How to Add an Image Border in Lightroom

I recently posted a tutorial covering how to prepare images for Flickr by adding a border in Photoshop. In this tutorial I'm going to show how to add an image border in Lightroom. You won't need to touch Photoshop at all.

The border we are going to add comprises a thin black key line around the image. Outside this and surrounding the image is a wider white border, as shown in the image below. The border helps to separate images from the dark background of Flickr. This makes them more appealing and having all the images the same creates a professional effect.

Configuring the Lightroom Print Module

When you think of the Print module in Lightroom you immediately think of printing photos. Whilst it’s most frequently used for this purpose, you can also use it to output JPEG photos for sharing with others. And you can configure these JPEGs to have a border.

Here’s what you need to do.

Step 1 – Change the Output to JPEG

Select the image or images you want to print in Lightroom and then select the Print Module. On the right side of the screen you will see a series of panels containing settings. These contain the various print settings which you will use to configure the output.

Scroll down to the bottom of these and you will find a panel called “Print Job”. Here you should change the “print to:” setting to be a JPEG file. You can see an example of this below.

Step 2 – Configure the JPEG file output

The settings I would suggest you change are File Resolution, Custom File Dimensions and Profile under the Color Management section.

Start with the Custom File Dimension setting.

You could accept one of the standard paper sizes, but this may not be best for your images. For example, I shoot with a Micro 43 camera which has an image dimension ratio of 4:3. This means an image size of 8 inches x 10 inches will allow me to create an even white border around the image.

You may need to experiment a little if you have a different dimension ratio or if you crop your images. I would suggest you try to achieve a good balance of space around the image using this custom size rather than trying to control the size of the finished image. For that we will use the resolution setting discussed shortly.

You can experiment with Print Sharpening, but Low on Glossy paper is a reasonable starting point for the JPEG image. I would also leave the JPEG quality at 100% unless achieving a small file size is very important to you.

Set the Color Profile to sRGB as this is perfect for displaying on the Web and image sharing sites such as Flickr.

Finally comes the Resolution which defaults to 300dpi. I would suggest you use this to control the size of the image rather than change the Custom File Dimension. For example, if you set a custom file dimension of 8 x 10 inches, setting the dpi to 200dpi will produce an image which is 2000pixels on the longest edge (10” x 200dpi).

People often much easier to work with than trying to change the custom file dimension setting. When you are creating photos to share on the internet, it’s the pixel dimensions that are important and not the printed image size.

Step 3 – Create your image border

Scroll to the top of the printer panel on the right of the screen. Under the “Image Settings” section you will find the option to “Stroke Border” which will draw a thin line around the image. You just need to select the colour (the default is black) and the width of the border. You can see an example below.

Step 4 – Adjust the Layout

The way you add a boarder in Lightroom is using the Layout panel. Here the image is set to appear in the central area of the “page” with a border around the edge. When printing, this positions the photo away from the edge of the paper. As our output will be made to a JPEG image file, this creates a white border surrounding the photo.

You can see the settings used below to add an image border in lightroom to the photo. You should experiement to find the best combination for your photos.

Once you are happy with the preview click the “Print to file…” button to the bottom right of the screen. This will display a standard “Save file” dialog. Use this to select the location and name of the file you want to create.
Now you’ve created your photo, open it check the results. You should see that is now has a black stroke key line around the image and a white border around this.

Further Thoughts

Although we used a single photo in this example, you can use the same approach to add an image border in lightroom to groups of images. Just be sure to use the setting to print one photo per page. Another feature of Lightroom that might also be worth exploring is creating a custom layout and saving this as a custom template. This could save you a lot of time in the future.

 

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