Video – Printing on a Black Background

Ah… the old printing on a black background trick! Sounds simple right? Actually it is but there’s a little trickery involved. A lot of folks have asked how to get Lightroom to let you print on to a black background instead of the usual white. In this week’s video I’ll show you exactly how to do just that. It involves a little Photoshop (really quick, I promise) too but I think you’ll find it’s really easy and it can make a dramatic difference with the right print.

Click here to watch the video. (8 Mb)


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  1. I was wondering if you are able to use the black background or the layouts for posting on facebook/ website and not for printing? I am trying to save my finished layout in “My Pictures” and when I go to find it, it is not there. Probably something simple I’m not doing.

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  2. Hi Matt,

    To waste your identity plate as a background frustrated me. So I came with the fallowing solution. You already showed Anzo’s tip for using multiple size image in LR. so I just add a new JPEG file that is all black (or any other color for that mater) and placed it in the background. it is much easier to play with it now, and the plate identity is still free to add what ever you like. coming to think of it you can create what ever text you like on PS and just add it like that…
    I hope it helps πŸ™‚


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  3. Hi Matt,

    I tried this on LR2, using a 70 cm x 50 cm jpeg (so i print to a jpeg with the same size). Whatever i try i keep getting a thin white line on the side of the image, making the background bigger does not help (in the jpg) changing the size of the image does not help either. Any clue what is wrong here ?

    many thanks,


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  4. Matt,

    Thats a real short coming of LR2. To waste your identity plate as a background is stupid… I know you love LR2 but you got to call it as you see it… they should be able to choose the background color…
    The biggest reason I upgraded to LR2 is for the better printing….but I’m still baffeled at this oversight…


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  5. Whew! I figured it out. My 5×7 inch template’s dimension wasn’t exact! It had to be 5×7.013 inch.

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  6. Hey Matt,

    Thanks so much for all the killer tips. I came looking back for this specific tip now that “print to file” is available in LR 2.0 beta. Sometimes though, centering the black template/background is so difficult it drives me insane! ^_^ Any tip on how to center it easier?


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  7. Thank YOU! Great tip, you just saved me a bunch of hours πŸ™‚

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  8. Matt,
    I had to take the time ( out of my now pending printing deadline ) to jump on the opportunity to hopefully give back a little! Seriously you been such a delight and a tremendous help in my life. Thank you for all you have done!
    In your reply to Hannes… you said there is no way to render text other than putting it on the image itself……Why not ON the background image you make include the text you want! Filename… title, customer name…whatever need be! The possibilities are endless. I would not hasten to believe you’ve though of this… but just in case…. I had to point it out!
    Many many sincere thanks to you and the rest of the crew… I watch every single video….read every blog…. and lose much sleep… and love ya for it!
    Best wishes and Happy New Year.

    P.S. I hope my website gets a few minutes of your time… I would love to share my work with someone of such accomplishment.

    Jason Joseph

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  9. The video for this is not working , comes up as a text file. Can you please fix it I would like to see this video.

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  10. Thanks. wonderful blog. hey jesse, go to page setup and make sure that the printer paper is a borderless one.
    I had a random question about printing but didn’t know where to ask. I want to print the date ‘on’ the photo instead of below the photo. is there a way to do that in lightroom?

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  11. Hey, Matt:

    I am new to Lightroom and I cannot seem to print a non-border print from my Epson 2200 printer with Lightroom. No matter what I do, it always has that 0.25″ border! Am I missing something?

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  12. Wouldn’t using a JPG here introduce some artifacts that another format [like a psd or png] not? At the right JPG quality settings and size combined with print resolutions it might be an insignificant detail, but it wouldn’t be a perfectly solid black

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  13. Matt,

    You are constantly giving great tips. I always enjoy looking up your website and seeing what new tip you have in store. The presets are extremely helpful as was the dragan like tutorial, you know the on I mean.

    Keep it up.

    PS: I swear you are Duncan Armstrongs love child πŸ™‚

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  14. The ability to print customizable layouts with text fields is a huge asset for pro photographers who do home printing. One could create several album templates that they could use in conjunction with lightroom. This could really simplify and speed up work flows.

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  15. Florent,

    you can export a print as a PDF; only you must “print” it as a PDF file. You should then be able to convert that into a jpeg. I’ve doe it several times now.

    hope that helps.


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  16. To Ron Seiverth,

    I had exactly the same problem very recently – I solved it by unistalling Quicktime completely and then re-downloading and installing. Hope this helps,



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  17. I am not able to run the videos. I setup the RSS yesterday and I got the email, but when I click on the video I get the whole webpage fill up with garbage letters. I then went the website and I get the same thing. What am I missing. I am running Vista Home Premium on a brand new HP Pavillion 9040. I am not sure what I am missing. I have viewed Lightroom videos in the past but I am not sure if I have viewed any in the last month with my new PC. Any thoughts???

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  18. Hi Matt,

    What I’d love to know about is how to watermark photos in way that the watermark is scaled with the image. The default watermark works fine for outputting at web resolutions but if I export as full-size images the watermark is ridiculously tiny which is not what I want at all.

    If there is a way to achieve this then I’d love to know!

    thanks for blog, I enjoy reading it.


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  19. Hi Hannes,
    You got it. There’s no other way then to put the text on the image itself. LR can’t manage more then one identity plate.

    Thanks for the kind words!

    Matt K

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  20. Hi there!

    I love LR, I love your videos/tips and I like the black background!

    However, since LR was released, I have been wondering why the hassle of creating such nice print templates, including identity plates, backgrounds and all for printing purposes while:
    – close to nobody has a professional lightjet printer at home/studio,
    – and it is impossible to export the prints as JPG/PDF.
    Of course, one can still print at home but w/o the pro quality and even color tests/proofs are pointless as the lightjet results are gonna look different–just curious.

    Thanks for your time and making this site!

    Best regards–Florent.

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  21. Hi Matt,

    first of all thanks for this great tip. I am wondering if there is the possibility to use a background image AND the text as an identity plate in Lightroom. The only way to manage that seems to be that you have create text on the background image. Is there a possibility to manage that in Lightroom itself?

    Thanks and Greetings

    PS: Your blog is very cool… πŸ˜‰

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