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Use Lightroom to Preview Art Arrangements on Your Wall Before You Hang Them

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Use Lightroom to Preview Art Arrangements on Your Wall Before You Hang Them


Ever find yourself re-hanging the pictures you just hung because the arrangement didn't look as good as you thought it would? If you have a camera (your smart phone will do fine) and Adobe Lightroom, there's an easy way to see how your pictures will look on your walls before you hang them. You'll be able to arrange and re-arrange them exactly as they'll look on your wall, before you hammer a single nail. You'll even be able to print out the final arrangement as a template if someone else is hanging your artwork for you.

Immediately below are the Do It Yourself (DIY) step-by-step instructions that require a camera and Lightroom. However, if you DON'T have Lightroom and are buying one or more of my prints, I can provide this service for you at no additional cost. Instructions for doing it that way are below the DIY instructions.

The picture above is of my living room wall with 5 prints and a mirror arranged on it. It was created using this method (it's not a photo of my wall with the artwork actually mounted on it - it's a "virtual" arrangement of the art on my wall). I created a dozen or more different arrangements with several different prints in different sizes before I settled on this arrangement that we used as a template to arrange my prints and a mirror on the wall. I printed this picture and my husband was able to hang the whole arrangement easily and without any additional input from me.

These instructions contain a lot of steps, but once you do it, you'll see that it's really pretty simple. If you have questions, feel free to contact me using the Contact link in the blue menu near the top of my website. One disclaimer: I don't pretend to be a Lightroom expert and there may be many other and better ways to do this. What I do claim is that this method works!

Step 1: Take a picture of your wall.
You'll want to take a picture of the wall where you plan to hang the art arrangement. Make sure the photo is taken looking straight at the wall, and make sure you have the whole wall where the art will hang, from ceiling to floor. Include any furniture, lamps, etc., in the picture. This way you'll be able to visualize the artwork with all the things that will be around it.

Step 2: Take straight-on pictures of each piece of art that will be in your arrangement.
If you're buying one or more of my prints, use my website to select the picture and the framing options. Even if you aren't buying the frames or mattes on my site, you can use all the options there to get the print and framing looking as close as possible to how you plan to frame the print. Once you've got the picture and framing options chosen, take a screen-shot and save it as a .jpeg. Crop the screen-shot down to just the print and frame. If you're planning to hang artwork from other sources, just take a separate picture of each piece of art. These photos should be cropped so that just the artwork and frame are included in the picture -- don't include any background.

Step 3: Import the wall photo and artwork photos into Lightroom.
Import the photos into a single folder in Lightroom. Once they're in Lightroom, you can do any additional cropping or other processing necessary.

Step 4: Use Lightroom's PRINT module to set up your wall and arrange photos on it.
1. Make sure you have ALL the artwork photos and the photo of your wall in a single Lightroom folder and that you are in that folder.
2. Click "Print" in the upper-right Lightroom menu.
3. In the left-hand toolbar, select a template from the Template Browser list. An easy one to start with is the one labeled "Custom (2) 4x6."
4. Click once inside each of the 4x6 squares in your template and press your DEL button to get rid of them.
5. Scroll down the right-hand menu to the section labeled "Print Job." In that section, make sure the "Custom File Dimensions" checkbox is checked and set the dimensions to 20.00 x 13.00.
6. Drag your photo of your wall onto the center section (NOT within one of the two 4x6 boxes).
7. Use the corner handles to drag your wall photo size to fill the space (does not have to be exact, just as close as possible).
8. Now you have your wall set up and you can begin dragging, sizing, and placing the artwork photos onto the wall.
9. In the right-hand toolbar, scroll up to the "Cells" section and click the 2x4 button right under the words, "Add to Package."
10. This will create a second page in your main window with the new, blank, 2x4 frame in it.
11. Click and drag that blank frame onto your wall approximately where you'll want your first print placed (you'll be able to re-arrange as needed later).
12. Repeat steps 9-11 until you have as many blank frames as you need for the number of art pieces you are arranging on your wall.
13. Now click on each one of the blank frames and make sure the "Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio" checkbox is checked in the "Cells" section.
14. One-by-one, drag the prints you want on the wall into a blank frame. Because you locked the photo aspect ratio in Step 13, the frame will change direction based on whether the print is landscape or portrait.
15. Appropriately size each picture you've dragged onto the wall using the corner handles on each one. This "sizing" is based on the assumption that you know the approximate dimensions of the wall and the sizes of the pictures relative to the wall and any other elements in the wall photo,
16. Click and drag the photos into various positions on the wall to see which arrangements look best.
17. You can also drag different pictures onto the frames (even those with pictures already in them). This will replace the picture in the frame with the new one. You may have to resize, etc., if the new picture is a different size or rotated differently.
18. You can remove pictures from the arrangement by clicking in the picture and pressing the DEL key.
19. You can add more pictures to the arrangement by using Steps 9-11.

Step 5: Use Lightroom to print out the arrangement as a template when you're ready to hang your art.
When you have your final version, click the "Print to File" button near the bottom right in Lightroom's Print module, then select the appropriate options (i.e., jpg as a file type, location to save, etc.). You can then print the template. I had two or three possible arrangements I liked and printed them all so I could discuss the arrangements with my husband before he hung them.

Here's a screenshot from Lightroom, showing most of the menu
items and another version of the wall arrangement for the picture above:

Blog for Arranging Artwork -2

I can provide 1-5 different picture arrangements on your wall using the prints of mine that you are purchasing and any other artwork you want to include in the grouping. These will be provided as photos in an email to you and you can download them and print them out to help you decide which arrangement you like best.

Step 1: Select one or more of my prints to purchase.
You do NOT have to purchase these prior to contacting me, but you do have to know which prints you want in your arrangement.

Step 2: Use the tools on my website to add matting and a frame or canvas print style.
You do NOT have to purchase the frame or matting, but using the tools to frame your art as you plan to have it framed on your wall will allow you to get a better idea of how your final arrangement will look.

Step 3: Take a screenshot of your framed print and save it as a jpeg file.

Step 4: Use the "Contact" link on my website to email me that you want me to make wall arrangement(s) for you.
Be sure to send me your email address so I can contact you with the next steps. Include any questions you may have, too.

Step 5: Take a picture of your wall.
This should be a straight-on picture that shows the wall, ceiling to floor, and includes any furniture, lamps, etc., that will be part of the arrangement.

Step 6: Take a picture of any other artwork you will be hanging with the print from my website.
These should be straight-on photos.

Step 7: Crop the picture of the wall (if there are things in the picture that shouldn't be there), the screenshot of my print(s) with frame(s), and any other artwork you photographed.
The artwork should be cropped so that nothing but the artwork and frame shows. The wall photo should be straight on of the wall and any furniture, lamps, etc., that will be part of the arrangement.

Once I receive your email with contact information, I will email you back with additional instructions so you can get your wall and artwork photos to me to arrange for you.

I hope you enjoyed this Lightroom tip. If you want to comment, you'll find contact information on my website, below.

Susan Molnar Fine Art Photography