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Use Lightroom to Create Collages for Instagram Stories: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

September 7, 2019

Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on AdoramaTV. I’m Mark Wallace, and in this episode I’m going to show you something that will allow you to create custom content for your Instagram feed, and you can add branding, you can add calls to action, and you can do all of this using a feature that’s been in Lightroom since it was very first released, it’s in the print module of all things, who knew? It’s called the print to file. Now using this you can not only take a bunch of images and put them together to make collages or triptychs, or whatever, you can also add branding, or you can add calls to action, like swipe up or click here for more info, or don’t miss this or coming soon, whatever it is, you can do that all within Lightroom, and then add that to Instagram stories, and that will allow people to discover your content. So without further ado let’s hop into Lightroom, and get started. I’m in the library module of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom classic CC, and before we jump over into the print module, I just need to mention the fact that the print module only allows you to work with images that are either currently selected, or those that are in collections, and so if you don’t have any images in collections, make sure you do that first, so you can work with them properly, in the print module, or when you get over there you might not be able find the images that you want. All right, I’ve got the images that I want in a bike collection, these are my motorcycle images from a ride around the world, and so let’s just zip over to the print module now. Remember the print module is for printing physical prints on physical pieces of paper from a physical printer. We’re going to be using it in a way that it was never intended, we’re going to print to a jpg image, and use that image on Instagram stories, and so if you don’t know a lot about the print module, don’t worry. I’m going to show you how to use eight steps to do exactly what you need to do. So just follow along you’ll be just fine. Let’s get to it by step one. Step one is to choose the correct layout style we need to choose, a custom package I want you to select this, you’re gonna see a blank screen something like this. This represents that piece of paper that would be coming out of a printer, but we’re going to be printing to a jpg file, and so what we need to do is we need to create a a virtual piece of paper that matches an Instagram story. Tall and skinny, and so we’re gonna do that in step two. In step two, we’re gonna click on page setup and we are going to format this for any printer. So you might see a different printer here, just click any printer and then in paper size click ‘manage custom sizes’. Now once we get in here click the ‘plus’ button. We want to create a preset and then double click on ‘untitled’. We are going to call this Instagram story alright, so just type that in there… ‘Instagram story’, and then for paper size make sure you enter nine inches wide, and 16 inches tall, and then in the non-printable area for top. bottom left, and right, make sure you enter all zeros, so once you’ve done that you’re all set up and then you can click ‘OK’, and now from now on you don’t have to add any of that stuff you can just go down here and click ‘Instagram story’ and when you hit OK, you’re gonna get this tall and skinny document that will work every time. So you only have to do step two the first time, let’s get to step three, and that is adding our images to our blank slate. Now to do that all we have to do is go down here into the filmstrip, and then we can drag images onto the page. Now the thing about this is, when you drag an image onto the page, you’re not actually adding just an image, you’re adding a cell. Now a cell is a placeholder that you can put images in – in the future, and so this square here, notice if I drag this to the left, it becomes tall and skinny. Drag it to the right it becomes sort of skinny and wide, and it’s cropping off things because it’s creating a frame that contains an image. Now I can hit the Command or Option, and then I can drag my image inside of that, and it’s similar to the way frames work in InDesign, if you’re familiar with that. The other thing I can do if I don’t want my image to be sized in a weird and wonky way, I can always go to the right side here, and click ‘lock to photo aspect ratio’, and then no matter what I do, it’s always going to keep the aspect ratio. I’m going to turn that off for now, and so I’ll show you why a little bit later. So I have my first image here, if I don’t like that image then I’m going to replace it with something, I can go down here to the film strip, and then I can just drag and drop one on top of that. It’s going to replace what is inside of that cell, remember that cell is a placeholder. I can go over here, I can get this Anthony churchyard image, and I can drag and drop that in. So if i drop on top of the cell whatever’s inside of that cell is going to be replaced. If i want to add another image, I need to drag and make sure I drop it somewhere on a blank area of my page, and then i can resize that and I can add it on top. I can start layering these things, and putting them anywhere I want inside of this virtual piece of paper, and so I can be dragging and dropping and doing all kinds of cool things. Now the other thing that we can do here instead of doing it this way, I’m going to clear my layout I’m going to get rid of everything. On this ‘add to package’, under the cells area we have a predefined aspect ratio, so a 4 by 6, a 5 by 7, a 3 by 7. If you click on the triangle, you’ll see what these are and you can even click ‘Edit’ to create your own sizes, which is pretty cool, and so over here I’ve created my own size, and click ‘Edit’ on that, and this is a size that you might want to enter yourself. it’s 5.333 by 9 inches, and so you might want to add that by entering those sizes exactly, and hitting ‘add’, and then what you can do is you can add 1, 2 & 3, now we have three blank cells, and then what I can do is I can go in here, and I can drag and drop an image in that one, drag and drop an image in that one, and I’m getting a triptych which is pretty cool, and so if I don’t like that, maybe I want this image of me out in Mongolia up here. I can put that in there, I’ve got this placeholder that I can use over and over and over again. Three blank placeholders, that I can use the other thing I can do is.. I can get rid of one of these, I’m gonna hit delete and then the background will show up, this blank space. Which is cool, because in an Instagram you might want to add some text, something like ‘Remembering my trip to Mongolia”… something like that. If you want this to be a specific color on the right hand side, you can create a page background color, and that can be white, or black, or green, or blue, or whatever you want it to be, and this just can be a blank area that once you throw this into Instagram, from Instagram you can add some text. So if you want to have a blank area it can be black or white, or any color that you want, and that’s really groovy, and so what I’m going to do here is, I am going to add in another cell here, so let me just do that, and then I’m going to add in another image into that cell. So we have a triptych, it looks pretty cool. I want to add some call-to-action to this, or I might want to add some branding, and so now what we’re gonna do is, once we have our setup exactly like we like it , We’ve got our images sort of arranged here, we are going to add an identity plate, so that’s step five…. you can only add one identity plate. An identity plate is normally what you would use for your branding, and so notice my identity my identity plate is Markonabike, I can add that here, but you can also add custom identity plates, and so instead of just using the standard identity plate, I can click this triangle right here, and instead of using my main identity plate, I can click ‘Edit’, and I can use some text, so I can say something like ‘read’… let me make this black so I’ll click on this, make that black. I can say ‘read my blog’, and then I can change the text so I’ll use Vox Round instead, I need to highlight this, and then say use a Vox Round… that’s okay, so now I’ve got something I want to say here, and so I can add text right within Lightroom if I want, or I can leave a blank area, and add that in Instagram later, when I’m adding it to my story… the other thing I can do is, I can add graphics so I can add any kind of transparent PNG file. So to do that again, go to the identity plate click ‘Edit’ and I will use a graphical identity plate. So I’ve already set up a couple of these, so I’m going to go over here to my finder. I’ve got a little just a simple graphic. A transparent PNG file that I made, it’s not very good, but it’s a swipe up graphic. If I click on that, notice now and I can resize this. I’ve got this thing that says swipe up, now I could make this really fancy, I could make it white, or black or blue or multiple colors. Whatever I want as long as it’s a transparent PNG file. I can put it anywhere I want on the screen. I can even rotate this so I can rotate it upside down, right side up, whatever I want to do, and so it works just like a normal identity plate, which is really cool, so I can add a call to action right within Lightroom itself. All right, so now that we have that, what we can do is, we can save a preset, something that we… a template, that we can use over and over again, so we don’t have to create these files. So over here on the template browser, if you hit the plus… right here on the plus button, then you can title this whatever you want, and so I’m going to say this is my ‘3 Up Template’, or you can call it your ‘Tryptic’ or whatever you want to call it, and when I say ‘create’… so now anytime I come back here, let’s say I’ve got some other template that I’ve created. I want to go back to that 3 Up
Template that I created, well guess what… There it is, with my identity plate. Now all I have to do is drag and drop in my images, and it’s all set. So if you have something that you’ve set up very, very, fancy. A bunch of images overlapping… whatever, with this certain identity plate. You only have to create it one time, save it as a template, and you can use it over and over and over again. All right now, here is the trick, we’re going to go to step seven… and that is to print this to a jpg file, and so what we want to is to change the section over here, where it says ‘print job’, so normally you’re printing to a printer. We are going to be printing to a jpg file, now this has been around since the very beginning of Lightroom, it allows you to create these custom page setups, and templates and everything, and then print them and send them through email, but we’re going to use this for Instagram instead. The trick here is to make sure that you have these settings exactly as I’ve shown you here, the file resolution 300 PPI is going to be really high resolution. I sharpen mine a standard amount for a glossy page, because a screen is a glossy page. I choose an 80% JPEG quality, and then the profile that you should use here is an sRGB color profile, with the perceptual intent. So again if you want to take notes, just pause the video write this stuff down. You’re only going to be using those settings over and over and over again. Alright now that that, is set up all I need to do is click ‘print to file’. It’s going to ask you where you want to print this. So I’ve got this little temporary folder that I’ve set up, and I’m going to add this and call it ‘Bikes in Mongolia’. There’s only one bike but you know what I mean. So I’m going to save that, and then once that is finished I can show you what the file looks like. So that’s done, if we zip over to the finder, I can go over and preview this. You can see here is our JPEG image, and it’s one image that looks exactly like what we set up in Lightroom. The next thing we need to do is, get this over into our mobile device, so use airdrop or email it, or however you need to get that over to your mobile device. Unfortunately Instagram doesn’t let us do anything from our desktop, when it comes to Instagram stories, so we have to get this to our mobile device. So I’m gonna let you choose the way that you want to do that, but the next thing we need to do is zip over to Instagram. So let’s do that next. Once you’re in Instagram you can go into your Instagram story, and choose one of the images that you’ve saved to your device, and so here’s one that I just created here. This swipe up with this stuff. Notice I’ve created an empty spot on the front, and so I can click some text and I’ll say, ‘Beautiful Mongolia’ there we go. You know, make sure that’s black and then that little space that I created there, makes a lot of sense. So you can save spaces along your stuff, or I can discard that. You can see one that I created right here. That was a couple of weeks ago, so using trash as a light modifier, I can then go in and say watch this now… something like that, and again once I have that in there, I can change whatever effect now in Adoramatv, I can add some mentions, I’ll add @Adorama etc, and so then I can add a call to action… Whatever I want to do, and you can see how easy it is to create some really interesting Instagram stories to drive content to your site. Well I hope that you found this technique useful, and as you can see it’s sort of unlimited. It’s up to your imagination how you put those images together, and the branding or the calls to action that you add using the identity plates. So just dive in and play with it, and see what you can do on your Instagram stories. I use this in my Instagram stories to help people see some of the videos that I’ve created for AdoramaTV, and so as people ask me questions about photography, if there’s enough of them, I’ll throw out a photo tip on my Instagram story and link to that, using a call to action, and so people can discover more photo tips from AdoramaTV. So if you’re not following me on Instagram do that… you’re missing out on some goodness, and of course make sure you subscribe to AdoramaTV. It’s free, why not? And also turn on the bell so you don’t miss a single episode. Thank you so much for joining me, and I will see you again next time.


  • Reply Vince Revolution February 21, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Great way to creates themes for your Instagram to make it more aesthetically pleasing. Presentation is always key! Nice one ❤️

  • Reply Sharp Cal February 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    wow how sad

  • Reply Sharp Cal February 21, 2019 at 3:15 pm

    ahaha rainbows and bikes aww hes a man lol instagram? bald cunt

  • Reply Saeed Ahmad February 21, 2019 at 4:20 pm

    Thanks Mark, I learn a lot from you in my photography especially lighting technique but I noticed that you give me best lesson of LR as well, My only problem now a days is print related. I want to send my print to online to WHCC but don't know how I can get it prepared in LR. Can you explain that (that is not for instagram but for printer?)

  • Reply RS February 21, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Mark, LR is past tense , get used to Capture One , that's the future

  • Reply Curt Wells February 21, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Thanks Mark, great information as usual. I look forward to your videos well worth my time to watch. Keep them coming.

  • Reply Mike James February 21, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Cool, Mark. Thank you!

  • Reply Ap 106 February 21, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Don't have page setup in my Lightroom

  • Reply LensPassions Photography February 21, 2019 at 5:35 pm

    Thanks Mark to see you again, great information you always

  • Reply SDReptiles February 21, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    For some reason, I don't have the option to pick any printer. I'm on LR 6.14. It only gives me the options of the printers I have installed, to PDF or for Fax.

  • Reply Edward Millership February 22, 2019 at 12:08 am





  • Reply Noealz - Rain Photographer February 22, 2019 at 1:40 am

    Instagram stories are something I really need to work on

  • Reply Jay G. February 22, 2019 at 6:26 am

    This is too complicated as most "tricking the system" processes are.

  • Reply Tony Priestley February 22, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    My page set up doesn't offer 'Any Printer'!

  • Reply Tony Priestley February 22, 2019 at 9:27 pm

    @Mark Wallace I don't think this works for us Windows users

  • Reply Howard Berliner February 22, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Timely and useful

  • Reply Phineas banning February 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    Checked out and started following your Instagram account, didn’t see any postings you’ve done that match this video?

  • Reply Mare Klassen February 24, 2019 at 11:54 pm

    cool! Thanks

  • Reply Live X February 25, 2019 at 6:45 pm


  • Reply Zaki Grant February 26, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    Doesn't work for windows when you try and create a custom page size.

  • Reply Mike Chandler February 27, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    yup, looks like no dice for window's users.

  • Reply Edward Wojciechowski February 27, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Fantastic! This gave me a lot of good ideas to incorporate into my social media feeds.

  • Reply fritz meyer April 13, 2019 at 4:44 pm

    Be upfront next time a tip will only work with Mac. version of LR.

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