Adobe Lightroom offers loads of tools that most of us never realise exist because they’re not in the Library or Develop modules.
Most people don’t even know they can create a collage in Lightroom. If you’re one of them, you’re in luck. We’ll show you how to make your first Lightroom collage.
Where Can You Find the Collage Feature in Lightroom?
You can find the collage feature in Lightroom under the Print Module.
Once you click on the Print module, go to the left side of the screen and click the Template Browser.
The first options are your regular printing template sizes such as 4×5 and 8×10.
But as you scroll down, you’ll find more collage templates in Lightroom. From there, you can choose anything from contact sheets to 2×2 cells.
Now you’re probably wondering, what if the collage options don’t fit the look you want? Then, you can also choose the customisable collage template in Lightroom.
Once you choose a customisable collage, you can change the size of your photos and even move it around the page.
Where Is the Print Module?
It may seem straightforward to find the Print Module, but it can be confusing if you’re a Lightroom beginner.
You can find Print in the drop-down menu under the File tab. There’s even a Print button next to File and Edit Tabs.
Stay away from those since they are exclusively for actual printing purposes.
To make a Lightroom collage, you’ll need to go to the right side of the screen. In the modules section, you’ll Find Print next to Library, Develop, Map, Book, and Slideshow.
Once you click on it, that’s where you can find the Template Browser.
Lightroom offers more tools than most of us use, and the Print tab is the perfect example of this. While the Print tab is intended to create pages for printing, it also gives you the option to save these pages as a JPEG, therefore giving you the ability to create a collage.
How Do You Make a Collage in Lightroom?
There is a bit of effort involved in first setting up your templates in Lightroom. But after that, you can easily drag and drop photos for all collages in the future.
While Lightroom already has ready-to-use collage templates, you’ll most likely want to customise these or create your own from scratch.
Does that mean you can combine two photos in Lightroom by yourself? The simple answer is yes.
Whether it’s to put two pictures side by side or to arrange ten photos in a large layout, the process is the same.
Basic Page Settings
To begin creating your Lightroom collage template, you need to think about your layout and file size limitations.
The first step is to customise the settings along the right column to create our layout.
Since you’re creating your custom layout, you want to select the Custom Package.
If you want the photos to have a bit of white spacing around them, check the box that says Photo Border. Doing so lets you select the thickness of that border by adjusting the slider.
I typically do not check the box below it for Inner Stroke because that adds a border over top of the photo, not on the outside of it.
The Photo Border checkbox is typically ideal. I recommend a thin line around 2-4pts.
In the next section, you’ll want to select Inches for your units. I like to choose Cells under the Grid Snap options. Doing so makes it easier to put your photos right up to the edge of the page.
Finally, select which guides you want to see. I typically check all but Dimensions, but this is a personal preference.
Skip down to the module for Print Job settings. First, select JPEG File. If you’re using these collages for web use only, set your File Resolution to 100ppi.
Check the box for Print Sharpening, and set the level to High.
Make sure you set the JPEG Quality slider to 100.
Check the box for Custom File Dimensions. The measurement is in inches, but since you have your resolution set to 100, it’s a simple conversion. Simply divide your size in pixels by 100 to find how many inches it is.
For example, I know that my width is limited to 1000px, so my width needs to be 10 inches. I don’t know yet what the height will be. But since I know it’s going to be more than my width, I can set that to 15 inches for now and adjust once I drop in my photos.
Now that you have your page set up, you can layout the photo cells. Go back up to the Cells module. Here you have pull-down menus with standard photo sizes.
Select the photo size you want, and it’ll appear on the page instantly. You can then move it into position and stretch it to fit the layout you want.
When stretching the cells, be sure to hold down the Shift key so that the ratio remains the same.
Add a Watermark to Your Collage
There are two ways to add a watermark or logo in the page module. If you check the box for Identity Plate, you can upload an image to add on the page.
The identity plate is shown once on each collage, and you can drag it to wherever you want on the page. The sliders also adjust its opacity and scale, so you can make it more subtle if you’d like.
The other option is the Watermarking checkbox. If you check this box, you can then use the pull-down menu to select from the watermarks that you previously loaded into Lightroom.
These are the same watermarks that you can use when you export a photo.
When using the watermarking method, though, you don’t have the options of opacity, scale, and location.
Lightroom automatically lays out the watermark, and it puts it on each photo in the collage.
Save Your Template
Now that you have your collage template all set up be sure to save it so that it’s ready for use in the future!
To save your template, click on the + sign on the top of the left column.
A new window will pop up for you to select what section to save it in and what to name it. Keep the name simple and something that you’ll recognise easily each time you look for this layout.
While you’re creating this template, take time now to think of other layouts that you want to have at your disposal.
Create different layouts that serve your needs. That way, you don’t have to invest too much time into creating Lightroom collage templates! From now on, it’ll just be “drag and drop.”
Using Your Templates
The beauty of taking time early on to create your templates is that once you’ve saved them, they will stay on Lightroom.
To use your template, select it from the left column. Now simply drag the photo you want to insert and drop it into the cell you wish to place your photo.
Do this to each cell in the layout, and that’s it! You don’t need any resizing or watermarking since it’s all set up in the template settings.
When you’re happy with your chosen photos, click on “Print to File…” at the bottom right column. It opens up a window for you to select where to save your Lightroom collage and what to name it.
How Do I See Before and After Side by Side in Lightroom?
As photographers, we sometimes have to create Before and After photos. The good news is that you can easily make them in Lightroom using the collage feature.
Now that you know all the steps to create collages, you’ll find doing Before and After photos quite easy. All you have to do is any template with two cells, and that’s it!
Is Making a Collage in Lightroom Worth It?
The fact that you don’t have to leave Lightroom to create a collage makes it worth it.
In most cases, it only takes a few moments to create a collage.
But Lightroom collage’s customisability has its limitations. For instance, it doesn’t allow you to change border colours. It’s also doesn’t let you adjust parameters as Photoshop does.
Still, having this feature in Lightroom is useful, especially if you want to do quick edits. Not having to open other apps to fulfil your needs is a timesaver in itself. So don’t hesitate to use it!
It’s worth putting in a little effort into creating your collage templates. You’ll have a quick and easy way to create collages without ever leaving Lightroom!
You can use this to streamline your workflow and save yourself precious time. After all, if you’re already using Lightroom to cull and edit.
To use Lightroom like a pro, check out Effortless Editing with Lightroom!