions to the pages.

I’m NOT saying that these things aren’t possible in the Print module in Lightroom. But when they are possible they’re hacks and workaround and you’ll get the results and frustrations that you’re used to getting with hacks and workarounds. Oh yeah, you can’t get mad at Adobe (or me) for this. Why? Repeat after me. “Lightroom is not a book/album layout program”. OK, now that we have that behind us, let’s move on to the Q&A’s.

Q. This multi-photo picture package thing is great! But how can I send these layouts to my lab in JPEG format?

A. In Lightroom 2, in the Print module scroll down the right side panels to the Print Job panel. The top option reads Print To. Change it’s setting to JPEG file.

Q. I see a yellow warning triangle on the top right of the picture package when displayed. What does that mean and how can I get rid of that?
A. If you hover your cursor over the triangle, Lightroom is telling you that some of the cells on the page overlap and may not look right when printing. If you’re printing a picture package (which LR thinks you are at this point), then it makes sense. You wouldn’t want to cover the images up. In this case, it’s OK since you have probably laid your photos out that way.

Q. Can you change the Opacity of each image in the layout?
A. Nope.

Q. Can you change the page color of these layouts?
A. Nope. I do have a workaround in this video though.

Q. Is there a way to change the way the photo appears (the crop) in the frame?
A. Yep. Check out last Friday’s tip.

Q. Is there a way to customize the text in the Identity Plate?
A. I saw lots of “Identity Plate” questions. The identity plate is actually pretty basic. You can put simple text and some fairly simple graphics in there. If you’re trying to create a fancy layout with it, you’re going to get frustrated. It’s just not meant for that. I’m not saying you can’t do it, but there’s other products out there that are better suited for creating more complex layouts with text and graphics.

Whew! I hope I took care of most of your questions. In the end, I think the workaround is definitely cool and it does open up the possibilities of what we can do in the Print module. There’s still room for improvement though and unless Adobe decides to make a “Album” or “Photo Book” plug-in module for Lightroom, I’m not sure we’ll see a dramatic change in the layout features of the Print module. I think it does what it’s supposed to do (print photos) better then anything else in the industry. That said, this book layout thing sounds like a great place for a 3rd party plug-in company to jump in doesn’t it. Oh well. We can hope right? Thanks for reading.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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19 Comments

  1. Loud’n’clear Matt. Again you show you really read en listen to your audience. Thanx. Helpful advice again.

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  2. Hi Matt,

    I have managed to add the identity plate on all the pages in a very simple way.
    Before I selected all the photos in the filmstrip and then I selected the Multi photo template.
    I used the template “Square 3 photo wedding” and I created a Quick Collection of 1140 pictures
    and I got 380 pages with identity plate: (1140/3 = 380).

    Best regards,
    Enzo

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  3. Hi Matt,
    Enjoy your Lightroom blog and more from you. I love the LR print module, except I am having problems and I’ve looked everywhere for an answer. As I read this post I thought you might be able to help.
    I print one image, looks great, then I print a second copy and it is darker by a stop or two. Can’t get it to print like the first one. I’ve checked profile, etc.
    I’m using a MacBook Pro, 10.5, to an Epson 7600.
    Thanks, Jim

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  4. Matt,
    Still can’t download the video just a white page with figures and words appears. This is the only time this has ever happened with your lightroom videos. What is the cause?

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  5. Matt
    I am a follower of your blog and enjoy your help and sense of humour.

    I do think your comment “LightroomÂ’s print module is not geared for creating books and albums.” Somewhat misses the point. Many amateurs find it more economical to print several different images on one sheet of paper and cut them to size as required.

    You are right its not geared for that but even the old picture package in photoshop CS had the functionality that we have to hack to get to work in lightroom!

    This is the one area I feel lets down lightroom 2. Lets hope adobe will address this in the next update.

    Cheers

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  6. Enzo…”mille grazie” once more!…i even managed to get the same result by simply selecting a number of photos in the filmstrip (without having to create a Quick Collection)…

    – for example, in the Print Module i used a multi-photo print template laying out 4 photos per page;

    – then i selected 8 photos from the filmstrip;

    – i turned on the Identity Plate option in the Overlays panel on the right;

    – LR nicely created 2 pages (4 photos per page – 8 photos in total, just as I had selected them in the filmstrip) and bingo!… the Identity Plate appeared on each of them!

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  7. Hi Rodney,
    I think there’s two issues here.

    1) The multi-photo “actual” picture package thing – I totally agree with you. We had that functionality before so why not now? And I can see your point about a photographer wanting to save on print time by printing multiple photos in a traditional picture package. Heck, I’ve done it before. I definitely think the folks at Adobe know this and I have confidence that it’ll get fixed.

    2) My comment “LR is not geared for printing books and albums” is absolutely still correct. It’s not geared for books and albums. The multi-photo picture package thing that I showed as it relates to books (which is what just about every commenter that day was excited about) is a hack. Notice all the comments said something to the effect of “This is great, but for my albums I like to put ?? on there and LR won’t do it”. It’s trying to get LR to do something it’s not supposed to do and I still think that’s the case.

    Great point though about the use of multiple photos in a traditional picture package. I missed that one but it’s very true.

    Thanks.
    – Matt K

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  8. Hi Matt,
    Great tip converting the picture package. I may have a better/faster way to add a colored background than adding an identity plate.
    In Photoshop, build a new canvas, (any letter size should work) and fill the background with 50% gray. Import the gray image into Lightroom then add a graduated filter with a 100% hardness line and fill the entire gray image with the filter. I selected a royal blue for the filter color and selected 100% saturation.
    Now, by changing the color temp. of the image and exposure settings, one can adjust the image to about any color desired. Open a multi-image picture package and use this newly converted “once gray” image to cover the entire background of the paper as the first image added which will make the solid color a background fill.
    This will give a easily convertible background and keep one from having to add a new graphic Identity Plate in Photoshop when they want to change background colors.
    Keep up the great work,
    Barry G.

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  9. Just to let you know, I also am unable to download the video (lines with letters and diamonds appear). This is the first time this has happened for me.

    Thanks!
    Ray K

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  10. I’m sure this has covered before, but the conversation around printing packages has prompted a question.

    Is there a way to use LR to mimic the old iCards? I like to send quick thank-you notes to my customers using one of the images that they ordered. I’m currently using a program called “postcard,” but I’d love to find a way to do it within LR. And given the package ability together with the slick export functionality, I have to think that someone cleverer than myself has figured this out.

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  11. Raymond – Not sure what to tell you here. I just downloaded it on a Mac and PC and it works fine. Maybe try checking if there’s an update for Quicktime.

    Steve – There’s probably a way with a custom Identity Plate but it’s not going to be pretty or easy to work with. I’d suggest sticking with your program if it works.

    Thanks,
    Matt

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  12. Hello Matt,
    love your blog, read it all the time and finally I ask a question instead of waiting till you probably will answer it anyway.

    I print my prints externally in a Lab, using print to file in LR. I have to sign all prints digitally in the right bottom corner and know that I can use a image to do that, but is there any way to free rotate my signature? I only find 90/-90/180? Or do I have to do that in PS and then import a already rotated signature image?
    Hope you can help.
    Thanks and please keep up your great work. I also use this comment to say that you helped me saving many, many hours on your videaos on Kelby training – great stuff!

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  13. Hey Matt,

    LabPrints.com software is releasing a Lightroom plug-in that exports images from Lightroom directly into their composite designer layout program. No hacks or workarounds. Have a look. I will be giving a free webinar on Monday 2/23 1PM (est) and Tuesday 2/24 2PM (est)
    http://www.labprints.com/website/webinar-schedules.php

    LabPrints has options to print directly to over 100 pro-labs or to Photoshop PSD. Very cool.

    John Flaherty

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  14. You can change the color of the backround by making the backround in Photoshop and putting it in the collection you want to use multiple pictures of. Make a full sized print of the backround for your first image and drag the rest from the second page onto the first. I put 8-5 x 7’s on a 16 x 24 with no problems. If you have the dimensions for placement written down it’s not a problem. You can’t save the template with the backround but printing from LR is a joy and makes up for that hassle.

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  15. hi, today i see the video and put my mac to work with this feature. make some folders with different print presets for each page of the future album with different compositions. First make some rgb-black in photoshop to make black, grey backgrounds and put this in the collection for wedding albums and studio sessions.

    In each folder i have around 30 print presets with the tip of true/false, and each composition is for make a wedding album page, naming page1,page2, etc.

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  16. I have a large picture with smaller pictures inside. The smaller pictures get a thin white edge around it. How can I fit the picture so the white edge doesn’t show?

    Thanks from Chris

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  17. I first have to say how much your information has helped me streamline my workflow and get greater results in post production, thanks for everything you do!!
    There are many times that I send prints to a Noritsu 3111 printer that cannot read embedded color profiles, it simply will disregard this info.
    Can you tell me how the LR print module managed this profile when saving as a JPEG? Does it embed the profile or does it “convert to profile”?
    Thanks from Jerry

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