by Chris Malinao
In Lightroom’s Print module, aside from being able to print to paper, you can also print several images into a single JPEG file. Why do that? This is when you want several images laid out in a specific way because you want them displayed that way on screen or in print. Perhaps you want three or four photos in a certain layout for display on Flickr or Facebook, or you want a specific size of paper to display several photos laid out the way you like them.
To do that in Lightroom, you first select the images in a collection in the Library, then go to the Print module. On the right panel of the Print module choose Custom Package and then go to the Print Job sub-panel, where you have the option to print to Printer or JPEG File. Choose JPEG File.
Then go to Custom File Dimension to specify the size of your JPEG file. In the example, I have chosen it to be 9 inches by 4 inches, and I have set my File Resolution to 100 ppi (pixels per inch) just to make the math easier, so I know that in terms of pixels my image is 900 x 400 pixels, an image size that will display well on a typical computer screen. If I want this image to print on paper, I will set my resolution to be 300 ppi.
Next is the Layout. In Cells, edit one of the preset sizes. In the example I edited the 2×2.5 preset and set it to 9 x 4. Because I want three images of equal sizes to fit in the layout, I go to Adjust Selected Cell and set Height=4.00 in. and Width=3.00 in. After doing these settings, you will see the outline of one cell with those dimensions. I will now just copy this by Alt-dragging the cell, and do that twice so that I now have three identical 3×4 cells side by side. These are my placeholders for the images. You can now drag images to these placeholders. Ctrl-click inside the image to drag and reposition if needed.
Next is to tweak a few more settings like the Photo Border or Inner Stroke. In my example, I set my inner stroke to 4 pt.
Finally, you click Print to File to output the JPEG file. Clicking on Create Saved Print and naming it will preserve the layout with the photos. If you want to save the layout for re-use later, go to the left panel of the Print module and click on the plus (+) sign next to the words Template Browser to save the template in User Presets.
You may also create additional layout presets following the instructions here. You are not limited to side-by-side images, you can create your own layouts according to taste. For example, one image over three images, or 4 images to one side and one tall image on the other, your imagination is the limit.
This layout technique may also be useful in creating diptychs of triptychs, two images and three images side-by-side, respectively. Just remember that diptychs or triptychs are several images that can be viewed side by side as one coherent composition while each of these same images can also be viewed as one complete image on its own.