How to add QR codes to your photos

Adding a QR code to your printed photo can embed data like URL's, geographic locations, dates, and names. We'll show you how.

Photo with QR code
Ed Rhee

QR codes are cool, but they haven't quite caught on en masse yet, because finding cool uses for them have been challenging.

One popular use for QR codes is printing them on business cards. Sharon Vaknin also showed you a clever way to make a personalized QR code gift tag . In this tutorial, we're going to show you how to add a QR code to a digital photo.

Digital photos contain lots of data in them, like locations, dates, and camera type, but once they're printed, you're left with just the photo. With a QR code, you can add Web addresses, dates, locations, or just about any other detail you want to embed in the photo. Here's how

Generate and save your QR code
Go to a free QR code generator Web site, like http://zxing.appspot.com/generator, and create your QR code. We recommending generating at least a medium-size bar code. Once the code's been generated, save it to your computer.

QR code generator
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Add QR code image to photo
You can use whatever graphics program you're most comfortable with, but in our tutorial, we'll use Pixlr Editor, a free Web-based graphics editor.

Step 1: Open your photo and the QR code in Pixlr Editor. Click on the QR code image box and hit Ctrl+A to select the entire image, then Ctrl+C to copy it.

Step 2: Select your photo by clicking on it, then paste the QR code image onto your photo by hitting Ctrl+V.

Step 3: Select the Move tool, then drag the QR code image to where you want the QR code to be. Make sure you leave a little room on the edges for when the photo eventually gets cropped for printing.

Move the QR code
Use the Move tool to place the QR code where you want it on your photo. Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 4: Go to File > Save or hit Ctrl+S to save the photo to your computer.

Step 5: Print the photo on plain paper to make sure that the QR code can be scanned with your phone. If it scans correctly, print away using your photo printer or your favorite photo-printing service.

Scan the QR code on a test print
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

That's it. Now you know how to add a QR code to your photos. You can add QR codes to photo card invitations, holiday photo greeting cards, or even photos of things you're trying to sell.

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