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- Understanding Lightroom catalogs
- Importing photos from multiple sources
- Organizing photos with ratings, keywords, and collections
- Working with virtual copies
- Making basic corrections to photo color and tone
- Making local photo edits with the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter tools
- Removing spots from multiple photos at once
- Reducing digital noise and sharpening
- Cropping and straightening
- Printing and exporting edited photos
Skill Level Beginner
If you're wondering where the Save button is in Lightroom, you're in good company. This seems to be the number one thing that has many Lightroom users scratching their heads. The answer is there is no Save button because there is nothing to save. As I've mentioned, all the adjustments that you make to a photo are automatically preserved as instructions in a photo's metadata, and the actual photo remains untouched, no matter what you do here in Lightroom. So there really is nothing to save from Lightroom, and there is no Save command or Save button; however, you can export a photo from Lightroom.
So let's say that you want to send a photo by email, so it has to be a JPEG. Or you want to give one to a service bureau to print for you, and they are asking for a TIFF file. Or you want to make a copy of a raw file in the JPEG format, so that you can just keep it in your computer and maybe include it in a PowerPoint or share with a client or put it online. In all those cases, the verb to use is export, not save, and to export one or more files, this is what you do. If you're in the Library module, just select the file or files that you want to export there.
If you're in another module, like here in the Develop module, go to the filmstrip and select the files you want to export there. So I have this one selected, and I'll hold down the Command key or the Ctrl key and click on this one and this one. And I'll export those three, and I'd like to export them in JPEG format. Then I'm going to right-click, or Ctrl+Click, on any one of the three selected photos, and from the menu that pops up I'll choose Export and go over here to Export, and that opens the Export dialog box.
And as you can see, it's going to Export 3 Files. Now, I could go through and fill out each one of these fields separately, or I can use one of the presets that comes with Lightroom. So if you click on Lightroom Presets over here, it will expand and show you these options. I want to burn full-sized JPEGs. The other options are to create files for email, which basically creates JPEGs that have been made smaller. And there is also an option to Export to DNG, the Digital Negative Format, that is the universal raw format.
So I'll choose Burn Full-Sized JPEGs, and that just sets up some of the fields over here on the right. If you're working in Windows, depending on your version of Lightroom for Windows, you may not see a Burn Full-Sized JPEGs preset here in the Export dialog box. If that's the case, you can just fill in the fields in this dialog box manually. And now I'll change these fields to taste. So I want to export to not a CD, but my hard drive, and I'm going to come down and choose the location to which I want to export.
I am going to export to a specific folder. I am going to click Choose here and navigate to that folder. That folder is going to be my Desktop, and there I am going to make a new folder on the Desktop, and I am going to call this 'my jpegs' and click Create and click Choose. And now there is the path to the destination folder. I am not going to put these in a subfolder, and all of the rest of this really is irrelevant. I don't want to rename the files. But here is something important. I do want to set the format of the files, and I can't choose from the long list of formats that you see in a program like Photoshop.
These are the only formats available to export photos from Lightroom. Those are JPEG or Photoshop Document, PSD or TIIF, which is an uncompressed file like a PSD but more universal, or DNG, which is the universal raw format, or Original. So if these are raw files to start and I just need another raw file somewhere else, I could choose Original. I'm going to choose JPEG, and then I'll set the quality of the JPEG. I'm just going to leave it at its default. And if the file is ultimately destined to be seen on the web or on a screen, I'll leave the Color Space at sRGB.
Video files aren't relevant, so I'll uncheck that. And I'll just keep looking through all these fields. I'm really not going to change many of them. I could resize the photos as I export them, or I could do that later in Photoshop. If I know that these JPEGs are going to be going on the web, then I may want to do some output sharpening right here. Or if I'm just going to have them in my computer and later I'll open them in another program to prepare for printing say, I can wait to sharpen until then. But both those kinds of sharpening are output sharpening, as opposed to the capture sharpening that I covered in an earlier movie.
So let's say these are going to the web. I'll click Sharpen For. I'll choose Sharpen For Screen, and Amount Standard. I'm going to skip through the rest of this. There is really nothing there that I need to do, and I'll click Export. The progress bar up here at the left lets me know how the process is doing, and now the task is completed, so when I come out to my Desktop, there is the folder that I created, and inside of that folder are the three photos that were exported from Lightroom in the JPEG format. Now, I'm going back to Lightroom, because I want to mention something related to exporting files, and that is, you'll often want to take a file from Lightroom into Photoshop for further editing, because there are just are lots of things that you can do in Photoshop that you can't do to a photo in Lightroom, for example, add filters, add layers, make a collage, add text, and so forth.
So let's say that I do want to take a file into Photoshop. How do I do that? Well, let me show you how you can do it in a way that will allow you to do round- trip editing, so that you can bring the file back from Photoshop with changes you make there into Lightroom. I'll come down to my filmstrip and I'll select the photo that I want to take. This photo here will do. Assume I've done some editing to this file here in Lightroom. For example, maybe I'll get the Crop tool and I'll just click and drag and delete some of this from the bottom, and then I'll click Done.
So now, to take the edited file into Photoshop, I'll go up to the Photo menu and I'll choose Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop. Because this is a raw file, it will open immediately in Photoshop. If it were a JPEG, there would be an intermediary window asking if I want to send the original file or a copy of the file with or without my Lightroom edits into Photoshop. I probably, in most cases, take it in with my Lightroom edits, but this raw file opened automatically in Photoshop.
You can see it's a raw file from the NEF extension, the Nikon raw file extension, and now I'll do something in Photoshop that I can't do in Lightroom. I'll add a little bit of text. I'll get the Type tool. I would set all my type options up here. I've already done that in advance, and I'll just move in and I'll type. And then I'll get the Move tool and I'll click and drag that into place. Now, if I want to be able to do roundtrip editing, in other words go back with this file into Lightroom and have it automatically appear there in my Lightroom Library so that I can work on it there, here is what I have to do.
I'll go up to the File menu in Photoshop and I'll choose Save. Not Save As, but Save, and that's it. Now when I go back to Lightroom and I go to my Library, there is the file that I started with in Lightroom, and right next to it is the copy that I edited in Photoshop. And I think you can see that that's the version with the Denver text on it that I created in Photoshop. And I could work with this file here in Lightroom in just the same way that I work with any file in Lightroom.
So that's my favorite way to take a file from Lightroom to Photoshop and then back again. And remember, the next time that you're looking for a Save button, there isn't one. The operative word is 'export'.