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Exported Image Compression & Wrong Colour Space from LR Mobile

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New Member
Jun 4, 2018
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version Number
CC 2015.12 [ 1125239 ]
Operating System
  1. Windows 10
  2. Android
I use Lightroom Mobile quite a bit to get photos to social media, as it has in-built sharing functions that just make it all so much easier. However, recently I've been adding a lot more red to my edits and I've found that when shared to Instagram, for example, these colours are often removed or dulled.

At first I figured it was an Instagram issue, but I've been doing some testing and the culprit is clearly Lightroom.

If I export the file to JPEG from Lightroom on Desktop, transfer it to my phone and then upload to Instagram the colours are preserved. If I export from Lightroom Mobile, or directly Share the photo, then it gets washed out.

I'm assuming that the root of the issue is the colour space that Lightroom Mobile is choosing on export, but I can't find anyway to force that. I use SRGB on Desktop, as I know that's what Instagram etc. all use, but it looks like Lightroom Mobile is using Adobe RGB.

You can see the problems in the comparison images I've made below, which also highlighted how massive a difference in resolution there is on mobile export (despite choosing highest quality).

So my question is: does anyone know how to change the export settings on Lightroom Mobile? I'd really love to be able to go back to just hitting "Share" as it cuts so many steps out of the workflow but I'm not happy about losing that much of an edit in the process.

Colour Space Comparison.jpg
Colour space comparison between Lightroom Mobile export (left) and Lightroom Desktop SRGB export (right). Clearly mobile is lacking the key tones entirely and is generally a lot cooler.
Size Comparison.jpg
Size/resolution comparison between Lightroom Mobile export at "high" and Lightroom Desktop export at 100%. Again, mobile is lacking considerably and can barely be called comparable.
Ah okay no worries. I had hoped someone else might have found some settings that could control it, or some had any tips to use as a workaround. I'll raise it to Adobe directly though, good idea
Just out of curiosity, where do the images originate, i.e. how do they get into LRCC mobile? I just checked, and the exported file is tagged sRGB, which is what I would have expected....also when exporting with "Maximum Available" the exported file has the same pixel dimensions as the original.
So the shots above were taken on a Canon G7x M2, uploaded to the desktop version of LR and then added to a smart collection which auto-syncs with LR Mobile.
From there, I select the image and choose "Save to Device" using "Highest Available Quality". That's how the mobile images above were generated.

EDIT: Also, how are you seeing the colour space as sRGB? That may be because the above images were "combined" by me in Photoshop and exported on desktop. I will attach the "raw" exported file from Mobile here:
EDIT: Also, how are you seeing the colour space as sRGB? That may be because the above images were "combined" by me in Photoshop and exported on desktop. I will attach the "raw" exported file from Mobile here:

I exported one of my own files and checked it with an Exif viewer, that's were I saw that it had been tagged with sRGB. I'm using the iOS version of LRCC, though I doubt the Android version would be different.

I notice you're still using LRCC2015.12, any particular reason you haven't updated to LR Classic? And can you confirm what version of "LR mobile" you're running on your Android device?

If you synced from LRCC2015.12, that means that the file in the cloud is only a smart preview, not the full original. That would at least explain why the exported file is lower resolution than the raw file in CC2015. It may also explain the other differences as well.
OK, so I guess I just assumed I was on Lightroom Classic. When I look in Creative Cloud I have two options: Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC, the latter of which is installed and what I use. Is that not the fully up-to-date version of Classic? If not, perhaps I should start by upgrading!

As for LR Mobile, the version is: v3.4 Lightroom Android

Interesting about the syncing, I had assumed it would mean the file was being effectively transferred, not just a smart preview. You might be right, that could be the root issue here. Is there anyway to have the whole file synced instead?
Re your version, do File>System Info to check what your current version is. If the CC app says that Classic is installed, that's good....but just make sure that's what actually opens if you launch it from a desktop or taskbar icon (some people have left older version icons around and so carried on using the older version even though they'd installed the latest version).

3.4 for LRCC for Android sounds about right. BTW, try to get used to the new names for the apps, it'll save an endless amount of confusion on the forums if you can start to use them.

LR Classic is not a full member of the cloud ecosystem, whereas all the LRCC apps (for desktop, iOS, Android, Web) are. Key differences are:

1. Syncing from Classic only uploads smart previews, and is selective....i.e. the user controls which images are synced from Classic.
2. All images added to any of the LRCC apps will always upload as originals, but there is no selection possible....whatever is added/imported is always uploaded. A sync-enabled LR Classic catalog will always download any new images (in original form) that have been added/imported into any of the LRCC apps.
3. Edits and some metadata will sync across the whole ecosystem, including to/from Classic. But some other metadata, notably keywords and location data, does not sync between the cloud and Classic (but will sync to/from the LRCC apps if entered into one of those LRCC apps).

To get originals into the cloud you have to add/import them from one of the LRCC apps, it can't be done from Classic. The good news is that you can add an image (via any LRCC app) that has already been synced as a smart preview from Classic and that will replace the smart preview in the cloud with the original. Just make sure you only add currently synced images, if you add an image to LRCC that is in the Classic catalog, but has not yet been synced, you'll find it appearing back in Classic as a Virtual Copy.

Obviously, using LRCC on the same system as the Classic catalog would be the easiest way to add the originals of already synced smart previews.
Okay, not going to lie you've lost me a little bit here.

I want to continue using Classic, as I definitely don't want my entire catalogue to sync nor do I need any of the other new features of LRCC. I had hoped to be able to sync files between LRCC Android and Lightroom Classic CC on my desktop without degradation, but it seems from what you're saying that won't be possible. To be honest, I'd be happy with the resolution loss (it's hardly like Instagram retains high resolution files) but the colour space change remains frustrating.

However, looks like you're right about my desktop application. The shortcut I use to open LR Classic CC is opening version 2015.12 but if I open directly from the Creative Cloud app it launches Lightroom Classic version: 7.3.1
If I expand the application name in Creative Cloud it does have two options: Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC (both with the same icon; I also have Lightroom CC further up with the new cloud icon, but that isn't installed). Weirdly, Lightroom CC does say I have an Update...

What's more disturbing is that the two catalogues are clearly different. I've just been editing/adding a bunch of photos to the 2015.12 version which aren't present in the 7.3.1 version program. I assume I want to be using the latest version, but what are the risks and how do I get my catalog(s) back to being the same?
I realise this is now fairly far away from the original topic of the post so I can create a new one if required, but thanks so much for the help so far :)
Obviously the first thing you need to concentrate on is getting the catalogs sorted out. There are various ways of doing that, and it really depends on how easily you can identify those images that you've added to CC2015.12 since you upgraded the catalog to Classic.

If it IS easy it identify them, you could (in CC2015.12) select them all in the grid, and add them to a temporary collection. When they're all safely housed in that collection, right-click on the collection and select "Export this Collection as a Catalog". Choose a name and location for the catalog (suggest somewhere outside the normal catalog folder, such as the Desktop), uncheck the "Export negative files" option, check the "Include available previews" option, and decide about the Smart Previews option. Once the export has been done, close CC2015.12 and start Classic, and do File>Import from Another Catalog, and point to the exported catalog that you just created. That will need to be automatically upgraded to version 7, but once done you should have all the work in the Classic catalog. Then just don't import any more images into CC2015.12.

There are similar processes that could be used if you can't easily identify the new images that aren't yet in Classic, just let us know the situation.
Right, so I've done a fairly thorough review of the two catalogues. For the most part it seems like my edits and collections on the CC2015.12 version are correct, up-to-date and what I would want. There is one collection which contains some edits in the version 7 catalog which are missing from the 2015.12 catalog that I would like to keep, but otherwise the version 7 catalog is pretty much redundant/unwanted. It contains a lot of catalogs that I have since heavily edited and worked on, but without any of the edits.

I haven't done a deeply detailed review (far too many photos) but if that is the case, would it be best to export the one collection from version 7 and import to version 2015.12, effectively overwriting what I have currently for just that one set of photos. I could then delete the version 7 catalog and export/import the 2015.12 catalog entirely. Or are there some other reasons why this is a bad idea? If there are, whilst it's easy to locate the new collections what would you recommend with the collections that are very different between the two catalogs?
You can't quite do it that way, as you can't import an LR7 catalog into LR6, catalogs are not backwards compatible. What you could do is:

1. Move your existing catalog out of the present folder, put it somewhere temporary where you can find it easily.

2. Open Classic by holding down the Ctrl key when you launch it, and choose "Choose a Different Catalog" in the resulting dialog. Navigate to the LRCC2015.12 catalog, which Classic will upgrade to LR7 level.

3. Now you have your "best" catalog upgraded to LR7 level. Then do File>Open Catalog and navigate to the original Classic catalog that you relocated in step 1. When that catalog is open, right-click on the collection that you want to retain, and do the "Export this Collection as a Catalog" routine that I outlined earlier.

4. Then go back to the previous Classic catalog that you just upgraded from CC2015 (File>Open Recent) and do the File>Import from Another Catalog, selecting the exported catalog you just created in step 3. Now you'll have to be careful if any of the images in that collection were also in the original CC2015 catalog, if so pay very careful attention to the dialog box that you will receive....if in doubt take a screenshot and post back here (basically LR will give you the option to create Virtual Copies if it detects the same files with different edit states in the two catalogs).

Be very careful with this procedure, as chances are there'll be very similar named catalogs involved here. You might want to think about taking backups of the current Classic catalog.
Wow, thanks for all the help! Just followed through the steps, hit a couple of minor snags but got there in the end :)

I've now got a new, upgraded catalog in Classic v7 with all my photographs and edits, the correct folder structure and everything else.

Unfortunately, because I had to clone the CC2015 catalog to upgrade it, which I must have done originally (hence the whole issue) I now have three catalogs. Would it be okay to just delete the original two? Also, is there anyway to rename the new catalog so that it isn't "Lightroom Catalog-2-3" as that's just a little irritating!

I also still have both versions of Lightroom installed. Is there really any reason to still have CC2015 kicking around or, now that I have the catalog in LR7, can I just uninstall the other program (to prevent the same set of circumstances ever cropping up again!).
Thanks once again though, didn't expect to get this deep into stuff :D
Yes, you can delete older catalogs once you're sure you won't need them (an alternative would be to move them to an archive folder for now, and zip them up to save space and prevent accidentally using them).

Yes you can rename a catalog to whatever you want. Obviously you must keep the .lrcat extension, and do make sure to rename the associated previews folder(s) as well to the same name plus the Previews.lrdata ending.

And yes, you can uninstall the older version to prevent any more confusion.

And after all that, let me know what you didn't understand from my earlier post about the cloud syncing.
Perfect, thanks so much for all your help. I now have one, clearly named catalog and one version of Lightroom installed!

So now that debacle is over, let's get back to cloud syncing. What I want is a quick way to export full resolution, sRGB photographs from Lightroom to Instagram, preferably via my phone. I really like the workflow of having a synced collection, adding a photo, having it appear on my phone and being able to hit "Share -> Instagram Feed". From what you said above, however, am I correct in thinking that there is no way for me to achieve this? Tbh, I'd take a resolution loss so long as the colour space remains the same on export from LRCC on Android.
I didn't say there was no way to do that (get a full res file on your phone), I said there's no way to do that using Classic only. If you sync from Classic, the smart previews are uploaded and will thus be available on the phone. If you then also import the same images into the LRCC desktop app on the same system, that will replace those smart previews with the originals, which will then be available on the phone.

Just try it with a couple of images to see how easy it is, and to see if it fixes the problem.
I've previously been warned against using both LRCC and LR Classic on the same photographs, is it now advisable to do so?
I'm not saying it's "advisable", but it's the only way you can get originals into the cloud ecosystem if they are already synced from Classic. Because of the potential complexities of using both LRCC and LR Classic in an integrated workflow, Adobe simply does not recommend it. However, that has not deterred many users from diving in, but they often run into difficulties because the documentation and experience of such an integrated workflow is not plentiful.

Having said that, there are quite a few people who now understand the quirks and know enough to make an integrated workflow possible, albeit not without some additional time overheads. I for one have all my Classic images uploaded to the cloud in full original form, and available as such on all my LRCC devices, and I know of others who have far more images "up there" than I do.

But in your case, you need to figure out what you want to achieve and work from there. As I said, a simple test of a couple of images would prove/disprove the possibility that the problems you are having relate to the fact that you're exporting smart previews. If you replace a couple of the SPs with originals, and the problem goes away, then you can decide how you want to proceed.
What I want is a quick way to export full resolution, sRGB photographs from Lightroom to Instagram, preferably via my phone.
The maximum image size on Instagram is 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels high, so there's not much point in worrying about getting full-resolution images onto your phone, in my opinion.
The maximum image size on Instagram is 1080 pixels wide by 1350 pixels high, so there's not much point in worrying about getting full-resolution images onto your phone, in my opinion.

Yeah, that makes sense, which is why I'd said I don't mind a drop in resolution if I can ensure the correct colour space. I'll try out what Jim has suggested when I'm back at my PC and see how it works.
I'd still prefer full resolution images on my phone, as I also upload to 500px, but honestly that stage is just as simple from Desktop (if not more so) so it matters less to me, just reduces my ability to upload on the move.
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