LR008 - Create New JPG with background Canvas (4/2018)

April 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Create JPG with extra space around image

There are many situations where you want to create a jpg image from LR (Lightroom) that has a background “canvas” showing around the image.  One such situation is where you are using a print lab to print your image such as Costco.  In most of these cases the lab only supports a handful of paper sizes and if your image happens to not exactly fit one of these paper sizes the image is cropped to fit.  In most cases you can move the crop rectangle in order to select what part of your image gets cropped off, but many of these prints do not have an option to print the entire image and just leave white space on the edges if needed.  A notable instance of this is Costco which otherwise produces decent results at a low cost.

In order to overcome this problem, your JPG file should be the aspect ratio (i.e., dimensions) that the lab expects for the paper size you will be choosing.  However to do this without cropping in many cases requires some extra white space on 2 sides of your image. 

For example, the image below is 5760 x 3840 pixels which does not match any standard paper size you’ll find at places like CVS or Costco.  If, say, I want to have this printed on 16x10 inch paper, I would be forced to crop off the sides of the image such as shown below

01 B - 16x10 crop01 B - 16x10 crop

Instead, I’d like to print the whole image but with white space where needed which I can hide under a mat such as this

01 C - with white space01 C - with white space

But, in order to do this, the JPG file I give to the printing company must include that white space in the jpg file as many don’t have a ‘fit” option in their cropping tool (e.g., Costco).  Here’s how to do it.

  1. In the Library module or on the film strip select the image you want to deal make into a jpg
  2. Don’t go to Export in LR, Instead go to the Print Module
  3. In the Layout Style panel, select “Single Image / contact Sheet”
    04 D - Layout Style Panel04 D - Layout Style Panel
  4. In the “Print Job” panel (panel is last one on right), select “JPEG File” for the “Print to:”

    In the same panel, select how many dpi (dots per inch) the printer you’ll be using can print with.

    Then check the “Custom File dimensions:” box and fill in the paper size.  In this case 16 x 10

    The resulting jpg will be the pixel dimensions you typed in for the paper size multiplied by the File Resolution.  In this case it will be 16x300 wide by 10x300 tall or 4800x3000 pixels.  The actual image will be inside this space with white space around it.  If you wish to have fewer pixels, reduce the Custom File Dimensions but keep them in the same aspect ratio for the paper size.  For example instead of 16x10 I could use 8x5 which would fgive 3400 x 1500 pixels.
    08 E- Print Job Panel08 E- Print Job Panel
  5. In the “Layout” panel, make sure all the “Margin” sliders are at their far left position (zero) and the Page Grid is 1 row by 1 column.  Then use sliders or type the size you want the actual image to be in the “Cell Size” section.  If you put these sliders at the maximum value the image will fill the paper in one direction and will have white space in the other direction.  If you use smaller values you can introduce more white space around the image on both the top/bottom and/or left/right.  In my example, I lowered the “width’ slider a bit to introduce some white space on the left and right to leave room for what my mat to cover.
    05 G - Layout Panel05 G - Layout Panel
  6. As you make these settings, the center of the display shows you the results
    06 H - 4 side canvas06 H - 4 side canvas


  1. When all is good, press the “Print to File” button at the bottom of the right panel group, then select a folder and file name for the jpg.
    07 I - Print to File button07 I - Print to File button


If you want some color other than white for the background canvas, use the color picker in the Page panel labeled “Page Background Color.

If you want a colored border between the image and canvas, use the “Stroke Border” settings in the “Image Settings” panel where you can specify the width of the border as well as picking a color for it.  For example, below I’m showing a blue canvas with a green 10pt border (not that I’d really do that)

09 J - border & canvas color09 J - border & canvas color



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