How to Achieve a Speedy Workflow - Part 3
The first step is to head to the Print module and choose Custom Package. Next create a custom page size to build composites within. It's possible to use A4, Letter or another standard size, however in order to control the final output image dimensions I found it easier to create my own custom size. Read on.
The exact page size needed will depend on the final image dimensions that you require. When exporting from the Print module as a JPG file you need to specify the output PPI. This is where a little maths comes in useful. Lets say you require a final image width of 1000 pixels. If you were to export at 100 PPI the page size would need to be 10 inches wide. 100 PPI x 10 inches = 1000 pixels. Simple. If like me however you require an output width of 750 pixels, then using the same page size (10in) but setting the output PPI to 75 should do the trick. So, as an example let's do exactly that and create a finished JPG of 750x750 pixels by using a page size of 10in by 10in and an export PPI of 75. With my Mac (not sure if this is due to an International setting) I'm required to enter page sizes in centimetres. 10 inches is therefore the equivalent of 25.4 cm. Enter 25.4cm for the width and height and 0cm for the top, bottom, left and right margins as in the example image below. As a Mac user the screen grabs are OSX specific. If you're on PC I'm going to assume you know how to do this in Windows.
Now that we have a page we can create a composite by simply adding cells to it. Cells can be added by simply dragging an image directly from the filmstrip or by using the Cells panel to add predefined or custom cell sizes. I also use the snap to grid feature to help with alignment.
Below is an example of a layout using 6 cells.
You can now drag and drop images from the filmstrip into the cells to create your composite. Tip: if you need to adjust the crop of an image, hold down the CMD key (Mac) or CTRL key (PC) and drag the image within the cell to adjust the crop.
Now it's time to create the composite JPG. Within the ‘Print Job' module on the right hand panel you'll need to set the "Print to:" option to "JPEG File", the "File Resolution" to 75ppi and I recommend the "Color Management" should be set to Profile: sRGB and Rendering Intent: Perceptual. For the best "Print Sharpening" setting it's a little more subjective. Try different settings to see what you like the best. I tend to either use the Low option or completely turn it off.
When complete click the "Print to File..." button to save your composite. Head over to my blog at http://www.randallphotography.co.uk/blog for some more examples.
Of course, if you love your new image composite it's a great idea to save it as a preset for speedy retrieval. I have a series of composites of varying sizes and arrangements that I can quickly access from my presets.
One of the shortfalls of Lightroom 2 was the lack of a useful watermarking feature. Fortunately with Lightroom 3 this has been addressed with a rather nice Watermark Editor tool. To access this you'll find it located it in the Lightroom menu (Mac) or the Edit menu (PC). The Watermark Editor gives you complete control of the style and location of the watermark which can be saved as a preset.
Using Photoshop I created a transparent PNG consisting of a 60% opacity black background with a 100% opacity white logo. I imported this into the Watermark Editor, I set the size to "Fit" and anchored it to the bottom of the image with a vertical offset. See image below for example.
How do we use this within our workflow?
As stated at the begin of this article I'm keen to get my images in front of as many potential new clients as possible. As part of this strategy I offer a free low resolution image download to our clients and any guest that attends one of our weddings. All I ask in return is for them to add me as a friend on Facebook. This works incredibly well and as part of my online strategy, it helps to raise awareness, build business and meet potential clients. As the images are being distributed digitally I attempt to add a little protection by subtly watermarking each low resolution file during export. You'll find the watermark option in the Export module.