Do I have a Lightroom goodie for you today…
Last week, I read a blog post by Terry White, about an iPad app called Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Pro+, that allows you to create various cover photo layouts for Facebook’s new Timeline feature (Timeline is now available for Facebook Pages as well). The app’s premise is simple: you select a layout, add some pictures, possibly some watermark text and you end up with an image sized perfectly for the cover photo area (851×315 pixels), that you can then upload to Facebook and set it as your cover photo.
There was only one problem with this process, as far as I was concerned: the pictures needed to be on the iPad in order to create these images.
This meant that in order to create a custom cover photo, I needed to first decide on a template layout in the app, then switch to Lightroom on my desktop to choose the images I want, somehow imagine how they would fit together in the chosen layout, export them, sync with my iPad, then finally create the cover photo.
It was too long and painful to work. So I asked myself, why can’t we simply create the Facebook cover photos inside Lightroom? Well, yes we can!
Using Lightroom’s Print Module to create Facebook Cover Photos
I used Lightroom’s Custom Packages in the Print Module to create 25 cover photo layouts that once exported, will be sized at 851×315 pixels, the exact size for the Facebook cover photo area. See the template previews below (actual examples are available lower on the page):
I am making these layouts available as Print Templates that you can download below.
Creating Cover Photo Layouts with the Lightroom Print Module
The trick in setting up the layouts in the print module is figuring out the right size, since Lightroom doesn’t support pixels as units in the Print Module. We have to deal with inches instead.
Since these images are meant for the screen and not print, we need only set the file resolution at 72ppi, in the Print Job panel. Knowing the final desired file size and the resolution, we can calculate the required file dimensions. This can be done using simple math operations, but I prefer using the Image Size dialog box in Photoshop instead, for convenience:
This gives us the values for Custom File Dimensions to use in Lightroom’s Print Job panel: 11.82 in by 4.38 in @ 72ppi.
With this set, we can go crazy creating all the layouts we want. You can create these yourself or you can download the set of 25 Cover Photo layouts I made. See download button below.
Download and install the templates
If you don’t care about setting up these settings yourself (which you needn’t, because I did it for you), simply download the print templates below, that you can then import in Lightroom’s Print Modules and use directly or modify as needed.
See instructions below on how to install the templates in Lightroom.
- Click the buttons above to download the Print Templates as a zip file.
- Unzip the downloaded file to your desktop (you will get a folder containing one or more .lrtemplate file).
- In Lightroom, go to the Print module.
- In the left column, make sure the Template Browser panel is open. Right click anywhere in the Template Browser area and create a new folder. Title it accordingly (Facebook Cover Photo Layouts, in this case).
- Right click on the newly created folder and choose Import.
- Locate the extracted files and click Import.
Using & Customizing the layouts
The fastest way to try these out once installed is to select a template (in the Print module), add some images by dragging and dropping them from the filmstrip and click the Print to File… button at the bottom of the right panel to export and save the image as a JPEG.
Once you drag an image in a cell, you can hold Ctrl/Cmd and then drag the image to reposition it as needed inside the cell.
I created these layouts using a black background, white inner stroke and an identity plate in the lower right. You may set your own background color as needed using the Page Background Color option in the Page panel, though that won’t be visible much, unless you leave some of the cells empty, so that the background shows through.
Similarly, you can choose a different inner stroke color, but you may need to increase the width to actually show the color. Currently, due to the way Lightroom processes and exports the images, the stroke turns out a little grey once exported, although it’s set to be a white color. I left it like this intentionally, since I preferred the grey. If you want to end up with white strokes in the exported file, increase the width of the stroke slightly.
You can customize the identity plate text in the lower right by double-clicking on it and typing the desired text. If you wish to change the identity plate text color, use Override Color option in the Page panel. You can also select one of your existing plates or use a graphical identity plate as needed. Or, you can simply hide by removing the checkmark next to the identity plate option in the Page panel.
Finally, here are some examples created using these templates:
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