Figuring out the proper dimensions of a gallery print can get a little tricky. Here’s how to create a Photoshop  20×16-inch template that will help you understand how to start with an image and build the final dimensions from there.

Step 1: Start with a 15×10, 300ppi black canvas

  • From the File menu select New. You can name the document here or at the end of the tutorial.
  • Set the canvas size to 15 inches for the width, 10 inches for the height at 300ppi. Click Create.

Step 2: Create the “Place photo here” layer

  • Double click on the Background layer and rename it to “Place photo here.
  • Apply a 2-pixel stroke by clicking Layer Style then select stroke.
  • In the Structure section enter 2-pixel for size, Inside for position and Black as the color.
  • Click OK. Last, change the Fill to 0%.

Step 3: Increase Canvas Size to create a border

  • From the Image menu select Canvas Size. Increase the canvas to 16 inches for the width and 11 inches for the height then click OK.
  • Create a new layer by clicking on the Create New Layer icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. Double click the new layer and name it Thin Line.
  • Fill the new layer with the foreground color by selecting Fill from the Edit menu. Click OK. From the Layers panel, change Fill to 0%.
  • Add a 10-pixel white inside stroke

Step 4: Increase Canvas to add 2-inch borders

  • From the Image menu select Canvas Size. This time, place a checkmark in the Relative box. Increase the canvas by 4 inches for the width and 4 inches for the height. Click OK.
  • Increase the bottom of the canvas by entering 1 inch for the height and choose the middle anchor point. Click OK

Step 5: Finishing Touches

  • Add a new layer and fill it with Black. Move it to the bottom Layer and change the name to Background.
  • Right click on the “Place photo here” layer and convert it to a Smart Object.

Adding an image

  • Adding an image is easy. Double click on the “Place photo here” layer to open the Smart Object.
  • From the File menu select Place Embedded.
  • Resize the image if necessary. It’s okay to go outside of the frame.
  • Drag the layer to the bottom of the layer stack.
  • Save and close the .psb document.

Like magic, the changes will appear in the main document! Add text and a logo to complete your gallery print.

Questions you should be asking

Q. Why did you start with a 15×10 inch print?

A. Most digital SLR cameras produce a 2:3 ratio print; 15×10 fits that ratio.

Q. Why are you using a Smart Object?

A. Double clicking on the Smart Object opens a new .psb document—psb stands for Photoshop Big. From here, you can place and resize an image. Moving it to the bottom of the layer will allow the top layer’s stroke to appear.

Q. Can I change the color of the layer stroke?

A. Yes; just double click on the layer style and change it.

Q. Why did we apply a 0% fill to the “Place photo here” layer?

A. This will allow the stroke to appear. If we applied a 0% Opacity, the stroke would also receive 0%.

Q. Do I have to do this every time I want to make a gallery print?

A. Nope; just save this document and add .psdt as the file extension. Now when you open this document, it will be untitled. Any changes you make will not affect the original.


I’m sure there are other questions you have. Please feel free to leave them in the comments section.