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Post Production Tips

How to Create a Print-Sized Export Preset in Lightroom 4

By Pye Jirsa on November 2nd 2012

In this episode of the Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Training we are going to create an Export preset that will export print-size images from Lightroom 4. This preset automates the process and makes it easy for you to export one image or a batch of images for print. Enjoy!

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The following tutorial is from the Lightroom 4 A-Z DVD Guide. The full DVD including 130 tutorials and nearly 14 hours of Lightroom 4 training is available in the SLR Lounge Store for only $99.




So let’s start by opening up the Export dialog box. The keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl+Shift+E on Windows and Cmd+Shift+E on Mac.

Export Dialog

Once we’re in the export dialog box, we’re going to create a new folder for our LR4 A-Z Export presets. On the bottom left-hand side of the dialog box, you click on Add, and create a New Folder and name it LR 4 A-Z. In that folder, let’s create a New Preset called LR4 Print Sized, and hit Create.


Once we have the preset made, we’re going to choose a location to export. We do want to export to the hard drive, so make sure that Export to Hard Drive is selected from the drop down menu at the top of the dialog box.

Under Export Location, you can specify a folder where you to export your images into. In our last tutorial, we already selected our Lightroom A-Z Catalog. I recommend checking the box for Put in Subfolder, and naming it 01_PrintSized. What this does is that after you choose your catalog location, Lightroom will automatically create a subfolder called 01_PrintSized and export the images under this preset into that folder.

I also don’t want Lightroom to add these images back into the catalog, so I’m going to uncheck Add to this Catalog. Next, let’s select Ask what to do in the Existing File drop down menu in order to make Lightroom ask you if you want to overwrite over an existing image.

Export Location

Depending on your workflow, you may or may not want to rename the file on export. I don’t typically rename our images on export since I do all the naming beforehand in the Library Module. If you do plan to rename your exported images, you can also set up name presets here.

Under File Settings, let’s the image format is set on JPEG with the Color Space on sRGB. The reason for this is because most printers utilize sRGB, not ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB. Uncheck the Limit File Size as well, since we are not exporting for the internet.

File Settings

For Image Sizing, let’s uncheck Resize to Fit in order to retain the maximum size from the original image. It’s a good idea to have the maximum resolution and size when printing. You also don’t want to enlarge from here, either. Make sure to change Resolution from 72PPI to 300PPI because this is the typical printer resolution.

Image Resizing

For Output Sharpening, set it for Matte Paper with Low Sharpening. It’s going to add a tiny bit of sharpening. Sometimes you can set it for Glossy, but I tend to use Matte instead.


Next, with the Metadata, I choose Copyright Only because if I use Costco or a print house like WHCC that is the only information I want them to see.

And for Watermark, leave it blank since this is going to print.

Finally, for Post-Processing, I just have it setup to Show in Explorer.



Now that all the settings have been set up, right-click over the LR4 Print Sized preset to bring up the contextual menu and click on Update with Current Settings. This will update that preset with all the settings that we have just made.

Update Current Settings



Once you have the preset all set up, all you have to do is choose the LR4 Print Size preset and hit Export. Lightroom will then export the image and Explorer will pop up to show you the finished exported image. That’s it! Our next tutorial will on how to export images for the web.



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The Lightroom 4 A-Z training DVD will turn any Lightroom novice into a complete master of Lightroom 4 in no time! The DVD which can be played on a Mac or Windows PC includes the following:
– 130 Video Tutorials and nearly 14 hours of content!
– Over 6 hours of tutorials dedicated to developing techniques
– Full Menu System for easy navigation through the tutorials
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– Exercise Files + Final Catalog so you can follow along during the tutorials
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Q&A Discussions

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  7. Miki

    Pye, I use your print export but have found that many of my clients are coming back with a common comment that the files are too large. I am wondering if For Image Sizing, let’s rather than unchecking Resize to Fit in order to retain the maximum size from the original image I should create a specific size where the files are not as large. One client said that even Costco commented that the files were huge. Thanks for your help. Miki

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  10. gus

    what would you do to enlarge the photo? since you mentioned not to use lightroom for enlarging.

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  11. Richard H. Weiner

    What I would like to know is how can I, in LR, add a white border to the image to make the physical size of common print paper (eg. 8 x 10, 5 x 7, etc.) that print shops typically have. I’ve seen instructions on using a pixel border applied to the image but that cuts BACK on pixels losing some of the image. What I’m getting at is like the Canvas resizing in PS where pixels are ADDED to the image to change the outer dimensions while not disturbing the initial image/crop.

    The reason for adding is…(1) if I make the outer dimensions to a specific paper size I expect the printer to not crop…and…(2) having the extra paper gives me more leeway when cutting the matt…I ensure I have enough paper behind the window.

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  12. Albi Kl

    Why use JPEG over TIFF if we are trying to maximise image quality? Also as Julian asked below is extra sharpening necessary and what is the difference between the sharpening methods (matte v glossy)?

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    • Pye

      There are not many labs that print from TIFF files. This is a print export preset, hence it is a JPEG format. 

      Sharpening between matte vs glossy is simply a slight difference in the optimization depending on the print mode. It is fairly negligible, but if you choose the correct medium for sharpening, it does have a marginally better result. 

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    • Albi Kl

      Thanks. That clears it up for me.

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  13. Julian

    Is it necessary to apply extra sharpening when exporting for print when you’ve already sharpened your image in develop mode? 

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    • Pye

      We apply the extra sharpening simply because we generally don’t know how large someone may try to print off of a standard full sized JPEG. The additional sharpening is subtle, but it will provide slightly better results when say blow up to a 12×18 which is larger than the originating image at 300dpi. If I know the exact size of an image that is going to print, I will develop with the appropriate sharpening for that size, and not add additional sharpening during the export process. Hope that helps. 

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