A trading card workflow using Adobe Lightroom and the Canon Pro-100 printer

Studio dancer trading cards

I recently tasked myself with creating dancer trading cards for The Studio’s spring recitals. This involved producing 2.5″ x 3.5″ (baseball card-sized) cards of over 700 dance portraits.

First I needed media. I ordered some 2.5″ x 3.5″ artist cards, but found that none of my printers could print on media that small (and those cards are not ideal for printing anyway). Then, with the assistance of math and the Googles, I realized that photo printer-friendly 5×7 paper would perfectly accommodate four trading cards. I ordered three different brands of glossy 5×7 paper that had received good ratings, and they all proved to be of good quality.

Next I went about creating the design in Photoshop. Lightroom permits you to print a watermark on a given photo, but that watermark can be any collection of graphics. Mine included the Studio logo, the year, and the recital logo. I created it as a transparent png and pointed to it from Lightroom’s print module. My test of superimposing it on a dance photo was successful, although I noticed a full-length portrait on a 2.5×3.5 card would result in a very small dancer.

That meant I had a lot of cropping to do. Since Lightroom Mobile is quick when it comes to cropping, I synced the dance portrait collection to the Adobe cloud so it would be available on the iPad. Cropping 700+ portraits to fit the trading card format still wasn’t fast, but took less time than it would have on the computer.

With the cropped collection back in Lightroom, I worked in the print module to place four watermarked cards on a 5×7 sheet. That done, I printed the entire collection to jpg files. Then I imported those files into Lightroom as a new collection.

Why print to files first instead of 5x7s? That’s where the Canon Pro-100 became a factor. There are issues with that model of printer and Lightroom. (I can certainly attest to this after numerous frustrating failed attempts to print borderless 13x19s from Lightroom.) Thankfully, Canon produces a Lightroom plugin called Print Studio Pro that makes everything work (once the watermark is already applied).

From that point, the challenge was reloading paper and depleted ink cartridges (and making several ink cartridge orders from B&H), then sorting the photos into age groups.

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