Adobe has made it very easy for us to export multiple photos in Lightroom to speed up the post production workflow. They then took it a step further and made it possible to mass export multiple images in different file formats and sizes with custom names and to different places at once.
Of course, you don’t have to export photos from Lightroom, unless you want to share them digitally or print them. But if you do, I’m sure you want it to be as quick and easy as possible.
We’ll first look at the straight forward way to export multiple photos and then the huge time saving way to export different versions of the same image.
How do I mass export photos from Lightroom?
Exporting multiple photos in Lightroom uses the same process as exporting a single image. The only difference is the number of selected photos. So you must first select multiple photos.
You can do this in the Library Module using grid view or by using the filmstrip in loupe view. You can also use the filmstrip view in the Develop Module to select photos. Now, here’s how..
STEP 1 – select images to export
Adobe gives us 3 ways to select multiple photos in Lightroom to export:
1. Select all photos in a folder or collection
- Command A (or Control A for Windows)
2. Select consecutive photos
- Click the first photo in a series of images
- Hold down Shift
- Click on the last photo
3. Select photos that are spread out
- Click the first photo
- Hold down Command (or Control for Windows)
- Click the photos you want to export
STEP 2 – open Export dialog box
You can open the export dialog box from either the Library Module or the Develop Module.
1. Exporting from the Library Module
- Click the “Export” button at the bottom of the left panel
2. Exporting from the Develop Module
- Click “File” in the menu bar at the top of the screen
- Scroll down and click “Export”
A quicker way to do this is to use the Lightroom shortcut, which is to hold down Shift and Command (or Control) and push E on the keyboard.
STEP 3 – select the export preset or input your export settings manually
You don’t have to use a preset for exporting photos in Lightroom, but if you use the same export settings often, it saves time to use export presets. You’d need to create an export preset first, however.
I’ve written an article on export settings for online use and print, so won’t go into detail, but here’s a quick run through of the export dialog box and the export settings I use. When you click export and the export dialog box opens you’ll see that’s divided into sections, so here’s what I do for each section:
- Make sure “Hard Drive” is selected under “Export To”
- In Export Location set where you want the exported file to go on your computer (I always have it set to “Specific folder”)
- Click the “Choose” button to open your file menu and set the export location
- Under File Naming if you want to rename a file check the box next to Rename To
- Open the drop down menu and select the option you want to use
- If you’ve selected one of the custom text options, enter this in the Custom Text box
- Enter the number you want to start the sequence at in the “Start Number” box if you’ve selected one of the sequence options
- In File Settings select the Image Format you want for the exported file in the “Image Format” drop down menu
- Enter the Color Space you want to use (most often this is sRGB)
- Enter Quality (for web use I set this to 75 and for printing I set it to 100)
- I don’t check the “Limit File Size To” option
- In Image Sizing it’s best to Resize to Fit the Long Edge
- Then select pixels for web use or inches or centimetres for print and then enter the size
- Select pixels per inch or pixels per centimetre and set the Resolution (72 for web use, 300 for print)
- Under Output Sharpening I only ever sharpen for screen, which I set to Standard
- Select the Metadata option you’d like for the metadata of the image to be exported with the file
- Select the Watermark you want, if you use watermarks and have created a watermark
- Under Post Processing select “Do Nothing”
- Click “Export”
Further reading: Lightroom export settings for web and print
STEP 4 – export multiple photos
Once you’re happy with your export settings, click “Export” to export files.
It will of course take longer to export multiple photos in Lightroom than single images. You can however export as many photos as you like at once.
Exporting multiple photos in Lightroom – different versions at once
We’ve covered batch exporting. Now let’s look at multi-batch exporting. Basically, it’s photo exporting in overdrive!
Multi-batch exporting photos in Lightroom massively speeds up your workflow! Even better – it involves just a couple more clicks to batch export photos.
You can find detailed step by step instructions further down with screenshots to help you, but here’s the process in a nutshell:
Quick tips for multi-batch exporting in Lightroom:
- First create export presets
- Then in the export dialog box check the boxes of the presets you wish to use
- The “Export” button changes to read “Batch Export”
- Select where you want to save your photos
- Assign a file name (optional)
- Click “Export”
When would you export multiple versions of a photo?
1. Posting the same photo to different social media platforms
They all have different image size requirements, which can be a real pain if you want to post the same photo on different social media platforms. To maintain image quality on social media, it’s best to export photos in Lightroom at the exact size required by the social media platform.
I’m not talking about aspect ratio, because to get exactly the right crop, you’d need to do that for each photo. I mean the size of the image on the longest side, e.g. 2000 pixels, which is one of the export settings in the Adobe Lightroom Classic export dialog box.
2. Exporting print, web use and social media versions of the same image
Batch export an image or set of images with different export settings and file names at the same time to different folders using the multi-batch exporting method I outlined above (we’ll get into the details in a moment).
I create two versions of each image for my personal brand clients. One is high resolution for printing and the other is low resolution for using online. So using Lightroom multi-batch export is a huge time saver for:
- Quickly exporting hundreds of high resolution and low resolution images
- At the same time
- With different file names
- To a single folder
If I wanted to I could choose to save them in different folders, but using different filenames that I create during the export process means that they can go into the same folder without any difficulty.
How to export multiple photos in Lightroom – multi-batch exporting
After creating export presets:
- Select all the images you want to export
- Click “Export” to open the export settings menu
- Check the boxes next to the export presets you want to use (normally, to export just one version of the image, you’d just click on the preset text)
- The “Export” button changes to read “Batch Export”
- Click “Batch Export” to open the next menu
- Choose the folder/s to send the different versions to
- Click “Export”
That’s all you need to do to batch export different versions of hundreds of photos to a specific folder or folders!
As you can see from the above screenshot, I save the different versions of the photos (in JPEG file format) to the same folder. My file naming process is to start the file name with P for the high resolution print versions and with a W for the low resolution online use images. It helps me and my client to keep photo organization simple.
Sharing after exporting photos
To share the digital images with my client I upload the contents of the folder to a password protected gallery on Shootproof and send my client the link. They can then log in and download the images. (PS – if you click on this affiliate link you can try Shootproof for a month for free).
Sharing photos this way creates a frictionless, professional experience by making it really easy for clients to view all the images and download them.
You can read more about sharing photos here…
Further reading: 7 Best photo sharing platforms for all photographers
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