If you follow my Instagram account, you’ll know I’ve been playing around lately with grid photos. I thought this would be a fun experiment, actually making use of the profile 3-by-whatever grid to showcase something more akin to a mosaic. The challenge with these, of course, is making a grid such that each individual picture can stand on its own in users’ feeds, yet come together into a cohesive image in the grid.
But how do I actually make these grids?
First, I try to find an image that has enough interesting parts to be adequately divided up. This really isn’t as easy as it might sound. Most of my pictures have compositions ideal for the image as a whole; I certainly wasn’t thinking about grids when I took them.
I next have to consider which dimensions to use. This is easier than the first part, because dominant features of the picture will naturally fit into segments. Depending on the contents, I might want a 2×2 or 3×2. More commonly, though, I do smaller 2×1 or 3×1 grids.
I then crop the image to best fit these cells, visually inspecting what will fall into each.
Finally, I crop the final cells. This is actually the easy part! Lightroom allows for custom crop sizes, and it has a wonderful default of centering the new crop window.
If my desired final grid photo extends to the original photo’s edges, I can use those for anchors. Unfortunately, to get the desired compositions for each grid cell in this photo, I couldn’t use the full width of the original image. Therefore, I cropped first to 3×1 and exported this to be reimported into Lightroom as a new base image. Lightroom is naturally nondestructive, so if I tried to crop to the cells from the initial image, the original (wider) boundaries would be restored.
Using this new base image, I then duplicated the picture twice to produce the three new cells. Now selecting “crop” and setting the dimensions to 1×1, the window defaulted to the center. I was immediately given my second image. Repeating this for the other two images, it was then a simple matter of moving this window to either extreme edge, left and right.
Posting them in the correct order, a grid photo was born!