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How to Print Photos With Lightroom Classic

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Lightroom Classic is many tools inside of one app, including cataloging, adjustments, organization, and one you may not be using: printing! It's hard to compare the satisfaction of seeing a favorite photograph brought to life as a print, but if your collection is like mine, too many images live only in your Lightroom catalog. In this tutorial you'll learn how to make a print.

Photo wall with open window
Photo wall by brookologie/Twenty20

What To Know Before You Print

Don't jump to the Print module just yet, there are a couple things to do before you send a photo to the printer.

Of Printers

There are lots of ways to print your photos, from quick tests or "work proofs" on a home printer to high-volume commercial offsets, drugstore machines, and high-quality inkjets. If you're new to printing, we have a few guides handy to get you started.

Calibration

Calibration is all about getting two mediums—your screen and the print—to predictably produce a reliable result; It helps to bridge the gap between what you see on screen and what you actually get through your printer. Make sure that your monitor is calibrated before you start printing. Calibrating your monitor and printers is the best way to save yourself time, ink, paper, and the headache of an uncalibrated image pipeline.

On Envato Tuts+, we've developed a course that includes helpful lesson on calibration. Make sure to check out From Pixel-Perfect to Print Ready in Photoshop, included as part of Envato Elements.

The Art of Post-Production

The digital darkroom is all about not having to make the many, many prints darkroom processes require to get to your desired outcome.

The tools in the Develop module to correct your images: These neutral adjustments bring an photo back to something that's close to its real-world rendering. Try our tutorials on applying corrections in Adobe Lightroom:

Of course, Lightroom is a great tool for creative adjustments as well. After you've corrected your image, take your finished product to the next level with all of the advanced tutorials we've built for the creative-inspired photographer.

How to Make A Print In Adobe Lightroom

After you've calibrated your setup, adjusted and prepared your images, you're ready for the magic step: printing your photos with Adobe Lightroom. Let's jump to the Print module in Adobe Lightroom. Select an image first, then simply click on Print.

Lightroom in print module
Click on Print to enter Lightroom's Print module.

In this tutorial, we're going to focus on printing a single image, but it's worth noting that Lightroom supports printing multiple images on the same paper, like a contact sheet for example.

1. Set Your Paper and Printer

After you enter the Print module, you need to set a few basic options to make your print successful. Start by clicking on Page Setup near the lower left corner in Adobe Lightroom. 

Click on the Paper Size dropdown, then choose a preset that matches your selected paper size. Or, choose Manage Custom Sizes to key in a custom page size.

Page setup options
Click on Page Setup and choose a paper size that matches yours.

Now, click on Print Settings. Start by selecting your Printer if you're currently connected.

Print settings options
Lock in your Print Settings to match your pages per sheet as well.

These settings are pretty simple if you're printing only a single image. It's best to leave it set to 1 page per sheet, and the Layout Direction is fine at default options. Change the number of Copies if you want to create multiple prints.

2. Set Your Margins

Okay, now we can focus on controlling how our image prints and how much of the paper it covers. Let's start by setting our Margins. The options are on the right side of the Develop module.

Margins give you the safety space around the edge of the page. In my case, I'm going to input a margin of 0.50 inches on all sides. Check your printer settings to determine its capabilities, then set the page accordingly.

Page margins Lightroom print
Dial in your Margins to ensure that you don't print beyond the page.

Don't set your margins to control the size of your image, we'll do that next. Think of them as the "margin of safety" from accidentally cutting your image off. You could also use a very wide margin to force your image away from a scratch or wrinkle on one side of the page, for example.

3. Set The Cell Size

Your page likely has a lot of whitespace at this point. We need to change the Cell Size to increase the size of the finished print.

Change the Height and Width settings to match the desired size of the finished print. You can key in a specific size if you know exactly how you want your print to appear. The black frame you see in your preview is the size that you keyed in.

Set grid size Lightroom
The grid size controls the size of the image in the finished print.

Keep in mind that aspect ratio plays a key role in how your image appears. The cell size ultimately has to match the same aspect ratio as the source image, or you'll trim part of the image off.

Another option is to simply play with these options and set them as large as possible on the page. Notice that the Guide we set on the previous step prevents you from making the image larger than the guided area.

4. Set the Print Job

We're almost finished. For maximum quality, set the Print Resolution as high as your printer supports. For working prints, check the specs of your printer. Epson printers, for example, can use 360 dpi (dots per inch), but also produce perfectly acceptable results at lower multiples: proofs at 240 dpi work just fine and use less ink.

Then, adjust the sharpening settings: a tiny bit of sharpening helps the image shine.

Lightroom print job settings
Make sure to set the resolution and sharpening before you start the print job.

For more about sharpening, follow the tutorial below:

5. Create Your Print

Now, all that's left to do is start the print job. Press Print to send the job to the printer, or save a PDF on the pop-up window. This option is ideal if you're currently away from the printer.

If you're not completely sure about the settings or the look, you can also make a test print. Adjust the cell size to print a small band of your image—maybe a 1-inch or 2-inch strip on an 8x10 print—before you commit the whole page. Test strips are especially important if you are making big, high-quality prints for exhibition or sale.

How to Transform Your Adobe Lightroom Images (With One Click)

If you're still learning the art of image adjustment, it helps to have a guide. Most Lightroom users lean on presets while they're learning the ropes of adjusting an image.

With the help of Envato Elements, you've got access to unlimited presets you can use to style your images. With new editing styles, you might find yourself printing more photos than ever before. Best of all, Elements costs you less than ever because every preset is included for a flat rate.

Envato Elements LIghtroom presets
Use the one-click presets from Envato Elements to transform your images in Adobe Lightroom.

Check out a few of our favorite preset packages you'll unlock with your Elements subscription. There's truly a preset for every style.

1. 20 Faded Duotone Lightroom Presets

Faded duotone presets

Duotones apply two-color tinting to your images. Here's a fun print idea: design a series of duotone prints with the help of these presets. Imagine hanging them side by side, or in a frame that features multiple images.

2. Black and White Lightroom Develop Presets

Black white Lightroom Develop presets

Black-and-white prints are sure to grab the attention of a guest or gallery viewer. And with the help of these presets, you'll see that there are many ways to desaturate your images. Ranging from contrasty to flat and filmic, these preset pack is a great way to learn black-and-white conversion.

3. Matte Fashion Lightroom Presets

Matte fashion Lightroom presets

Matte is a popular paper style for prints. If you want to skip a glossy look, these presets style your image to match the paper. Try out these looks for high fashion and modern shots.

More Learning Resources For Adobe Lightroom

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