April 15, 2020

Export from Lightroom

Once you’ve taken and edited a photograph in Adobe Lightroom, you’ll want to share it. Part 1 of different ways to export your pictures

There is lots of joy in taking a photograph. The feeling of being at a location and using all the technical skills in your locker to capture a beautiful picture. You may then spend time editing to enhance the fantastic shot. The final stage is sharing your photographs with others. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my pictures, and over the next two weeks, we are going to look at a couple of ways to export photographs. This week we are going to look at the standard export method,

Export to Hard Drive

I hope that you are taking your pictures in a RAW format because of the additional data that we benefit from. The downside of doing this is that you can’t upload a raw file to social media sites or other photo sharing sites such as Flickr. To share your photos, you would need to create a file using a format that is readable on these sites, such as JPEG or PNG.

The first method of outputting our photographs is using the Lightroom Export Process, which does this conversion for us. A few weeks ago, we touched on the use of the Export process in the blog about adding a border ready for printing. We’ll go into this useful tool in a little more detail. To open the Export box, right-click on any photograph in Lightroom and hover on the Export menu item then take the Export option in the next pop-out menu.

The Export dialog box has quite a few options so we’ll go through all of them to show the flexibility of the export process in Lightroom. The first option at the top of the Export dialog is where you are going to output your photographs to – you have three options. E-mail, hard-drive and CD/DVD. Taking the option E-mail means that you can send pictures using a reasonably basic e-mail client. I can’t remember the last time when I output anything to a CD or DVD so we’ll ignore this option and concentrate on the Hard Drive option.

Output location

Working from the top on the right, we can decide where to output the file to. There are three options available.

Specific Folder – with this option, you can set a particular folder that the export process will output to. I use this option for pictures sent to Facebook to always save the output image to a folder called Facebook Images.

Same Folder as Original Photo – this is relatively self-explanatory and will keep the edited image in the same folder as the original photo.

Choose folder later (useful for presets) – with this option you specify the folder you would like to save the photographs after you press the Export button at the end. A little later we’ll create an export preset which makes this feature useful. I use this option when I am editing photographs for clients. When I run the export process, I can create a folder that the client will be able to access using Dropbox during the process.

File Format

The next option is to set the File Format for the exported file. The five options available are JPEG, PSD, TIFF, PNG, DNG and Original. I’m never quite sure why you’d want to output in the same format as the original! If you are going to post your photos to social media or photo-sharing, you should take the options JPEG or PNG. If you are fortunate enough to be asked to send photographs for publication in a magazine, then you may be asked to submit either PSD or TIFF files as they do not compress the images.

File Sizing

Continuing down the menu, you can specify the size of the file using one of six options. You can also define the resolution of the exported file.

Width and Height – you can specify the maximum size of the width and height. You should be aware that if the ratio of the two sides doesn’t match those specified, then it will adjust to the longest it can to meet the criteria – it won’t crop to suit the width and height specified. As an example, let’s say you had a portrait orientation image that was 1200 high and 800 wide. In the option boxes, you determine that you would like the height of 400 and a width of 600. The resultant file will be 400 pixels high and 266.66 pixels wide. It couldn’t create a file 600 wide without making the height greater than 600

Dimensions – this is similar to width and height, but this time it is agnostic to specifying which edge should be the longest. If we detailed in the above example dimensions of 600 x 400, then the resultant file will be 600 pixels x 400 pixels.

Long/Short Edge – these two options allow you to specify the length of either the shortest or longest edge. Lightroom will then automatically adjust the opposite side to retain the same orientation.

Megapixels – adjusts the dimensions of the file to make it meet the size in megapixels specified. Take care when using this option as you could produce a tiny file if you keep a high resolution and determine a small megapixel size.

Percentage – as it suggests, this option will allow you to reduce the size of the file to a certain percentage. There isn’t an option to be able to increase the file size beyond 100%.

Sharpening and Metadata

Moving further down the menus is the option that adds sharpening, depending on where the image will be used. If you don’t want to apply to sharpen then uncheck the tick box. I prefer to sharpen the image in the Develop module of Lightroom and not use this option.

Finally, we have an option to decide what metadata is attached to the image. The five options determine how much information you are going to tell people about the file.

Copyright Only – will only show the information included in the IPTC Copyright Section of the metadata in the Lightroom Library Module

Copyright and  Contact Info Only – this option adds the Contact section in the IPTC data in the Library module.

All Except Camera Raw Info – the viewer can now see everything in the IPTC section. It will also add the EXIF information added by the camera, which shows the settings that were used to take the photograph.

All Except Camera and Camera Raw Info – in addition to the settings this option will add in things like keywords, title fields, captions etc.

All Metadata – as you would expect, all data relating to the image and editing is included in the file.

If I am supplying photographs to a client, then I will tend to use Copyright & Contact Info Only as I don’t necessarily want them to see the magic that went into taking the photograph. When I am using images for training, then I will use the All Metadata option.

When you are ready to export with all the settings added press the Export button and your file will be written to the hard-drive

Creating an export preset

Now we know how to write a file we may want to use the same process over and over again. Lightroom makes this easy for you by allowing the creation of export presets. To do this, add the settings you would like as above then instead of pressing the Export button, press the Add button on the bottom left of the Export dialog. Give the preset a name and select the folder where it will be saved.

When you want to use the preset, you can see the name listed when you right-click on the photograph. Presets are a great time saver for export settings that you use often.

Coronavirus shut-down

We are going to have an extended period of lock-down so it would be great to have suggestions for blog-posts that you would like to see. Don’t forget; I have set up a Virtual Classroom on the Edinburgh Photography Workshop website. You can book a personal one hour webinar to help you with any aspect of your photography, including camera advice, Photoshop and Lightroom tips or portfolio reviews.

If you’d like to buy one of my limited edition prints, they are available at richdysonphotography.com

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