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Exporting Photos from Lightroom
Editing, Lightroom

Exporting photos from Lightroom is super easy! Plus, you can export a ton of photos at one type just by holding down “control” and clicking on each picture.

How to export photos from Lightroom

After you have chosen the photos you want to export click “Export”. A screen while pop up which gives you a lot of choices of what you want to.

I export two different ways – one for print and one for web. I place the photos back in the original folder but in a new subfolder titled “1 web” or “1 print”. I chose to put a “1” in front of those words so they would show up at the top. I wanted to be able to open a folder and see right away if the photos were saved for print and web without having to scroll through. I know I’m lazy :O)  Remember this is just how I export and organize my photos.  Play around with it and figure out what works best for you.

For Web:

  • Check box for “Subfolder” and title your folder – example “1 web”.
  • I do not rename my photos but if you want to you would do that in the next section.
  • Export as a JPEG and change the quality to 94 since some programs have a hard time if it is 100.
  • Check “resize to fit” and choose long edge.  This allows you to pick the widest size of your photo for your blog.  I use 650 pixels for my blog.
  • Make sure you have the resolution at 72.  This will keep someone from stealing your photo and blowing it up for an advertisement.
  • Check “Sharpen for” and choose “Screen”.
  • Check “watermark” if you have one.  The watermark option is very easy in LR and I suggest you playing around with it.

For Print:

  • Change the Subfolder to “1 print”.
  • Keep it as a JPEG and sRGB since my labs will accept that.
  • Unclick “Resize to Fit”.
  • Change “Resolution” to 300 pixels per inch.  You want to make sure you are sending the largest file possible to your lab.
  • Unclick “Sharpen for”.  You may want to experiment with the option for sharpening for “glossy” or “matte”.
  • Unclick “Watermark”.

  • July 12, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    Oh how I dream of having lightroom again someday ;-)

  • July 12, 2011 at 9:02 AM

    Next step: Set all those steps as a “print” or “web” preset and have two-click exports. :)

  • July 12, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    Awesome! Thank you. I just did my first wedding and wasn’t exactly sure the settings I should use. This was beyond helpful.

  • July 12, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Fantastic! Thanks so much for this… I was just playing with all of my settings today. This will be super helpful when I’m editing tomorrow :-)

  • July 12, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Wow, this makes me really wish I had LR. I am sure there is an easier way in PSE, but I have yet to figure it out. It takes me forever and I continuously mess up my print/web photos.

    • July 12, 2011 at 10:05 PM

      I think it is WAY easier than PSE. But then again, I think everything about LR is easier because me and PSE aren’t friends :O)

  • July 21, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    WOW!!! This looks SUPER easy! So much more easy than PSE. WOW!!! You don’t even have to worry about the image getting resized when you change the resolution? I’m impressed!!! I think last year around Thanksgiving or Christmas, Lightroom was on sale really cheap through Amazon. This post makes me want it even more!!!!!

    • February 15, 2014 at 2:24 AM

      Cyber Monday there was a price war on LR — I got it at about 60% off. I saw a reference to the price war about 5pm CT and it said B&H’s price was only good until 4pm ET. My heart sank, but I checked Amazon and their price was still live. Merry Christmas to ME! (Used the savings to buy a course on LR, which was also Cyber Monday half-price)

  • Brenda
    December 23, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    Thank you for all your information. This was the question I really needed answered. You are very generous! Total beginner to Adobe photo products. Happy Holidays!

  • Jessica
    January 17, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Hi Courtney,

    Just wondering what you do with all the other raw photos that you don’t print or publish on the web? Do you just leave them in raw or do you also make a jpeg copy? My first instincts were to export all raws to jpegs so that I would always have both, but maybe that isn’t necessary. Thanks.


  • Jessica
    January 17, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Sorry Courtney, I have just re-read your post on photo/file organisation and realised that you do export all as jpegs. My next question is… do you re-import the jpeg photo back in to your lightroom catalogue? If no, is there ever a reason you know of that one would want to do this. thank you!


    • January 17, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Yes, if I edit the image (which is the main goal :O) Then I export it as a JPEG so I have the option to print it if I want. I do not reimport them as a JPEG because even after you export them…the image stays in LR. It’s kind of hard to explain. LR is a place to view and edit your images. Even though you export it as a JPEG your image is still in LR as the RAW image which is awesome because if you want to re-edit or change it you can do it and export it again and again :O) Does that make sense? The only time I have reimported it is if I exported it to PSE, wrote words on it, put it back in LR so I can resize and add my watermark. I’m sure I could do that in PSE but I haven’t figured out how to add my watermark in that system (I’m kind of lazy when figuring out PSE :O) Let me know if that helps!!

      • February 15, 2014 at 2:27 AM

        I’ve done a similar thing using PicMonkey. First edit in LR, save as JPEG. Add words in PicMonkey. Import into LR to watermark. (Sharing this in case someone is like me and has LR but not PSE)

  • May 28, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I just started using LR, and this post (I found it through your weekend update) is just what I needed! Thanks.

  • Bethany
    January 26, 2013 at 10:12 PM

    This has been super helpful! I just have one question. I saw in your workflow video that you keep all your photos on your external. So, when you export them, are you exporting to your hard drive or your external? I just got LR and just started shooting RAW (I also just started Lynne’s 201 class…I found CM through you and cannot thank you enough!) but I have a macbook pro and would like to keep my photos on an external and not on my hard drive. I feel pretty clear about things until export. Also, just wondering, since I will be working on my photos through LR but they will be stored on my EHD, is it ok that I have a laptop and the EHD won’t be plugged in all the time? This is probably a silly question but I just want to be sure. I haven’t actually started doing this yet but I want to have a good handle on it so I don’t mess anything up. Thanks so much. I LOVE your blog!

    • Courtney
      January 31, 2013 at 10:59 AM


      Yes, I do store all my images on my EHD and it is always plugged into my computer. Since LR is just a way to view your images and they are not stored in it then you need to make sure that your computer is connected to where your photos are stored at all times when you are trying to edit or access your images. If LR can’t find the original source of your images it will give you a question mark in the corner of that image. So glad you are enjoying my site and loving CM! Lynne is pretty fantastic :)

  • Crystal
    January 28, 2014 at 2:55 AM

    Thanks so much for all your great info Courtney. I’m just starting to play around with LR. I shot in RAW but also save JPGs at the same time from my camera. Today I exported a family portrait and the exported copy is all grainy when the original JPG that the camera made is nice and smooth. Is it something I did? I didn’t sharpen or anything… I ‘sharpened for glossy’ but then I re-exported without it and it was still grainy. Any ideas? Thanks for everything!

    • January 28, 2014 at 5:28 PM

      Are they grainy like too much noise? Do you need to adjust the noise reduction? Not sure why they would be different for a RAW vs JPEG image.

  • Carrie Bhutia
    February 3, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    How should you save ur pics to print in Photoshop?

    • February 5, 2014 at 1:08 PM

      I don’t use Photoshop for editing but I’ll see if I can find someone to create a tutorial with tips for exporting from Photoshop.

  • February 14, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    Hi Courtney-

    Thank you for all your incredible tips! You have really helped me improve my photography. I have and LOVE Lr and just have a question (or two) about your setup. You say you set it up for print to print for 300 px per inch. Someone mentioned to me that for super high resolution photos, 700 or 1200 is necessary. Is this true? I have been entering in 1200 to make sure they have super high res photos that can be blown up, but if I don’t need to do this, I won’t! Also, you don’t mention any export sharpening….I typically sharpen for matte no matter which is being printed. Do you not apply a export sharpen?

    Thank you so much! I truly appreciate all your information.


    • February 28, 2014 at 2:58 PM

      I was told 300 pixels per inch and it has worked for me even when I blow my images up. I export for screen for web and I don’t export to sharpen for print. That is just me. You could definitely do matte if that is how you are going to print them :)

  • Megan
    February 27, 2014 at 1:59 AM

    Hi Courtney! This was super helpful, thank you!! You might of answered this already but what settings would you suggest for photobooks?? thanks so much.. love your site!!!

    • February 28, 2014 at 2:55 PM

      Thanks! I would export them using the same settings as print.

  • Lia
    March 19, 2014 at 10:43 AM

    For me, 300 it,s still not big enough. Which one is the biggest file I can get from Lightroom?

    • March 24, 2014 at 9:52 AM

      Honestly, I have only printed as large as 300. I have been able to print 24×30 with this size.

  • Isabella
    April 9, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Thank you!

  • Kristy Dingee
    June 1, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    I’m curious…as a beginner, I am wondering if it’s better to save a photo as a JPEG or a JPEG 2000?

    • June 2, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Hey Kristy,

      I’m not familiar with the JPEG 2000 but you should be fine just saving it as a JPEG.

  • July 22, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Ah! thank you for this! I just did my first wedding that I am super proud of and wanted to be sure I was giving her the best possible images. This helped me a lot! Thank you! You’ve helped me so much!

  • August 9, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    Hi Courtney! I am new to lightroom and need to export some photos as high resolution onto a cd so they can print them! Will you instructions above work in Lightroom 5?? :)

  • October 23, 2014 at 4:56 AM

    Great tips Courtney :) I have just taken up Lightroom after 6 years of using unedited pictures straight out of my camera and can already see the difference !

    Do you think that the export screen has anything to do with making your exported jpeg “crisper” or “glossier” (for the lack of better words :))

    • October 23, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      Thanks! There is an option to “sharpen” your image during export. I personally don’t do it for print but do for screen. You can test it out and see if it helps.

  • Julia
    November 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    Hi Courtney, great article :) I was wondering, if I want to showcase my existing photos in my blog – the ones that I already corrected in Lr but with different size/ resolution, how do I go back and change the parameters of my photos, do I have to export them into Lr again? Thanks!

    • November 20, 2014 at 1:23 PM

      Yes, you would need to export them again to the correct size you want for your blog. I know it’s a headache but it will pay off when you see your beautiful images on display :)

      • julia
        November 27, 2014 at 8:39 AM

        Great, thank you Courtney :)

  • Courtney
    January 24, 2015 at 7:55 PM

    Hi Courtney! I’m not sure if you are answering questions to this post anymore but thought I would try. I have spent hours and hours trying to figure this out. I shoot in RAW and edit in Lightroom. . .trying to resize for web. I did everything you said above but my pictures look really pixelated. Ugh!! I also tried using PSE (don’t have full PS), used so many different combinations of pixels and resolution, researched a ton and I can’t figure out what I am doing wrong! I settled on just limiting the file size to 500k and resizing when I upload to my website but it makes the pictures have weird stripes/swirls in the sky. Is there any advice you have? I think I’m the only one with this problem and it’s driving me crazy!!!

  • Quanessa
    April 4, 2015 at 2:55 AM

    Thank you so much for this tutorial :). My workflow shall rie smoother now.

  • Cecile Fusco
    April 20, 2015 at 3:22 PM

    This is EXACTLY what I needed to know. Thank you so much! And thank you thank you thank you for all the awesome information. You are wonderful!

  • Melissa Fenoglio
    May 11, 2015 at 5:25 PM

    Hi! I was hoping to get a little help :) I edited photos in LR 5 and exported at 300dpi/quality 100– srgb and left the resize box UN-checked. The images look beautiful and sharp on my MAC, yet when I put them on a flash to give to a client, they said their hair looked distorted (almost crimped looking?). They thought it was just their laptop, so took to Wal-Mart photo lab and saw the same thing. I am wondering if it’s just that the equipment is unable to read/process these photos? The size of most is 4016×6016. Maybe that is what is causing the images to look so bad?
    :( Any help is appreciated!


    • May 21, 2015 at 1:31 PM

      That is strange. I do know that a lab like Walmart will not print at the quality of a pro lab so I would suggest to either print their images for them (be sure to charge for this service) or provide them with a list of consumer labs they can use that will do your images justice when they are printed like Mpix or UnitPrints. It sounds like they think the images are too sharp. Are you over sharpening?

  • Carlena
    July 21, 2015 at 2:46 AM

    I know this forum was up a while ago, but I used to export my files and resizes them to the short edge being 16 inches and the resolution 300 ppi for my print files. However, while they were large sizes, some were printing a little pixelated. I was told to not “size” my photos and just set the resolution to 300 ppi. However my files (I use a 12.1 MP Nikon D700 camera and shoot RAW) are only exporting to 3.5-5.5 MB files. Are these large enough for print if they wanted a large canvas or metal print? Why are the files so small when my RAW files are 12 MB? I’m really frustrated with this and am having a hard time finding answers. Please help!!

    • July 23, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      Hey Carlena, I know it can be frustrating but if sizing for print, I agree. Don’t resize but only change the resolution to 300ppi. It should definitely be large enough to print but you can always double check with your lab if you are concerned.

  • Crystal M
    August 11, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    I had a question. I want to make a canvas of one of the photos as a gift. I want it to be 16X20. What would be the correct size to export it out of LR so that the resolution would be great? Thanks !

    • August 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      I would still export it as a 300 pixels per inch. That way you are exporting at the highest quality.

  • Solanch Almeida
    November 10, 2015 at 11:28 AM

    In regards to the settings for print, will this be okay if my client wished to print a 20×30 picture? I print with Costco, but for the 20×30 picture, it says the Optimum resolution pixel dimensions should be 150dpi – is this the same as ppi (pixels per inch)? Please help!!

    • November 10, 2015 at 12:26 PM

      If you export as 300ppi you shouldn’t have any issues with the resolution :)

  • Vera Chwostyk
    November 25, 2015 at 10:40 PM

    Thank you so much. I wish I read this before I had prints done at Costco. I exported my files as Prophoto thinking that was the best for prints. Needless to say, when I got my prints they were terrible! I used the same Prophoto setting when I did a metallic print at MPIX.com and had no issues. I guess that is the difference between a good professional lab and cheap commercial labs. Thank you for all your great advice and tips.

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