By Scott Kelby
Date: May 30, 2008
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a gorgeous print can be enhanced by including some text. Whether you want to print info about the photo, a romantic saying, or the name of your studio, Scott Kelby's got you covered.
It’s pretty easy to add text to your photo layouts. Photoshop Lightroom can automatically pull metadata info from your photos and have it appear on the photo print, or you can add your own custom text (and/or Identity Plate). Here’s what you can add, and how you can add it.
First, a little setup: We’re going to use U.S. letter paper size, but go ahead and click a wide photo in the filmstrip. Make sure that the Auto-Rotate to Fit checkbox is turned off; then grab the bottom cell margin and drag upward as shown in Figure 1 to move the photo higher up on the frame.
Now let’s add some text. The easiest approach is to turn on the Identity Plate, which is found in the Overlays panel. Select the Identity Plate checkbox, and the Identity Plate appears onscreen. (For some reason, mine appeared upside down, so I had to click the rotate button at the upper right of the Overlays panel.) Once the Identity Plate appears, you can click-and-drag it right where you want it. For this example, drag it down and position it in the center of the white open space below the photo, as shown in Figure 2.
Although my existing Identity Plate looked good when I was using it on my web gallery layout, I’m not crazy about how it looks here. To change your Identity Plate, open the Identity Plate pop-up menu (click the down-pointing arrow at lower right in the Identity Plate preview window) and choose Edit to bring up the Identity Plate Editor (see Figure 3). Highlight your existing text and retype your studio’s name in all caps. To add extra space in the text, press the spacebar twice between letters and four times between words. I chose the font Gill Sans Light; if you don’t have that font, try Optima, Trajan, or even Arial.
Choose 14 as the point size, and click OK to lock in your changes. (Note: If you want to save this as a new Identity Plate, reopen the Identity Plate Editor and choose Save As from the Custom pop-up menu.) If you don’t think the type is large enough on your new Identity Plate, drag the Scale slider to the right in the Identity Plate section of the Overlays panel (see Figure 4).
Another option for adding text is to have Lightroom pull information from your metadata—exposure settings, camera make and model, filename, or any of the caption info you added in the Metadata panel of the Library module. Go back to the Overlays panel, which handles pretty much everything to do with text. Turn on the Photo Info checkbox (see Figure 5). By default, this option displays the photo’s filename, which will appear below the photo. If you want to change the size of the text, right below the Photo Info checkbox is a Font Size pop-up menu where you can choose a larger size.
In addition to the filename, you can choose a number of other automated settings by clicking on the pop-up menu to the right of Photo Info. For example, if you select Exposure, the exposure information appears in that spot. If you choose Edit, Lightroom displays the Text Template Editor, in which you can create your own custom list of data that Lightroom will pull from each photo’s metadata and print under the photo. In Figure 6, I chose to add text showing the exposure, the ISO, the focal length of the lens, whether any exposure compensation was used, and the model of the camera. In a fine art print layout like this, I can’t imagine why anyone would want that type of information printed beneath the photo. But you and I both know that somebody out there will read this step and think, "All right! Now I can put the EXIF camera data right on the print!" The world needs these people.
One more bit of text info you can add to your print is the Page Options. For example, if you’re printing multiple related pages (such as pages for a photo book), Lightroom can number those pages automatically. In the Overlays panel, turn on the checkbox for Page Options and then the one for Page Numbers. The page number will appear in the lower-right corner of the page (see Figure 7).
If you’re an "info hound," you can add even more Page Options to your fine art gallery print. Just turn on the other two checkboxes under Page Options, and you’ll get print settings (including chosen level of sharpening, color management profile, and selected printer) and crop marks (handy for trimming your photo after it’s printed). In Figure 8, I’ve turned on every text option—Identity Plate, Photo Info, and all three Page Options. If you were running tests comparing different printers, color profiles, or cameras, I could see having this info on your final prints, but I trust that you’ll use more discretion when creating a fine art print to be hung on the wall. Hey—I’m just sayin’.