Scrapping Faster With Lightroom

CREDITS: There’s Always Blue and Eclectic Moments by Kaye Winiecki; Every Day Bouquet (journal card altered) by Quirky Heart; Font: DJB Storyteller.

With less and less time to devote to my personal scrapping, I decided to harness the strengths of Lightroom to speed up my process. Lightroom comes with the ability to create collages of photos which is so fast to do. But, Lightroom won’t let you add drop shadows or layer papers and elements well. So, I set out to find a way to create my photo collages in Lightroom, export the completed page to Photoshop where I can add drop shadows and decorate them with my favorite digi kits. It works brilliantly and I’m able to scrap through an entire year’s worth of pictures in just a couple weeks once the set up work is done! (If you want to skip the setup work, I do have pre-designed Lightroom templates available for purchase, and a bonus free sample at the end of this tutorial.) This tutorial does assume that you are already familiar enough with Lightroom to import your images, create collections and find your away around a bit (find more
Lightroom tutorials here).

1) Set up collage templates in Lightroom. (Or install the preset templates – a free sample is below – and skip this step. A video tutorial is in the download.)

  • Open Photoshop and save a solid black 5×7 as a jpg.
  • In Lightroom, import the 5×7, create a new collection and add the black 5×7 to it.
  • With the collection selected, go to the PRINT module on the top right.

  • Click PAGE SETUP on the bottom left of the screen. Set your page size to 12×12. Some windows users aren’t able to do this unless they install a large format printer. Try one of the large format Epson printers.

  • Now your screen should appear as a 12×12.
  • We need to change some settings before we begin. Under the LAYOUT STYLE section, choose CUSTOM PACKAGE.
  • Under RULES, GRID & GUIDES, I recommend turning on the rulers, page grid and image cells.
  • Under Print Job, choose JPG FILE, 300ppi, sharpening (optional), media type (to your preference), JPG Quality (100), Check CUSTOM DIMENSIONS on and enter 12×12, use sRGB for color management.

  • Now, let’s start adding boxes for our photos. Expand the CELLS section and click one of the sizes to add it to the page. Or, click the arrow next to a size to edit it. Continue adding boxes to your collage and drag them around on the page until you are happy with the layout.

  • Let’s save our template. First, click the + button to the right of the TEMPLATE BROWSER on the left side. Click the FOLDER drop down and choose NEW FOLDER and then name the folder. Now, name the template, ensure the new folder is selected and click CREATE to save your template.

  • If you want to make changes to the template and save over it, right+click on the template name in the Template Browser and choose UPDATE WITH CURRENT SETTINGS.

2) Create drop shadow overlays. (You can skip this step if you Print your finished collage to a PDF instead. See Step 3.)

  • Now we need to export a blank version of this template to Photoshop. Drag the black jpg from the photo bin into each photo spot so you end up with lots of black boxes on the page.
  • Click PRINT TO FILE on the bottom right. Save the template as a JPG.
  • Open it in Photoshop. Get the magic wand tool (W) and Shift+Click on each black box to select it. Copy to a new layer by clicking CTRL/CMD+J.
  • Now delete the original layer (or fill with white.)
  • Select the new clipping layer and add a drop shadow style. Save this file as a layered TIF or PSD for use later.

3) Create your collage in Lightroom.

  • Return to Lightroom. Add your photos to your collection in the LIBRARY MODULE. With the collection open, click the PRINT MODULE.
  • Drag and drop your pictures onto the picture spots. If your photos are not cropped as you like, pop over to the DEVELOP MODULE, crop the picture and then pop back to the PRINT MODULE and it should update. To move your photo, hold in the ALT/OPT key and drag inside the photo box. You will only be able to move it left/right or top/bottom if there is more to the photo.
  • Click PRINT TO FILE and give the layout a name.

  • To print your
    finished collage to a PDF instead, choose Print to: PRINTER
    instead of JPG FILE, then choose the PDF option for your operating
  • On a Mac, click PRINTER, then PDF, then SAVE AS PDF.

  • On a PC, click PRINTER, Choose AdobePDF from the drop down. Or, install doPDF and choose that from the drop down.

4) Embellish your layout.

  • Return to Photoshop and open the overlay. Open the layout you just saved. Copy and paste it into the overlay file.
  • Clip it to the overlay layer to allow the drop shadows to show through.
  • Now you can add a background paper, your favorite embellishments and journaling!

This layout took 30 minutes at most, with the majority of my time spent picking out my kit and deciding how to do the journaling, with a few minutes spent documenting my steps along the way. So much faster than the 2 hours my traditional layouts often take!

To give scrapping with Lightroom a try, download
this free template and import it into Lightroom. A video tutorial on how to use the templates can be found here. If you want to skip the creation of the templates and jump right into scrapping with them, check out my full line of
Lightroom templates (on sale through August 15th). If you want to purchase a video on the entire process of creating your template, you can find out more on my blog.

To learn more about Lightroom Print Module, visit Adobe’s
Lightroom Help.