Inside Lightroom 5
(Pt. 5): output options
With Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 5 photo editing software now bundled in the box with the Canon EOS 6D and EOS 5D Mark III DSLRs CPN is examining what benefits Lightroom offers to photographers. During a five-part CPN series of articles and video tutorials Richard Curtis (a Principal Solutions Consultant in Digital Imaging for Adobe UK) will explain the key features of Lightroom 5 to give you a good understanding of how to get the most out of working with the software. In the fifth, and final, part of this in-depth series Richard Curtis explains all of the major output options in Lightroom and, in a special video, he reveals how to use all of the output options. Please click on the play button in the window above to watch the video...
Lightroom output options
Examining the output options of Lightroom is the final part of this series, but it is equally as important as the rest. There are multiple output choices that we have available to us: options such as making books, creating web galleries or slide shows or just printing and exporting to social platforms (such as Facebook or Behance). This guide explains all of them and will give you a flavour of each option and how to use them to your advantage.
To find out more about all of the output options of Lightroom just click on the section headings below OR simply click the play button in the film window at the top of this article to view the video tutorial on how to use the output options of Lightroom.
Maps are a great way to track your pictures and remember where they were taken. For maps to work you will need to have a connection to the Internet. There are two distinct ways of placing your pictures onto the map: one is to place the picture manually, by searching for the location and dragging and dropping it from the Film Strip or Collection, or by using devices like a GPS receiver on your camera, or even using a smartphone to locate the GPS coordinates for you.
Whichever method you use, Lightroom is able to go out to the Internet and use Google Maps to locate the nearest town and other location details.
Searching for a location could not be easier: there is a text box in the top right hand corner of the map area of the screen (highlighted in a red box in the picture shown here). Here you can specify the location and simply pressing enter will instruct Lightroom to find it for you.
Once you have located the place on the map, you are then able to zoom in or out to get a perspective of where you are (highlighted in the orange box in the picture).
To place the pictures on the map in the location that Lightroom found, select them from the Film Strip or Collection (highlighted in the yellow box in the picture); then drag to the location on the map (highlighted in the purple box in the picture). Using Google Lightroom will find the GPS coordinates, as well as local town and other relevant data, and automatically populate the relevant fields inside Lightroom (highlighted in the grey box on the right hand side of the picture). Note that you will need to enable Lightroom to use Reverse Geo-location and you will be asked this question as soon as Lightroom knows that you might require this facility.
When using a built in GPS receiver on the camera, or by using a smart phone, you won't need to drag and drop the pictures on the map; Lightroom will automate this part for you, as well as collecting the nearest town and location data from Google. Note that, again, you will need to enable Lightroom to use Reverse Geo-location and you will be asked this question as soon as Lightroom knows that you might require this facility.
Once the pictures are on the map, you can view them by clicking on the yellow marker on the map.
For the more advanced user, you are also able to use GPX tracking data to plot the route that was taken between the pictures (commonly found on more sophisticated GPS devices or smartphone applications).
Lightroom makes book making really simple and has been designed to save you a huge amount of time (depending on how you would like to create a book), so this guide will explain this approach). There are many ways that you can create a book. One is to create each page individually; the other is to let Lightroom do most of the heavy work for you. We will cover how Lightroom is able to do most of the work for you.
Configure the Book Preferences
Within the Book Preferences menu option (the tool bar within the Book Module / Book / Book Preferences), you are able to control what happens when you open the Book Module. Lightroom can be configured to allow automatic population of the book (‘Start new books by autofilling’ turned on), or manual book creation, (‘Start new books by autofilling’ turned off).
You can also choose how pictures are inserted into each page, by controlling the default photo zoom (i.e. zoom to fit or fill), as well as options for text. A top tip is that turning off the autofilling will give you greater control and the ability to configure the book before it is filled with pages and pictures.
Configuration of the printed book
The final book can be configured from the Book Settings panel (highlighted in the red box in the picture here) of Lightroom. There are quite a few options to choose from, including the size of the final book, the cover type, as well as the paper. The book specifics are shown (highlighted in the yellow box in the picture here) if information is turned on by using the ‘I’ key in Lightroom or via the Menu Tool Bar / View / Show Info Overlay. There are also alternate output options: JPG files as well as PDF files can be chosen from here as well.
Preparing Lightroom for creating the book: Auto Layout
A great feature in the Book Module is the ability to automatically layout the book and use a pre-configured template or guide (highlighted in the yellow box in the picture here). It will take the selected photographs, and place them into the book based on this configuration (this is configured in the area highlighted in the red box in the picture here).
This configuration will allow you to create a standard type for your photo text and create a consistent look for the book (as well as each photograph) including matching edges, adding texts, aligning text with photos and using a text style preset.
Creating consistent type for your text
You are able to create presets for different type settings under the type menu panel. By default you won't be able to access the panel, so to do so, you will need to click on the ‘Add Page Text’ and type some text and create the look that you want to use from this.
Once you type some text into here, and you have the type panel open, you will then be able to create the Text Style Preset (highlighted in the red box in the picture here). Inside this box, you are able to control typeface, weight, size, colour etc. Any modifications made here, are reflected in the text on the page (see ABC marked in black in the picture here).
You are able to save the preset with a custom name under the 'Text Style Preset’ drop down menu.
Book layout customisation
You are also able to customise the layout further, by configuring the guides, cells and page numbers.
The best way to use the Book Module is to create a Collection. These can be created in different places; this guide will use the Library Module to do it. Collections are available everywhere in Lightroom and are a great way to collect the photographs together for the book. To create a Collection, click the + (plus) icon by the side of the Collections text. The fly out menu marked will be displayed, and there are different types of Collections that can be created: for this exercise, we will choose a standard collection using ‘Create Collection’ option.
The Create Collection dialog will be displayed in the centre of the screen. You will need to give the Collection a name, as well as choose where it should be created. You have the option to include pictures from the Film Strip at the bottom of the screen. The ‘Set as target collection’ check box is very handy as it allows you to add any image, or images, to the Collection by pressing the 'B' key at any time (if the image is already in a Collection, it will only be removed from the Collection).
Once you have images in the Collection, move to the Book Module and, as long you are happy with the configuration in the auto layout preset, press the ‘Auto Layout’ from the Auto Layout panel (within the red box in the picture on the right).
The ‘Preparing Book’ dialog box will appear and the pages and pictures will be loaded based upon the configuration in the Auto Layout section. The price will be updated at the same time.
Re-configuring the book once Auto Layout has completed
Making changes to the book once the Auto Layout has completed is pretty simple. Right clicking on the book will show the page management dialog (highlighted in the red box in the picture shown here); from here you can create or remove pages. You can also move content and pages around, just by dragging either the content or the page.
You can change the view of the book (highlighted in the yellow box in the picture shown here) and move to a full view (as you can see in the picture here), but also into two-page and single page views.
It's also possible to change the way that the pictures are shown on the page, by modifying the template. By clicking on the down arrow of each page the fly out ‘Modify Page’ (template) menu will be displayed, which allows you to change the template for each page. For example, you may wish to alter the number of images that will appear on a particular page by selecting options such as 1 Photo, 2 Photos, 3 Photos, 4 Photos or Multiple Photos.
Once the template has been assigned to each page, it can be modified, using either the mouse or pen to drag the cell padding around; then by right clicking on the page. At this point Lightroom will ask if you want to save the custom template and where to save it. The example shown (below, right) shows the ‘Save as Custom Page’ option (in red box in the centre of the screen) within the Book Module of Lightroom.
Creating a Book Cover
You are able to drag and drop an image to the front and back cover of your book, as well as choosing a template option. You are also able to fully utilise both areas with one photograph or design, depending on how you want your book to appear. In the example here, I have used Photoshop to create a custom image, and use this as a front cover. I have found that this can make a real impact to the viewer and let them know what to expect.
Dragging the image from the Collection or Film Strip to the Background panel (highlighted in yellow box in the picture, below right) will place it over the front and the back cover (highlighted in red box in the picture, below right). Also notice that the used number count of the image (highlighted in grey within the Film Strip towards the bottom right of the picture, below right) has been increased to 2.
One of the benefits of having the Books in the Lightroom application is that if you still need to work on the image (using the Development mode), then the changes will be reflected back in the books module.
Blurb is a platform for making, printing and publishing independent books and Lightroom comes with a Blurb module/option built-in. Once you have completed the book and created the final piece, then you can click the ‘Send Book to Blurb’, sign in (or create a new Blurb account) and upload the book for printing. Note that you do need an Internet connection for this. Blurb also allows you to view it, share it and print a copy.
You have the ability to create a Slideshow from your pictures and videos that exist within your Lightroom catalog. To do this, navigate to the Slideshow tab, select your pictures and press preview or play. You can also customise the Slideshow using the panels on the right hand side of Lightroom.
Printing from Lightroom
Printing from Lightroom is very powerful. You are able to customise the print package that can be created, as well as see exactly what will be printed. The first picture here shows an example of setting up the page settings, where the paper size and orientation can be chosen.
In the following screen shot (the second image, below right), it shows setting up the printer settings for the printer driver that is connected to the computer. From this panel you can get access to the printer driver and configure the way that the print will be printed. There are many different print options on the right hand side as well, including, water marks, contact sheets, picture information etc, as well as setting up margins and padding for the print.
Printing from Lightroom also includes the printer ICC profiles that you will need to get your pictures looking amazing on the printer/ink and paper combination, this can be accessed from the ‘Print Job’ panel. To access the ICC profile for the printer and ink combination that you are looking to use, you will need to download them from the manufacturer’s website (they should be relatively easy to find and usually come with installation instructions). These will then be available under the ICC profile list (highlighted in the larger red box in the picture below, bottom right).
Once you have selected your ICC profile, you can then print, by pressing the ‘Print’ button. Before the Print button is pressed, however, you should always make sure that you are using a fully colour managed workflow.
Colour Management & Soft Proofing
Printing is straightforward, but can be a little more in-depth than covered by this tutorial and may need some trouble shooting during your print process.
There are many ‘gotchas’ that you should be aware of. For example, if you are printing then you should be working with a fully colour managed workflow. This means that the colours that your camera caputeres, and are displayed to the screen, then printed are correct and verified against the standard (called the ICC standard), companies like Datacolor and Xritephoto have great solutions to support this type of workflow and allow you to make amazing prints, that look as they do on the screen.
Lightroom does, however, go a little way to help you save paper, ink and time, by incorporating a soft proofing mechanism. Soft proofing is available in the Develop Module in the tool bar (underneath the photograph).
In the picture (top right) the Soft Proofing mode is turned on (highlighted in the yellow box), as well as the Print-clipping indicator (highlighted in the green box towards the top right). The ICC profile for the printer/ink combination has been selected (highlighted in the small red box on the right hand side of the picture) – this is usually downloaded from the printer/paper company’s website and installed onto the computer.
Lightroom will look at the picture and map to the colour gamut of the printer profile and show Red marks (marked in the grey box in the centre of the image) if any colours will not print correctly, they are displayed in RED.
N.B. A colour gamut in this context is the compete range of colours that the target device is able to print (the screen also has a colour gamut: Adobe RGB and sRGB are both colour gamuts/profiles).
Some colours like (magenta and green) go outside of the chosen colour gamut, but are fixable using the Hue/Saturation/Luminance (HSL) sliders available on the right hand panel. The target adjustment tool is a great way to fix these oddities. Once this tool is selected, just drag it over the Red marked areas, in the example image below. In this exercise, the RED has completely disappeared, and the saturation has been reduced in those areas (highlighted within the grey box in the image, above right). This print is now printable on the chosen printer/ink and paper combination.
Once this has been completed, there will be a dialog box on the screen (see the picture, right). You may have a need to use different papers, inks and printers – Lightroom is asking to either make this a proof of this, or create a new proof. Creating a new proof copy will create a virtual file (inside the catalog and not on the physical disk) and will rename it to be the filename as well as the ICC profile.
This means you can create all of your printable files for each ICC profile in one place. Once you have completed the Soft Proofing against the ICC profile, you can print and hopefully create beautiful prints.
The Web Module of Lightroom will allow you to create a web template for the pictures that you would like to publish. Once you have selected the pictures and the website’s ‘look and feel’, you will see a real time preview in the middle area of Lightroom. There are plenty of options available in the panels on the right for you to customise the site and the template, as well as specifying and FTP server to upload the site to.
Exporting your pictures from Lightroom
If you are not printing, or outputting to a complete website, you may just want to create the final image from Lightroom. This is not a mandatory step, but only if you want to create the final image (don’t forget that Lightroom can always be opened and take you to the RAW file, and adjust or export at anytime), then the Export module is the best way to create this.
Export is available in many places: for this example, I have used the menu option File / Export. The following dialog box (shown right) will be displayed.
The first thing that you will need to do is to tell Lightroom where it will put the output file (Export Location): the files can be renamed here if required.
The most important setting is the ‘File Settings’ option as from here you can control what is created, either JPG, PSD, TIFF, DNG or the original file, as well as the quality of the file.
Depending on what you are targeting you may want to consider the width and height of the final image, this can be set under the ‘Image Sizing’ section.
There are many other options to explore here as well, from placing a watermark, sharpening etc., etc. The export option will work on the number of images that are selected in the Film Strip (or Collection if used).
There are certain guidelines for output, depending on the target device. If the image is going to the web to be displayed in an Internet browser, then it will most likely be a JPG file and sRGB as a colour profile should be used.
Lightroom can be used to publish your images to specific social platforms, i.e. Facebook, Behance and Flickr. These platforms typically have a login requirement, as well as specific places to place your pictures (i.e. albums or projects/work in progress); this information can be configured in the ‘Set Up’ option for each publish service that you would like to use.
I hope that this series of articles has given you a good overview of the wide variety of options that are available inside Adobe Lightroom, and that it has provided you with a solid grounding to understand and get the most of Lightroom.
Biography: Richard Curtis
© Richard Curtis/Adobe
Richard Curtis is a Principal Solutions Consultant at Adobe UK with a focus on Digital Imaging. Richard is the UK contact for Photoshop, Lightroom, Elements and Imaging workflows around the Creative Cloud. He is a keen technologist and has been a keen photographer for over 20 years, with a focus on travel and portrait photography.