I don't now how to go about this. I'm trying to print to Nations Photo Lab. They say I need to have a bleed & trim that should measure 3.75 x 2.25 and the trimming area, where the card gets cut, is 3.5 x 2 and the safe zone where you want to keep all the important info like text is 3.25 x 1.75. I'm working in Lightroom. My template that I'm using is a 5x7. When it prints it's a bit on the small size because I guess it's used for web. All I want is to print a 5x7 post card with a collage of photos on it. It has a grey border as well, so I can't have any white paper showing. Right now I am just guessing on how much space I need around the edge. I can't have cut lines on because I have a collage of photos and can't have lines going though it. Please help!

  • For my layout style, I'm using a custom package. And I don't want to have to try to do this in Photoshop.
    – ashar
    Jan 10 '14 at 5:55
  • Just to clarify, you want to make sure that you size your photo so that everything that must be on the post card fits within the safe area, you want everything you hope gets on the card in the 5 by 7 area and you want to have stuff you don't mind if it gets on the card, but don't particularly want it there in the bleed area. They will actually print to a card slightly larger than 5 by 7 (you'll need to check on the sizes for your 5 by 7) and then cut it down. This lets them make sure the printing goes right to the edges. The safe area is because sometimes the cuts aren't exactly even.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jan 10 '14 at 14:21

It looks like you're getting the wrong dimensions for what you want. Business cards are commonly found in a 3.5"x2" size. 3.5"x2" is the target size to cut.

To ensure that text isn't trimmed off if the cuts are made too short it is suggested that they are 1/8" inch inside the edges (which is your 3.25"x1.75" safe zone; 1/8" on each side).

On the other hand, if the cuts are made too large then there will be unprinted (usually white) strips on the edges, so it's recommended to bleed over some extra background in case that happens.

This all applies to your 5"x7" postcards as well, but with different dimensions. If it's the same 1/8" tolerance then you'd have a 4.75"x6.75" safe zone and a 5.25"x7.25" bleed. To mock this up in your editor of choice you'd make a 5.25"x7.25" canvas and place guides 1/8" inside the edges to mark your target cut line, then another guide 1/8" inside that to mark your safe zone.

Also, it's not a good idea to do borders because if the cuts don't come out even (and they probably won't, just a fact of life when working with this type of equipment) then it'll appear off as one side will be thicker or straighter than the others.

  • Thanks for the help! @tenmiles most help I've gotten so far. I'll see what I can do in the a.m. Wish I knew how to use PS better. I love LR but certain things I wish where different.
    – ashar
    Jan 10 '14 at 6:51
  • 1
    Most printers I've worked with offer templates that come with the right size canvas and guides already placed. Then you just drop in your art and align it the way you want, save it, and upload it to their website.
    – tenmiles
    Jan 10 '14 at 13:33

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