Video – Tips for Laying Out Your Prints

I get lots of questions about how to lay out your photos for a specific size print. In Lightroom we’ve got contact sheets, grids, picture packages and lots of control over printing. But if you want, say a simple 8×10, what’s the best way? If you want to print a borderless 5×7 what do you do? That’s what we’re going to tackle in this video.

Click here to download the video to your computer. [Right-click and choose the “Save As” option]


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  1. Great video -I have been wrestling with this for months (borderless issue). Well done.


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  2. Thanks for the video Matt. I want to use the print module, but your Page Setup window on the Mac is very different than the one in Windows. I have several printers but none have any standard print sized photographs like 8×10. As such, I cannot format a new print template as an 8×10, 5×7 or 4×6, only sizes like “Letter”, “Legal”, “A4”, etc.

    I mostly use the print module to create a collage for export as JPG to upload to a service provider for printing. It would be extremely helpful to include the option to manually set the page size and not rely on the specifics of the printer I happen to use. I am using Vista which doesn’t have drivers for some of the printers I use anyways.

    If I try to do anything in the Page Setup form like change the orientation, it also sets the paper size which is not desired. I need to be able to set the orientation, page size, etc. manually.

    Here is an example collage that I put together easily:

    But another that was a complete pain trying to get the order of the photos right:

    My customers seem like this print collage option, but they can be difficult to setup in Lightroom. Without switching orientation, you can tell Lightroom to “Rotate to fit”, but the order of the pictures doesn’t match the order of the pictures in the panel (plus you are now working sideways). You have to randomly drag the photo order until you come up with an arrangement that works.


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  3. Woo Hoo! Thanks Matt, at last a simple explination of what I was doing wrong &/or missing out.
    Previously I had been taking my images back into photoshop for print, to get the results I wanted. This is much quicker.

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  4. Is a lack of ability to soft-proof not an issue then? Frankly I don’t use the print module in Lightroom because there is no way that I am aware of to check out of gamut colors, so I open the image in Photoshop to use its Gammut Warning command. Does Lightroom automatically correct out of gammut colors?

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  5. Matt,

    I would love to watch the video, but my audio cuts out at 00:25. Any thoughts?

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  6. Hey Matt
    quote “I remember Rick Sammon saying “the name of the game is to fill the frame” and to “compose in camera”. unquote….
    There’s an idea for a tut! Aspect ratios between sensors, screens and print / Paper sizes…etc. And if you really want to explode peoples brains you could cover standard Frame mount sizes ! ! !
    I started photography with 35 mm film and quickly learned that the only time you filled the frame was when you were shooting slide film. Printing always meant cropping something of the ends or white spaces on your prints. Nowadays with different sensor sizes the whole ratio thing needs to be explained properly.
    Incidentally I would recommend to people that they make a copy of the image and rename it “file name_print size” do whatever crop you need to fit the print size and then go to print. Saves a lot of messing around and of course you have it all ready if you need to make a second copy in the future.

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  7. @Gary

    In the page setup options in the printer setup (source > paper) you have to select borderless paper. For example I have Epson 1290, and in the sheet options there are the following settings

    Roll Paper
    Roll Paper – No margins
    Sheet Paper
    Sheet Paper – No margins

    So I would choose ‘Sheet Paper – no margins’ to do borderless printing on a single sheet, as this then allows the margins to be set to 0.

    Please check what your printer setup options are. There should be a borderless, or no margin paper option.

    Hope this helps.

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  8. Matt,
    Would you suggest the same method to print to a file for sending to Mpix or is using the export command a better way to go? Excellent video!

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  9. Great video!! but can someone help me!! I can’t change my margins to zeros, the smallest I can go 0.25.. Help!!!

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  10. excellent video… very well presented… got a question though… i know i have asked this before (in another posting of yours) but never gotten an answer… probably because there’s simply no way of doing it right now… but since i didn’t get any confirmation to the contrary… won’t hurt to ask again… i usually use the print module to embed my identity plate and printing in jpeg before exporting to flickr (only to avoid going to photoshop and back)… it’s working as i want it to but… of course there’s a but… i wanted to preserve the EXIF data (which the regular export does)… is there a way to get the EXIF data included in the jpeg output of the print module?

    thanks in advance!

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    • Did you ever get and answer to your missing exif data in the print module print to jpeg option?

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  11. I remember Rick Sammon saying “the name of the game is to fill the frame” and to “compose in camera”. Following those instructions leaves me extremely frustrated when I have to crop my carefully composed image in order to print it. Why are the standard print sizes at odds with the aspect ratio of our digital SLR’s? Should be shooting by leaving a border of unwanted material around my desired composition to allow for cropping at print time? I have done some prints to 6 x 9 paper just so I didn’t have to ruin my image by cropping but this is non-standard, requiring a custom frame. Suggestions please!

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  12. thanks for the excellent presentation on borderless printing with Lightroom.
    I have another problem with Lightroom printing. On your DVD you state that one can turn off the resolution setting and lightroom will use the native resolution of your image. Well, how does one know the native resolution – where is this information found in lightroom. One can choose a resolution on exporting, but what if you are printing a raw file directly from lightroom – what is it’s resolution. I can only find the pixelxpixel information.
    Also what if one is printing a very small image – how does one know if the image size chosen (8×10 for example) has enough resolution to print well?

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  13. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the video … very helpful! I have struggled with the lightroom print module for some reason, but now I think I know what I’m doing wrong. Setting up the paper size first and then making the changes. Also, I was always confused with Contact and Picture package. Now I know. I guess I’m a little slower than most. :-). Thanks again for your videos and tips! They have helped me a lot!


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  14. First, thank you and great video.
    It would be nice if lightroom could handle gallery style prints a bit better as well. For example, if I wanted a thin black outline around the photo, with about twice as much black at the bottom, and some text. Even creating this as a .png in photoshop and using the identity plate gives limited success – often a thin white line around the photo, or other strange affects.

    How do you take your photo and now print this type of gallery photo ?

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  15. If you want to centre a photo on (for example) a 10×8 sheet of paper, with large margins (areas of white) then don’t adjust the margins in the print module settings!
    Just choose “borderless” 10×8, and then change the cell size until the right size of margin is shown. The photo is automatically centred.


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