With Lightroom, you can export one photo at a time, or as many as you wish. Export choices are made in the Export dialog box, where you can enter a name, select the file format, size, color space, and more. If you are exporting a Catalog, the process occurs in the Export as Catalog dialog box. Let's see how it works.
You can export images from any Lightroom module by using the filmstrip to make your selection (circled). Make your choice, then use the menu command File→Export. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut +Shift+E (Ctrl+Shift+E). This brings up the Export dialog box, which I'll go over shortly.
You can select and export one batch of images with one set of settings (for instance, save as JPEG), and then, before the export process is complete, start another export with a different set of settings (for instance, save as TIFF). The export progress is noted in Lightroom's Progress bar (or bars, if you have two operations running at once).
Export from the Library module
To export from Lightroom's Library module, start in the Grid view and select the image you wish to export. Select File→Export from the menu, or click on the Export button at the bottom of the left panel.
Other Export Commands
Here are some other useful export menu commands:
Export with Previous
The menu command File→Export as Previous bypasses the Export dialog box and applies the last Export dialog box settings to your images. It places your images in the previously designated destination folder or location.
Export with Presets
Selecting File→Export Presets makes all your export presets (both the default presets and those created in the Export dialog box) available without having to go through the Export dialog box.
Export as Catalog
This option is relevant if you want to create a new Lightroom catalog that contains previews and references to selected images. This "mini" catalog, once created, can be imported and incorporated into another Lightroom catalog on another computer.
Export as Catalog Options
When you select File→Export as Catalog from the menu bar, you get this dialog box. Name the new catalog and choose a location on your hard drive. Lightroom will automatically add the required .lrcat file extension upon export. Deselect Export negative files and Include available previews (circled) if you want a very quick export that doesn't include the original image files or previews. Make sure the version of Lightroom used to import a new catalog is at or above the version number used to export.
Here is the Export dialog box you get when you choose Export from the File menu or the Library's left panel. Here, you make export choices such as destination, file name, file type, etc. Let's go through all the options
Choose a preset
Lightroom ships with some commonly used Export presets: Burn Full-Sized JPEGs, Export to DNG, and For E-Mail. These are the same presets you'll see when you select File→Export Presets from the menu bar. You'll likely want to make some of your own as well. I'll show you how, later in this section.
Here, you choose a destination by clicking Choose. If you click on the triangle next to Choose (circled), you will get a pop-up menu with shortcuts to the last destinations selected. If you check Put in Subfolder, you can name a new folder that will reside in the selected folder.
You can customize a file name in this field, or just leave it as is. A preview of the file name appears in the Export dialog box (circled). Regardless of what you do, Lightroom will automatically add the appropriate file extension based on your file format choice. File Naming presets are also available, as shown in the Template pop-up menu. If you select Edit from the Template pop-up list, you can make a preset of your own.
The Filename Template Editor dialog box appears when you select Edit. In Chapter 3, I discussed how to use the Filename Template Editor. When you are finished, select Save Current Settings as New Preset from the Filename Template Editor Presets pop-up menu (circled).
File format settings
You can choose from the following file formats: JPEG, PSD, TIFF, DNG, or Original. You can Export only one file format at a time, but as I said earlier, you can start one export before another is finished, effectively exporting multiple formats nearly simultaneously.
File format image settings options vary from format to format. When you choose JPEG, for example, you can also choose the amount of compression with the Quality slider (circled). If you select TIFF, you can choose between Compression: None, Compression: LZW (which is a lossless compression algorithm), and Compression: ZIP (another lossless compression algorithm). If you choose Original, there are no image-setting options. Original, after all, sends an exact copy of your original image to the destination of your choice. If you choose DNG, there are several important options to choose from, which I'll cover in detail later in this chapter.
If you choose JPEG, PSD, or TIFF as a format, you are presented with several Image Settings options. Here is a summary of your choices:
Choose between sRGB (narrower space, used for the Web and many desktop printers), AdobeRGB (wider space, commonly used in image editing applications), and ProPhoto RGB (wider color space, but not widely supported).
If you select the TIFF or PSD file formats (but not JPEG), you can choose between 8 or 16 bits/component. It's best to use 8 bits unless you are planning to perform more image processing in another application where the extra bits give you more data to work with.
Enter a resolution as pixels per inch or pixels per centimeter. The default is 240 pixels per inch.
Constrain Maximum Size
If this option is left unchecked, Lightroom exports your image at its original pixel dimensions. Checked, you can set a maximum size for the Width or Height in a unit of your choice (circled).
Add Copyright Watermark
Check this option and Lightroom adds the name that's entered in image's IPTC copyright field to the lower left corner of every image (circled).
Minimize Embedded Metadata
If you don't select this option, Lightroom includes all the metadata entered in the IPTC fields. Select it and only copyright metadata will be included with the exported photos.
Regardless of which file format you choose, you'll have a choice of how keyword metadata is organized. If you check the box to Write Keywords as Lightroom Hierarchy (circled), applications that don't support this option will still display your keywords, albeit without hierarchical structure.
You can instruct Lightroom to do several things after export is complete.
If you select this, after export you'll return to the Lightroom module in which you were previously working.
When Lightroom resizes for export (or, for that matter, for a print or web gallery) you don't get a choice of interpolation methods as you do with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, where your choice is based on whether you are sampling up or down. What is Lightroom doing...and is it good? I asked Lightroom's "father," Mark Hamburg, and this is what he said:
"Lightroom is using a Lanczos kernel interpolation method. But the really big difference is it resamples in linear space. Depending on the image, this can create a huge difference. For example, with a Photoshop resampling, if you look closely, you can see a darkening around edges, because Photoshop doesn't generally work in linear.
Which results one likes for resampling are in part a matter of taste and also depend on the image content. In general, Lightroom should be at least as good as Photoshop and in some cases—such as upsampling—it should be clearly better."
Show in Finder/Explorer
If you select this option, after export, the files are displayed in an Explorer window (Windows) or Finder (Mac OS) window. I love this export option, and use it all the time. It saves me from the "where the heck did that file go?" frustration.
Burn the exported images to a disc
If you select this option, after export, you are prompted through the process of burning the files to a writable CD or DVD.
Open in Adobe Photoshop CS3 (or other designated editor)
Opens an exported image in the designated external editor after Lightroom applies the parameters (file format, bit depth, size, etc.) set in the Export dialog box.
Go to Export Actions Folder Now
This takes you to and opens the Export Actions folder where you can place any executable application, shortcut, or an alias of an executable application. If you do this, the next time you choose Export, the alias you added to the folder will be listed in the After Export menu of the Export dialog box. You can also add Photoshop droplets or script files to the Export Actions folder.
Making custom presets
Lightroom ships with three presets. You can modify these presets, create new presets based on the original presets, or create custom presets from scratch. The options in the Preset pop-up list will vary depending on your selections.
DNG stands for digital negative. Use Lightroom to export proprietary RAW data files—or JPEG or TIFFs— into DNG. (File→Export, or, in the Library module, Library→Convert Photo to DNG.) This will archive your photos, accompanying metadata, the original RAW file, and a full-size JPEG preview (if you wish) into an open format that is more likely to be compatible with future software applications.
You can revert to the original Export preset settings in Lightroom's Preferences. In the Presets tab, select Restore Export Presets. Your custom presets won't be affected. Here you can also select Store Presets in Catalog which will maintain your presets on a catalog-by-catalog basis.
DNG Export Options
Here are the choices you have in the Export dialog box when you choose to export a DNG file (circled).
Choices: None, Medium Size, and Full Size. Larger sizes increase total file size, but provide ready-to-print proofing.
Choose between an upper- and lowercase extension.
It's best to use Preserve Raw Image. Select Convert to Linear Image only if you know your RAW file contains unusual mosaic patterns not supported by all converters.
Options: Compressed (lossless)
Select this and your DNG file will be about a 1/3 smaller than the original RAW file with no tradeoff in quality.
Options: Embed Original Raw file
Select this, and an exact copy of the original RAW file is embedded within the DNG file, which becomes about 2/3 larger than the original file. At this time, you'll need the Adobe DNG converter to retrieve the embedded RAW file from the DNG file.
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