Posts in Category "Lightroom"

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.

View selective panels in the import window

You learn something new every day, and I just learned a really useful tip from Jim Wilde in a thread over at Lightroom Forums.

As you probably know, you can work in one of two import windows in Lightroom: One is a relatively complex window in which you select the source photos, decide how to import, and then specify an array of import/destination options in panels on the right side of the window.

Or, you can click the Show Fewer Options button to work with just a bare minimum of import options.

But did you know that there’s a third way to work? In the full import window, you can use a keyboard shortcut to display only the import panels you want to see and hide the others from view. Right-click (Windows) or press Control+Command and then click (Mac OS) any of the panel headers on the right side of the window to open a context menu. You can show or hide all panels; expand or collapse them; select only those you want to view (the ones whose settings you always need to customize); or enter Solo Mode. You can use the keyboard shortcut on the Source panel on the left side of the window, too, but I tend to need to keep that panel open.

For more information, see the following Help topics:

There. Now you’ve learned something, too.

Required Camera Raw reading

One of the most common tech support questions we get is, “Why doesn’t Lightroom recognize my camera’s raw photos?” Or, similarly, “Why can’t I open my camera’s raw photos in Camera Raw?”

Jeff Tranberry answers these questions in his blog Why doesn’t my version of Photoshop or Lightroom support my camera? Read it to learn how to open your files.

Help on publishing from Lightroom to Facebook and other websites

When it comes to exporting photos from Lightroom 3 using the Publish Services panel, our traditional Help documentation wasn’t working for you, feedback showed. Typically, Adobe provides simple feature definitions and explains basic UI functionality—“This button does X, that slider does Y.” But that structure lacks context, and it seemed to be a particularly unhelpful way to document how to export photos to web-sharing sites from Lightroom. So I recently revised the topic according to (gasp!) how you actually use the panel: to publish photos to Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug, and Pick your website, follow the steps to upload your photos to it. Makes much more sense.

So check out the new-and-improved Exporting using Publish Services topic. You will also notice another positive change on the page: The addition of new, “Adobe recommends” links to the best-of-the-best community videos and tutorials on how to export photos to the web. The links were actually on the page before, but we’ve applied a new, more visual treatment to help you discover this great content–in some cases, we’ve actually embedded tutorial videos on the Help page. I rolled out the “Adobe recommends” links on a few other popular topics as well:

How to improve Lightroom performance

In response to a suggestion over at, we just published a new support document, “Optimize performance | Lightroom.”

For many years and versions, we’ve maintained a support doc on how to configure your system for optimal Photoshop performance, and a similar document for Lightroom is long overdue. Thanks to customer Chris Niestepski for starting the discussion and prompting us to create the doc.

Optimize performance | Lightroom” explores hardware configurations, Lightroom catalog and preview settings, and system maintenance tasks that can help Lightroom run at peak efficiently. Check it out and give us your feedback. Answer the question, “Was this helpful,” at the top of the article and share comments on how we can improve the content.

Lightroom 3.4 Help update

OK, OK, so I’m a few weeks late. Lightroom 3.4 shipped at the end of April, but just today I finally pushed a long-overdue update to Lightroom Help. Mostly, I incorporated links to community tutorials into relevant topics and corrected lots of minor inaccuracies (thanks for the comments—keep ‘em coming). But more significant updates are:

Turn Lightroom auto-launch on and off

Many of you have been asking, “How do I make Lightroom stop opening automatically when I plug in a camera or camera card?” The answer is: Turn off the import preference that regulates this function. The setting is covered in the Set import and file-handling preferences topic, but since so many people asked on the Import photos automatically page, I put a tip there, too.

View raw+JPEG images

Another common question: “Where are the JPEGs in my raw+JPEG workflow?” They’re in Lightroom, but you’ll only see them if your import preferences are set accordingly. This setting is also covered in the Set import and file-handling preferences topic, but since it’s buried, I explain it in a new topic, View raw+JPEG photos.

Export to Facebook, Flickr, and SmugMug

Update to Lightroom 3.4. Many bugs have been addressed. That’s the advice I give at the top of the Exporting using Publish Services topic. There. Now you don’t even have to read it.

Rearrange slides

Folks, this isn’t rocket science. You just have to choose a bottom-level folder or a collection in the Library module as the source for your slide show, and then drag to rearrange the slides in the Slideshow module. And drag from the center of the thumbnail, not the edge. See Rearrange slide order.

Turn off printer color management

Color management is a thorny topic, no doubt. And so is the Help topic Set print color management. Many of you have asked for instructions on that page for how to turn off color management in your printer driver software. It’s a valid question, but unfortunately, one Adobe cannot easily answer. You need to check your printer manufacturer documentation for info on turning off CMS in the driver.

Getting photos from an iPhone into Lightroom

I got an iPhone recently. The experiment this past weekend: Get photos that I captured on the device into Lightroom. I was apprehensive because I’d heard it was difficult to do—but it’s not. Sure, it’s tricky to do it wirelessly: you have to email yourself, or post photos one at a time to Dropbox or some other site, or get an app like Camera Plus Pro, which I wasn’t ready to do.

Happily, however, it’s a cakewalk to get my Camera Roll into Lightroom with a wire: Connect the iPhone to the Mac, open Lightroom, click Import. Voila. Lightroom recognizes the device, and I can import just as with any other camera.

For a video tutorial on going the other direction—getting photos from Lightroom onto your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad—see Terry White’s  Sync your photos from Lightroom to your iDevices (13:50).

Now that I covered some requisite learning content, here are the photos that I captured. Showing them is the real reason I wanted to write this post. I see these signs almost every day, down the street. The first one appeared a few months ago, along with the sculpture, on the fence next to the dry cleaner on the corner. Someone is adding a new sign every week or so, in roughly the order shown below. I find myself looking forward to passing this corner these days. It takes my breath away.

Lightroom Help on the iPad

I got an iPad yesterday. One of the first things I did? Added Lightroom Help as a web clip to my Home screen:

  1. Open Safari on your iPad and navigate to Using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.
  2. Tap the  icon and choose Add To Home Screen.
  3. While you’re at it, repeat steps 1 and 2 for the Lightroom Help and Support page.

Now you have Adobe documentation and links to dozens of useful tutorials a tap away. Having Help or a tutorial open on an iPad while you work in Lightroom on your computer: Not Flashy. Just fun and functional.