Apple’s iPhoto and Aperture programs let you turn your high-resolution photos into posters, and other photo services offer similar poster-printing options. But unless you’re making billboards or signs, chances are you don’t want a huge, poster-sized version of a single photo. Instead, you want a collage of your favorite photos, artfully arranged, and Posterino 2 is perhaps the best tool for doing just that.
When you launch Posterino, the program presents you with nearly two dozen templates: 13 photo-collage posters, five “photo frames” (posters with just a few photos, tastefully laid out on a nice background), four e-cards (smaller layouts suitable for sending via e-mail), and a blank layout for your own design. For example, the collage templates include “365,” a layout designed to chronicle a year with one photo per day. Choose your template, and Posterino prompts you to choose the size of the resulting poster (13 standard sizes are available, from 4 by 6 inches up to 20 by 30 inches, though you can add custom paper sizes using the program’s Preferences window), the orientation (portait or landscape), and the resolution, in dots per inch, of the resulting poster file.
Then it’s time to fill in the poster’s photo wells. You can manually drag a photo from the Finder into each well, but Posterino also integrates with iPhoto, Aperture, Adobe Lightroom, and common Mac OS X photo locations such as your Pictures folder inside your home folder. Images and folders from these sources appear in the image browser on the left. Select, for example, an iPhoto album and its photos are displayed in the preview area below.
You can drag images from the preview area into the poster’s wells, or you can select an album and click Fill At Random to have Posterino randomly choose photos from the selected album or folder and insert them into the wells. If you don’t like the layout, a click on the Shuffle button shuffles the photos. Using the Crop Image command, you can reposition any photo in its well or adjust the photo’s zoom level.
At any time, you can toggle the Preview/Layout switch to modify the layout and attributes of the poster. You can adjust the paper size, orientation, and DPI; the background color and texture (or even apply a background image); and the frame, if any, around each photo. You can apply filters—desaturate, sharpen, sepia, and vintage among them—to the entire poster or to individual photos. You can also manually tweak any photo well, adjusting its size and rotation, or change the size of all wells at once. Posterino automatically adjust the poster layout to fit your new settings.
Other tools let you add frames, text, photo metadata, and other elements to your poster. If you add multiple elements, you can choose how those elements are layered. There’s also a nifty full-screen mode that lets you design your poster distraction-free.
Once you’re satisfied with your creation, click Export and you can save the poster to your hard drive as a JPEG or TIFF image (for later sending to a printing service), send it as a “postcard” (with or without a custom postmark) via e-mail, import it into iPhoto for printing using Apple’s printing service, upload it to Flicker, or simply use it as your Desktop image. If you’ve created a design from a blank template, or customized one of Posterino’s stock templates, you can save that new design as a template—it then appears in the template chooser at launch.
One feature I wish Posterino had was a way to print a large poster onto multiple smaller pieces of paper, a la PosteRazor. I also found that while Posterino supports the Undo command, for some reason deleting a photo from a well isn’t an undo-able action. But I haven’t found any other program that makes it as easy to create custom collages and posters out of your favorite photos.