Question for you: who uses the Lightroom Publish services? If you do, you’re probably already enjoying the time it’s saving you. Sleeping in later, enjoying extended holidays, spending more time with the kids etc. Ah, choices, choices.
OK, I might be exaggerating. A little. But really, the humble Publish function in LR has to be one of the best tools a busy photographer can have – and it’s been hiding in plain sight if the folks I talk to about it are anything to go by. Trust me. It just saves so much time!
Why? How? Well let’s start by taking a quick look at the nature and functionality of Lightroom. As well as being an excellent RAW convertor, it’s a brilliant organiser of images – I have over 250,000 in my main catalogue and I can rapidly locate anything using a variety of search criteria. I can even find all the images I took at a certain ISO with a selection of camera bodies. And I only store locally the original RAW or PSD files – OK I have some JPGs in the catalogue as well but these are my original full sized-images when I shoot JPG in camera. I don’t store a selection of different-sized files for different purposes with a variety of watermarks – for Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, website use etc. So what do I do instead? I Publish!
Using Publish, I set up different services which means I can drag and drop my master file on presets for Facebook, Flickr, SmugMug etc. The presets contain all the relevant information on size, watermark, sharpening, meta tags etc. Within seconds, my original file has been uploaded to several social media locations and with absolutely no duplicates on my local drives.
I also publish to Google Drive and Dropbox, using the Hard Drive Publish function and the ‘Smart’ criteria which is based on an automatic colour coding and starring system. Instantly, all my 5 star images are in my ‘Dropbox 5 Star’ folder and available on my phone and tablet. Magic.
As well as the built-in Publish modules that ship with Lightroom, there are dozens available from third parties. I already mentioned SmugMug but take a look at Jeffrey Friedl’s excellent range. The LR Facebook Publish service only works with an FB profile whereas Jeffrey’s will publish to pages and groups as well.
What’s the difference between exporting and publishing? A good question. Well, exporting is a one-time, one-way event. Not so with Publish which will ask if you want a re-edited image updated and, in some cases, will even pull back information such as comments into Lightroom.
Listed below are currently my Favourite Lightroom Publish Plugins:
- LR Hardrive – ships with Lightroom
- JF Facebook – Jeffrey Friedl
- JF SmugMug – Jeffrey Friedl
Also, try Jeffrey Friedl’s Collection Publisher which replicates a Lightroom Collection structure to a hard drive – very handy! Try using it with a USB drive when you need to take images out and about with you.
So get your life back and start using the Publish Plugins! Of course, if you’re anything like me, you will use all the time you claw back on those other photography-related tasks you never had time for in the past. Well, didn’t I say it was all about choices?