Archive for October, 2011

Add a border to a photo in Lightroom

Many people like a border around their photos. The way to do this isn’t obvious in Lightroom, because there’s no border option when you export photos. One trick is to do it through the Print module. Here’s how:

  1. In the Library module, select the photo you want to have a border, then switch to the Print module.
  2. In the Template Browser on the left side of the application, select a Single Image template the correlates to the size you want the photo to be, such as 4 x 6 or 8 x 10.
  3. In the Image Settings panel on the right side of the application, select Stroke Border. Specify a Width of the desired size (such as 10 points) and click the color swatch to choose a color, such as white.
  4. In the Print Job panel, choose Print To > JPEG File. Specify the resolution and other options (sharpening, JPEG quality, etc.).
  5. Click Print to File.

There. You’ve just “exported” a JPEG of your photo with a border. Now you can post it online, upload to a print service, or do whatever you do with JPEGs that have borders.

For additional Help with Print module panels and tools, see Printing photos or, more specifically, Print borders around photos or Specify options in the Print Job panel.

A second way to do it is to create a border effect in Photoshop, and then apply it to your photo in Lightroom as an identity plate. Scott Kelby shows how in the tutorial Adding cool frame borders to your photos. The tutorial is old—for Lightroom 1 and Photoshop CS3—but the principles still apply and you can do it using Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.1. For another (Lightroom 1) tutorial of this technique, see Sean McCormack’s frames video.

A final way is to use an export plug-in, such as Timothy Ames’s LR/Mogrify 2 plug-in.

Export to the web from Lightroom

In a continuing effort to improve Lightroom Community Help, I’ve rewritten the instructions for how to export photos using the Publish Services panel. I made each service on its own page/topic, and added links to relevant community videos and support docs to each page:

Hopefully, this structure is simpler and more straightforward. Pick your service; read the instructions; bookmark it.

What is that question mark next to my photos in Lightroom?

We hear the question all the time: “What is that question mark next to my photos in Lightroom?” Sometimes, the question takes a more panicked form: “Where did my photos go??? Lightroom lost my photos. Help!”

Don’t worry. Lightroom will find them.

If you move photos in the OS away from the location where Lightroom thinks they are, Lightroom loses the link to them. When that happens, you’ll see a little question-mark icon in the image thumbnail in the Library module, and in the Develop module, you’ll see a big message: “The file named XXX is offline or missing.”

The "missing photos" icon in the Grid view of the Library module

The "missing photos" icon in the Grid view of the Library module

The "missing photos" error message in the Develop module

The "missing photos" error message in the Develop module










To relink the photos, see the Lightroom Community Help topic Locate missing photos. There’s even a link to a video tutorial of the process as well.

If you move entire folders of photos in the OS and break the link in Lightroom, the folder appears dim in the Folders panel and has a question-mark icon.

Folders appear dimmed and have a question mark when Lightroom can't find them.

A missing folder in Lightroom





To restore broken links to folders, see the Help topic Locate missing folders. The topic Synchronize folders might be useful, too.

To prevent broken links between Lightroom and the folders and photos in your catalog, remember these tips:

  • Don’t move photos or folders in the Finder (Mac OS) or Explorer (Windows). Do it from within Lightroom.
  • If you store photos on an external hard drive, make sure it is attached and powered on when you start Lightroom. If the drive is disconnected, Lightroom will lose the links to the photos, even if they haven’t been moved.

Convincing color changes, redux

When you want to change the color of objects in an image, you might first reach for Photoshop’s Color Replacement tool. But that’s not always the best approach. For more effective and flexible alternatives, check out these techniques: