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.

11 Responses to Add a border to a photo in Lightroom

  1. Tom Q says:

    You can also create a frame with rounded corners by using Effects > Post Crop Vignetting and setting the amount to +100, Midpoint = 0 and Roundness -100.

  2. Laura Shoe says:

    Good post, Anita. You can add a second border outside the first by making the photo smaller than the page, and changing the page background color if you don’t want white.

  3. You can use STROKE function from layer effect too 🙂

  4. This will be ace, and when the resolution tag bug in the print module is fixed I shall be creating some frames! Exported files have a tag of 96dpi regardless of what res was set. The actual res is correct, but I worry about sending images to lab with this erroneous tag – once that is fixed I’ll be upgrading to Lr4.brilliant peace of work.

  5. GLK says:

    Am I doing something wrong? It doesn’t work for me. The jpeg produced seems like it is the size of the ‘paper’ not the size of the template chosen, and with a white border on white paper the image looks as if it has just been printed in the middle of a sheet of A4 white paper.

  6. Kel says:

    I am wanting to add fancy frames to pics such as antique scrolls etc. Does anyone know if this is possible with this program?

  7. Rachael says:

    Did you ever figure out how to add a fancy border such as antique scroll? I am wondering too.

  8. Hunter Wild says:

    I’m having the same frustration as GLK. I went through the process described in this post and the ‘exported’ version of the photos ended up having a frame that was the size of the expected paper, such as a regular old sheet of white printer paper. What’s worse, after performing this ‘export’ the photos that had this border in my Quick Collection now permanently had the border; every time I export them normally the subsequent photo files all open up with the ridiculous printer paper-sized border, and I can’t seem to be able to revert to an earlier version of the photos in the Develop module. ‘Undo’ doesn’t fix it, and selecting earlier versions doesn’t fix it. This just becomes a permanent part of the photo. It’s absolutely possible that I’m missing some simple step that could resolve that aspect, but I’ve tried everything I could think of and nothing is working. I’m having to go back through and re-edit the original photos to get them back to where I need to be.

  9. mike says:

    actually annoyed there isn’t a border function like the Watermark option when publishing.

  10. Mark says:

    Suggestion to Adobe:
    Please add “Borders” to LR5.

  11. Sue Johnson says:

    I’m not having a lot of luck with this way… When I choose print to file, the file name is blank… So how do I do a border batch? I obviously don’t want to have to put a name in individually for each photo. If anyone out there knows the answer I would appreciate some help… thanks