Did you know that you can use Lightroom to optimize your images so that they upload flawlessly onto your social channels?
After reading this quick-guide, you’ll be uploading high-quality photos to Facebook and Instagram with ease.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to exporting stunning photos from Lightroom to your social channels.
1. Edit Before Export
This guide is meant to be used after all of your edits have been done for your image. This streamlines your process and saves you - well - a bunch of repeated “saves” within Lightroom!
2. Open Your Export Menu
This can be done with two commands, depending on your OS that you use.
MAC USERS: To access this within Lightroom, use CMD + SHIFT + “E” keys to pull up the menu. You’ll then right click the images you’ve edited and select “Export.”
WINDOWS USERS: To access this within Lightroom, use CTRL + SHIFT + “E” keys to pull up the menu. Then, right click the images you wish to export and select “Export.”
3. Create Your Folders
This step is really a multi-step process and requires you to develop a system you want to use for future edited images. This allows you to ensure that there is a consistent save process that is easy to replicate.
This best protects your assets and minimizes the potential for lost files. For that reason, we always recommend that you select the “Specific Folder” export location shown below.
The idea here is to create a large parent folder that will use other subfolders - housing images that have already been exported and optimized for each social channel (Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
Once you’ve created your parent folder, you’re going to select the “select folder” button in your bottom right area.
You’ll then be prompted to select a save location, at which point you can create your subfolder. Select the “put in subfolder” box option as seen above, and name it to be relevant to whatever platform you’ll be using to post to after export. (Example: Instagram Exports)
Top Tip #1: Generally if you want to avoid potential duplication, you should not check the “Add This to Catalog” option. This ensures only ONE copy is saved in your save location and not elsewhere.
Top Tip #2: Always select “Ask what to do” for existing files. This will ensure that no file gets lost or is incorrectly saved. It’s one more layer of protection against anything that could go wrong in the save process.
Renaming Photos: Do or Don’t?
This step is optional and wholly up to your personal preference. Many photographers choose to name specifically by platform, such as (IG_export01.)
This can make searches easy, because your file export names will match what is listed within your Lightroom library. We recommend that you take a moment and ensure you’ve determined a consistent naming structure for your files, and then progress to step 4.
4. Optimize Your Lightroom File Settings
When choosing your file settings, you are presented with a variety of options. In order to ensure you don’t run into additional trouble with incompatibility issues, it’s always best to choose the most common options available.
In most cases across the internet, this would be JPEG format and sRGB color type. (Image below for example)
You would also be able to choose the quality of each file and vary this. We encourage you to experiment at different resolutions and points on the sliding scale, because this will allow you to pick one quality that will be consistent with both your aesthetic and also the needs of whatever platform you post to.
5. Size It Up!
No images are created alike - and this is especially true when it comes to posting images on social media platforms.
Within Lightroom, you’re given the option to choose your pixel and resolution ratios, and alter your sizing to ensure it appears exactly as you’d like.
We want to take a moment to remind you that Facebook and Instagram both have specific image size guidelines. Often, raw and edited images are much larger than either platform supports well.
Because of this, many photos appear compromised and “off,” coming off as blurry or compressed.
Take a moment to review ideal sizing guides for social media platforms before selecting your preferences.
Top Tip #3: You can always choose to “sharpen” the image as well under the “output sharpening” menu. This makes your image more defined and can provide an extra layer of distinction on a well-sized image.
6. Don’t Ignore Your Metadata
Metadata can be a powerful tool that allows easier distribution of your unique image, as well as acts as an ID card displaying copyright, date, and other relevant information.
You may choose to optimize this for your needs, or you can simply select “copy-write & contact info only.” See image below for an example.
Top Tip #4: Use a watermark. This helps keep your image your own - which is essential with so much theft going on in the online art space. If you haven’t set up a watermark in Lightroom yet, this step by step guide will help you do just that.
7. Save Time & Set Up a Preset
You can save valuable hours at this step in the process - simply add your settings to a pre-set which you can easily implement for future exports!
You can select the “ADD” button under the Preset dialogue box. Choose “New folder” and rename to an easy-to-identify short name which will help you choose it quickly next time. (Example: IG-Preset)
8. The Final Step…
You’ve done it! You’ve created a preset with ideal export settings for your specific platform. All you have to do is click “export.”
How This Simple Process Can Boost Your Business
Exporting may not seem like an involved process - after all, photographers do this with raw and edited images on a daily basis.
However, with the creation of optimized presets, your images will stand out from the rest. After all - they'll be beautifully sharpened, colorized, sized and clear to your viewer.
This only serves to benefit you, especially now that Lightroom has implemented a streamlined and user-friendly export process. You only get one chance at a first impression online. Exporting allows you to make that a good one.