Creating Back-screened Images in Lightroom

Back-screening is a popular method of taking a full color image and lightening it so dramatically that you can easily put text over it and have it be clearly readable, or add another smaller inset photo on top of it and have it stand out, etc.. You’ll see this used a lot for the title slide of a slideshow or maybe in a wedding book, or just for an effect.

You start in the Develop module but finish in the Print Module where you can save your image as a JPEG and then reimport it and use it anywhere (from a photo book to a print to a slideshow — all in Lightroom). Here’s how:

Backscreen 1


Here’s the original image open in Lightroom. Now, in the Develop Module, go the Tone Curve panel (as seen here).

Backscreen 2


Grab the bottom left corner point of the Curve (well, of the diagonal straight line), and drag straight upward (as seen here). The higher you drag, the more pronounced the back-screened effect will be.

Backscreen 3


Now bounce over to the Print Module; scroll down to the Page module and turn on the Checkbox for Identity Plate. Now click and hold on the bottom right corner of the Identity Plate preview (in the Page module) and from the pop-up menu choose Edit to bring up the Identity Plate Editor you see above. Now, enter your text (I used Bickham Script Pro which comes with Photoshop, so if you have Photoshop installed, you should have this font. If you don’t, just choose a nice script font. I also used all-lowercase just for looks.

Backscreen 4a


When you click the “OK” button in the Identity Plate Editor it adds your text (though it will be centered, so in this case I just clicked and dragged it up into the empty space at the top to complete the effect.). Now you can save it as a JPEG in the Print Job folder; reimport that new JPEG image (it will have the back screen effect and the type just like you see above), and use that anywhere you like within Lightroom (or anywhere else for that matter).

Pretty darn simple, eh? I love when they’re simple. 🙂



Backscreen 5

ABOVE: You can also use this back-screen technique if you want to inset a photo on top of another photo (as seen above) using the Print Module’s Custom Custom Package feature. If you all want me to do a quick tutorial on how to do this variation, let me know and I’ll put one together for ya. (By the way: I changed the font here to P22-Cezanne).

Hope that starts your Monday off with something useful.



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