This is part 5 of a 5-part series on Lightroom presets. The segments are:
- Import and Library Modules
- Develop Module
- Map and Book Modules
- Slideshow, Print and Web Modules
- Export Module (this post)
Well, we’ve come full circle. Your images have been imported, selected, keyworded, marked, processed, output, etc. and none of them have been touched by Lightroom (except if you specifically instructed to delete images from the hard drive). The most common way of showing your images – whether in an online gallery like Flickr, Smugmug or 500px, on a site like Google+ or Facebook or simply on a flash drive or by e-mail is to export them from Lightroom. When you choose to export an image, Lightroom takes the initial information from the image file, applies the Develop settings and other changes you’ve made and creates a copy of each image that is then exported to an external plugin, a publish service, website, hard drive or e-mail location. While Photoshop has a facility to export multiple sizes of an image or image simultaneously, Lightroom does not. Lightroom does however allow you to create presets with various export options.
Clicking on File/Export brings up the Export Window, and here you select the location for the exported image (Publish Service, plugin, hard drive, DVD, e-mail, etc) and set all of the parameters you wish with regard to file size/ quality, watermarks, file renaming, metadata, etc. Once you have the parameters set you can create a new Saved Preset by clicking on the Add button.
Within the Export module there’s one more preset function, and that’s for Watermarks. Watermarks are also available in the Slideshow, Print and Web modules, but the presets are the same and all modules use the same watermark editor. We don’t use watermarks much on our images. For one thing, we don’t make large, high resolution images available online and for another, all of our work is covered by a Creative Commons license, Non-Commercial Non-Dervis and people have been pretty good about respecting that.
Once you have your preset(s) created, exporting multiple images from Lightroom with multiple sets of parameters is a simple operation.
The above image is a composite showing two different ways of getting to the same place. After selecting an image or group of images for export, one can either click on File/Export/Export with Preset, or simply right-click on one of the selected images and select Export. Either way will bring up a list showing the Export Presets you have available. Select one and Lightroom will go about the business of exporting images in the background. If you wanted to export the same images at three different file sizes/ quality levels and you had, for example, three presets: 1024×78 – 300ppi, 800×600 – 200 ppi and 640×480 – 72ppi, it would be a simple manner of selecting the first preset and beginning the export then going back to File/Export/Export as Preset (or right-click/Export), selecting the second export preset, then repeating this process and selecting the third preset. Lightroom will judge the memory allocations necessary to most efficiently complete all three exports. Fortunately you had the foresight to set each export preset to have a different folder location or at least a different naming sequence; otherwise Lightroom would have to pause to ask you each time if you wanted to overwrite the file you had just exported. As mentioned in the first segment, you may also want to read our Import/ Export Tips for Lightroom post.
Okay, I think that’s it. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! I trust by now you’ll see how powerful presets within Lightroom can be, and how they can make your workflow faster and more efficient. As a final closing suggestion, when creating presets in Lightrom – whether import presets, metadata presets, develop presets saved prints or whatever, do use names that are informative and that make sense to you. It may be simpler to name your presets ‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’… but unless your memory is much better than mine, those names won’t mean much to you in the days to come. The pre-DOS days of 8-character file-names are gone, and while it’s not necessary to write a paragraph-long name for each preset, a print preset called “8×10 Portrait, Single Image, Letter-Sized Paper” for example will mean something the next time you go looking for it.
Okay… step away from the computer and go out and make some photographs!
P.S. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on “Lightroom’s History, Snapshots and Virtual Copies”