If you are fed up with being restricted to a single photograph as your Facebook cover photo, why not try a collage of pictures that show off your style? In the past, I’ve used a template given away freely, but today I decided to make my own, using Lightroom.

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Here are the instructions to make one:

1. Make a collection

Select a few photographs that you will use for your shortlist…maybe ten or more. Add them to a collection. For this task, the quick collection will be good enough.

In the grid view add photos to the quick collection by mouse-click on the little round symbol which appears when you hover over the thumbnail. You can add one at a time or a group together. You can add the original photos or virtual copies to this collection. Once added, you will see a solid looking circular symbol on each thumbnail, like this:

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Highlight the quick collection itself:

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…and then go to the Print Module.

2. Print Module

In the print module, your selection of photos will show as thumbnails in a strip along the bottom. You will see your recent page size in the work area, but need to make a new page size for the Facebook Cover.

3. Set Up Page

Make a page the right shape for FB Cover images. In the Layout Style tab (top right of screen), select “Custom Package”

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The “Page Setup” is bottom left of your screen, below the collections. You need to set up a new page size there, which has the same aspect ratio (long side to short side relationship) as Facebook’s cover image.

Click on “Page Setup” and it will open your printer driver…don’t worry about this…you are not actually going to make a print, but it is through this dialogue box that you can set up your page attributes. Open up the Paper Size drop down and select custom page size (or it may be named slightly differently on your printer). You need to select the “Properties” button and find the “Edit Custom Page Size”, which may be in the Advanced Options. This is the tricky bit, because the driver software will be different for different printers. I used Cute PDF, a freebie piece of software as the driver to set up my page size. The re-size dialogue is buried deep:

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The FB cover image is 851×315 pixels but we are only setting up the shape of the picture here, so any size with that ratio should work. Set up a paper width of 85.1 inches wide and 31.5 inches high (or 8.51×3.15 inches or 851x315mm) We only need the proportions to be right as the actual dimension for output will be chosen later, within Lightroom. Your setting will create a page of the correct shape in Lightroom….so, don’t worry about the print size just now. Click OK as required.

Now you should see a rectangle of the correct shape in the centre of your LR Print Module screen. If it doesn’t look the shape of the FB Cover, you need to go back and check what you have done wrong!

4. Adding Cells

Now you need to add cells to contain your pictures.

On the right side of your LR screen, you should see a heading “Cells”. Click on one of the presets and it will add a cell to your page. You can re-size and re-shape the cells by just grabbing the corner handles and stretching as you want. Fill up the space with cells of different shapes and sizes. If you accidentally over-spill and it creates a second page, just re-size your cells withing your work page and close the additional page with the X button. You can also use the Del Key to delete cells.

You can also just drag an image into the workspace to automatically create a cell.

Once you have a set of cells you are happy with, click on the + sign on the Template Browser (left side) and save your page as a template with a suitable name – e.g. Facebook Cover Montage. You can come back and re-use it or edit it any time.

This is the hardest bit done.

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5. Add Images to Cells

Now the fun bit…drag and drop your images into the cells, one at a time. If you change your mind about the position of a picture, just drag it from the thumbnails into another cell and drag another one on top of the original cell.

You can always re-size the cells to suit the pictures at this stage…just grab the corner and drag. Hold down the shift key to constrain the proportions. A right click on a cell brings up a context sensitive menu where you have other options, e.g. match photo aspect ratio.

When an image is cropped within a cell and you want to move it, just hold down the CTRL key and a hand appears as you hover over the cell, which allows you to re-position the image within the cell.

In “Image Settings” you can add borders and strokes as required. In the “Page” dialogue, you can change the background colour of the page. Play with these functions and create something uniquely yours.

Also, remember that your FB profile picture will cover up a significant area of your FB Cover at bottom left so make sure you allow for this in your design. The design below wouldn’t work too well with that!

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6. Size the Output File

To output your image for the web, go to “Print Job” on the right hand side…select

  • JPEG File
  • File resolution of 72 ppi
  • Sharpening as required
  • Quality as required (FB will squish it anyway, so I tend to start off with a good quality)
  • Custom File dimensions of 11.82 inches by 4.38 inches
  • Profile: sRGB
  • Intent – probably Perceptual is the better choice…up to you!

Click on the “Print to File” button at bottom right and save your image on your system, somewhere you can find it again. If the Print to File Button is greyed-out, you have not selected JPEG file.

print output

Open your file in a file browser and check the dimensions…it should be 851×315  pixels. If it isn’t, go back and check where you got it wrong (or where I did 🙂 )! Hope it all made sense.

Here are others made from the same template…have fun!!!

wheeeeeee

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