iPhoto / Pages : custom sized images for printing


I want to print two copies of the same photo on a single 8.5"x11"page and as large as possible. But iPhoto keeps pushing the photos together in the middle of the sheet with a huge white border. How can I move the pictures apart and make them as large as possible to fit the page?


  • iPhoto 9.x (iLife '11) or newer, Pages 4.x (iWork '09) or newer, or a graphics or page layout program
  • Mac OS? X Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6.x) or newer


That's a great question and one that has a few options in how to get the desired result. While you're starting with the images in iPhoto, what becomes important is to consider just what iPhoto can and can't do, then decide if that works for your needs. If it doesn't then we need to look at how other applications can lend a helping hand. In the end it really is a matter of finding the right tool for the job. In this article we'll address two common options to address the problem.

What To Do

Basically what we're trying to achieve is getting two copies of the same image on a single 8.5x11 sheet of paper. The images want to be as large as possible. With that in mind let's look at some important bits of information before we dive into the specific steps using Pages and iPhoto.

Printers and Printable Area:
It's important to remember that every printer has a different printable area. That is to say, while 8.5x11 inches may be a standard sheet size, how much area can be printed on will vary with each printer. There are various factors that affect the printable area of a given printer including the type of methods used to hold and move the paper (for both inkjet and laser/toner type printers), and how the ink heads move in the case of inkjet printers. The point being the amount of space you actually have to work with will be different depending on the printer and printer driver software. In the context of this tutorial that means the maximum size of the images on the page will vary with the printer you're using. Not to worry; the steps are the same regardless of what printer you have Smile

HINT: If you have the choice, always perform a Page Setup... before doing page layout or printing work. While virtually every Mac Application will give you access to File? menu → Page Setup... iPhoto does not. So be on the look out in your application for that hidden gem Smile

Option A: Do the layout in iPhoto
To create a single 8.5x11 inch page, with two copies of the same image in iPhoto, do this:

  1. Open iPhoto and locate your image
  2. Click once on the image to select it and choose Photos menu → Duplicate
  3. Result: You now have two copies of the same image
  4. Press and drag the mouse to select both copies of the same image. (or click on image one, then press Shift and click on the second image).
  5. Choose File menu → Print
  6. A dialog like this will appear:
  7. iPHotoPagesHelp-1a.jpg

  8. In that dialog, for Paper Size choose US Letter
  9. In that dialog, for Print Size choose 5x7. We choose 5x7 since two of those will clearly fit on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. If you add up the dimensions of two 5x7 images and they won't fit on your sheet choose the next smallest size.
  10. Press Print
  11. Result: In the next dialog you can choose to send the file to the Printer (press Print) or save it as a PDF? file (Press PDF and choose Save As PDF.... I recommend saving as PDF)
  12. Result: The end result should be similar to what was pictured above. Here's a reduction of the PDF after performing the above steps:
  13. iPHotoPagesHelp-2.jpg

As we can see, there are limitations to the iPHoto model. It doesn't allow us to create a custom image size, nor can we specify where on the page the image is printed. However, if you're happy with using the standard photo sizes presented by iPhoto then the above solution works fine. But what if we want a more custom solution?

Option B: Use Pages
In this option we'll use Pages, part of Apple's iWork '09 suite. However any page layout can be used. Many word processors, and graphics applications also let you perform this type of page layout. The steps we'll describe here are unique to Pages but the same concepts apply regardless of what application you might want to use instead. In general you'll find using a page layout application will give you a lot more flexibility and control for customized layouts. Because we're using Pages (or any of the iWork applications) we have the benefit of being able to see and use all of our iPhoto (or iTunes or GarageBand or Aperture) without any extra steps!

HINT: If you're using an application other than Pages, you will want to export the image from iPhoto first. To do that, select the image in iPhoto, and choose File menu → Export.... In the export dialog box, choose Original as the file format as this will give you the best quality image to start the page layout with.

To create a single 8.5x11 inch page, with two copies of the same image from iPhoto in Pages, do this:

  1. Launch Pages.app
  2. In the Template Chooser window, double click on Page Layout - Blank - Blank Canvas Landscape
  3. Result: A new, blank, page layout document opens.
  4. Click on the Media Icon located in the Tool Bar at the top of the document window. Alternatively, choose View menu → Show Media Browser
  5. Result: The Media Browser window opens allowing you to work with content from iPhoto, iTunes, iMovie, GarageBand, and Aperture
  6. In the Media Browser window click on the iPhoto icon to see all of your iPhoto content.
  7. Navigate in the Media Browser / iPhoto window to find your desired image.
  8. Press the mouse button down on the image and Drag the desired image from the Media Browser window into the Pages document. Release the mouse button to add the image into the Pages document.
  9. Result: The image now appears in your Pages document. From here we can size and position it.
  10. Move your cursor over the image and press the mouse button down on it and drag to position it on the page.
  11. To make the image larger or smaller by a random amount, click on the image to select it. Position the mouse pointer/cursor over one of the corner handle bars and drag that handle bar to resize it.
    • option: In the Inspector window, click on the ruler icon (metrics) and use that dialog to enter a specific size for your image
  12. When the image is sized and positioned to your liking, click on it to select it (you will see handle bars at it's corners)
  13. Press Command + D or choose Edit menu → Duplicate, or press Option as you drag the image.
  14. Result: Another copy of the image is created. Drag that copy to the desired location. It may be anywhere on the page and the images may be as close together as you like. Pages will provide you with guidelines to tell you when the two images are aligned.
  15. You may need/want to fiddle with the size and position of the images to get it to your liking. Remember you can also crop (mask) an image in Pages to fine tune things. To mask (crop) part of the image, select the image and choose Format menu → Mask and adjust the image area as per the on screen prompts.
  16. Lather, Rinse, and Repeat as desired to get the layout just the way you want it.

Here's an example of how a finished layout might look in Pages using the steps described above:


HINT: Remember you should ALWAYS do a PAGE SETUP (File menu -> Page Setup) before doing any sort of serious page layout. Every printer has a different printable area so make sure you're getting the largest possible area by doing that page setup!
HINT: We want to use a Page Layout template in Pages, NOT a standard word processing document. While it's possible to customize layout of objects in either type of document, this process is faster and easier if we start with a Page Layout template.
HINT: Even if your printer allows for full bleed/edge to edge printing (and you've chosen that in Page Setup...), I recommend allowing at least a 1/8" border on all edges of the paper when positioning the images. This allows for any sort of paper feed issues or other printing startup nuances.

We hope that helps

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak, Co-founder and Managing Editor, caddpower.com - powercadduser.com

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)