This new Lightroom plugin lets you instantly upload to Instagram from your desktop
Uploading from your desktop straight to Instagram isn’t really anything new. There are a number of methods out there to let you access your Instagam account and post new images straight from Windows or OSX. Usually, they’re a bit of a long winded process.
The new LR/Instagram plugin for Lightroom, however, makes the process simple and smooth. Best of all, it’s completely free to try it out, and only $10 to register if you like it.
Compatible with all versions of Lightroom CC and regular Lightroom from 3.0 onwards, and with flavours for both Windows and OS X, it’s available to pretty much any Lightroom user who wishes to post to social media.
There’s very little instruction on the LR/Instagram website, for those who haven’t messed much with Lightroom’s publishing features before, but it’s simple enough to figure out in just a couple of minutes.
Adding captions and tags is very straightforward, as is bringing the images into your Instagram publishing queue. You can keep adding new photos, without worrying about the existing ones, as the plugin keeps track of what’s already been pushed out to Instagram, so you don’t end up getting duplicates.
One fantastic feature that only came to the Lightroom app itself a few months ago, is the ability to use multiple accounts. This is very useful if you publish to multiple accounts for different clients, or simply have several accounts for your own use so you can keep personal and work feeds separate.
After having a brief play with it, the only major issue I found, at least for me, are the social sharing options. When I post using the Instagram app on my phone, I can have it automatically announce the new image to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever, but the plugin does not yet support this.
Hopefully this is something they’ll be able to figure out in the future, but if not, then there are other options. One of those options, which we posted about a few days ago, is IFTTT (If This Then That), which monitors your various social media accounts and automates posting based on what it finds.
Another feature that will be a big one for others is that it doesn’t support scheduled posting to Instagram, but if you’re able to post manually at the times that best suit you, then it isn’t much of a problem. It only takes a minute.
I typically only tend to use Lightroom for creating ColorChecker Passport profiles (I just find it quicker and more reliable than the standalone app), preferring to send the bulk of my Raw workflow through Bridge/ACR, but this plugin could see me starting to use Lightroom a lot more regularly.
It’ll certainly be easier than the long winded workflow I have at the moment transferring images to the phone via BTSync, saving them out to the camera roll, bringing them into Instagram, clicking next a bunch of times, tapping away at that tiny on-screen keyboard, and then finally posting the image (and hoping I selected the right account before doing so).
So, if you haven’t done already, head on over to the LR/Instagram website, download it and check it out.
One word of warning, however. Uploading from non-mobile devices is technically frowned upon, and against the Instagram TOS. While they may change their stance, or decide they’re cool with this particular plugin, or even authorise & endorse this plugin, things may also not change.
They could update the mobile app & posting protocol to make this plugin potentially useless at any time. So, I wouldn’t rely on it sticking around forever until there’s some kind of response from Instagram themselves, if any.
Have you tried it yet? What do you think? Will this make you post to Instagram more often? Let us know in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.