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LR export settings to prevent printing hi res for social media use

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  • What LR export settings should I use to enable high quality resolution for social media use of photos (FB and Instagram) BUT not high enough quality that photos may be saved and printed? (I am a photographer)

    Currently-- I am using LR export settings for FB of:
  • resize to fit 'checked'
  • long edge: 2048
  • Resolution: 72ppi

    and LR export settings for Web use of:
  • resize to fit 'checked'
  • long edge: 1600 pixels
  • resolution: 72ppi.

    is this correct? Is there a reference sheet available?
 
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  • What LR export settings should I use to enable high quality resolution for social media use of photos (FB and Instagram) BUT not high enough quality that photos may be saved and printed? (I am a photographer)

Ok, this has gone way off topic so we're going to put this one to bed now, with this summary:

Laura, if you try printing one of those 1600px or 2048 px images on your inkjet printer or at a local lab, you may be surprised to see how well they print. But on the other hand, if you make them too much smaller, they may not be big enough not going to look good on screen. It is a trade off.

Some people choose to use a signature watermark in the corner and...
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Instagram itself suggests 1080 px, and favors the square format, and my pics look fine. That is also about what I do for FB, more accurately, 1000 px. Despite the fact that screen resolution increases all the time, the engineer genies make them look fine on both a phone and a desktop. I agree that 72 ppi the way to go, which both looks great and helps stop printing, and color space at sRGB.

BTW, to be sure that pics on the Insta look the way I want (and not shrunken or stretched), I put them into a square frame in the Print module that's 1080 x 1080. Or in a canvas in PS. On FB, the images look fine without being in a square frame.
 
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Instagram itself suggests 1080 px, and favors the square format, and my pics look fine. That is also about what I do for FB, more accurately, 1000 px. Despite the fact that screen resolution increases all the time, the engineer genies make them look fine on both a phone and a desktop. I agree that 72 ppi the way to go, which both looks great and helps stop printing, and color space at sRGB.

BTW, to be sure that pics on the Insta look the way I want (and not shrunken or stretched), I put them into a square frame in the Print module that's 1080 x 1080. Or in a canvas in PS. On FB, the images look fine without being in a square frame.
Thanks so much for your reply Barry!
 
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I agree that 72 ppi the way to go, which both looks great and helps stop printing
No no no. Barry, you keep repeating this same piece of misinformation. The PPI / DPI setting is irrelevant, as we have discussed several times on this forum. It doesn't "look great" and it doesn't "help stop printing" in any way.
 
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Can you provide the recommended settings I am seeking?
I believe that IG posts their recommended resolution, and FB is known to resize images to save on storage space, load time, and bandwidth. If you are concerned about somebody not being able to print an image, I would suggest having the resolution be limited by the maximum size print you wish them to produce in inches and multiply that by 200 to arrive at the resolution for one of the sides. As has been sated above setting the PPI in LR does absolutely nothing to the image. It is an instruction to programs that read it, but it has no bearing on the actual size of the image; that is strictly controlled by the resolution that you specify.

--Ken
 
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Can you provide the recommended settings I am seeking?
Just to be clear - my comment was purely about the idea that the DPI setting was somehow important. It is not, it is irrelevant, you can use any number you like and it won't affect anything. So, there's nothing wrong with using 72, but it's no different from using 300 or 1000 or any other number.
 
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No no no. Barry, you keep repeating this same piece of misinformation. The PPI / DPI setting is irrelevant, as we have discussed several times on this forum. It doesn't "look great" and it doesn't "help stop printing" in any way.
We will have to disagree about this. My information comes from the Library of Congress. Some years back, a photo trade association I have been involved with for many years, ASMP, was asked to partner by the LOC to produce a website (which we still administer), DPBestflow, to get good information out to the public, including professional photographers, because the LOC, which contains vast archives - it is their job - was concerned about the bad files they were receiving. While the DPBestflow website technology it's built on is outdated, the information, now managed by Peter Krogh, who literally wrote the book on digital asset management (The DAM Book), is solid.
 
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We will have to disagree about this. My information comes from the Library of Congress. Some years back, a photo trade association I have been involved with for many years, ASMP, was asked to partner by the LOC to produce a website (which we still administer), DPBestflow, to get good information out to the public, including professional photographers, because the LOC, which contains vast archives - it is their job - was concerned about the bad files they were receiving. While the DPBestflow website technology it's built on is outdated, the information, now managed by Peter Krogh, who literally wrote the book on digital asset management (The DAM Book), is solid.
Can you provide a link to that information? Seeing what you're referring to could get everyone on the same page.
 
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As you did not provide a link to a specific part of the web site, the only reference I could find from a quick review was here: Glossary | dpBestflow . This page states the following:

PPI (Pixels Per Inch)​

The measurement of image resolution expressed in pixel density (or size) relative to inches. PPI can be used to calculate the final image size by dividing the image dimensions in pixels, by the PPI. The resulting numbers would be expressed in inches. Example: 2400x300 pixel image at 300 PPI would equal 8 by 10 inches. Not to be confused with dots per inch (DPI).
In essence, PPI is a measure of density. And you cannot utilize a measure of density when you do not know the exact dimension of the final image size (see above) since the calculation depends on this information. LR's resolution box in the Export dialog is a courtesy instruction set for programs that wish to read it, but it is otherwise ignored and has no impact on the exported image's size or resolution (which are controlled elsewhere in the dialog box). I believe that this is what @prbimages was originally alluding to above.

To answer the OP's original question:
not high enough quality that photos may be saved and printed
requires some parameters acceptable to the OP as to what constitutes high enough quality. If you assume that a commonly accepted standard for quality prints is 300PPI, and that one can still make an acceptable print at 240PPI (assuming normal viewing range), then I would have to ask what is the smallest sized print that they would not be upset if somebody printed without their permission. This size is needed to dictate the resolution of the exported image.

In this example, if I was willing to allow somebody to download an image and print a barely acceptable 4x6 image, I would want to size that image to be no larger than 960x1440 (if 240PPI was the breakpoint between acceptable and unacceptable). Personally, I have seen images at much lower PPI figures printed and look passable, but what is unacceptable, passable, acceptable and quality is up to the photographer (in this case the OP).

In short, placing an image on the web carries certain risks that it can be downloaded and reused or printed. You can certainly limit what somebody has to work with, but that may also limit the display of the image, especially on high resolution (e.g. 4k) monitors, as there is no one magic number to prevent "high quality" image use.

--Ken
 
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No, I can't see any information there which supports your argument. Perhaps you could be more specific?

Try reading this from Laura Shoe :

... when specifying size in pixels, resolution doesn’t matter! Nevertheless, Lightroom won’t let you leave it blank, so go ahead and leave it at its default of 72.

If you have previously thought that the higher the resolution number you enter, the higher quality photo you get, try an experiment – export a photo sized in pixels with a resolution of 1 PPI, and the same photo again at 999 PPI, and compare them – they will be exactly the same! (For techies out there, yes, your file gets tagged with the resolution you set, but printers and monitors ignore it anyway. It could be useful if you plan to export and then open and print from Photoshop – in this case Photoshop will read and use this resolution, so you won’t have to set it there.)

I tried to find the last discussion we had on this issue, so that I could provide a link to it for anyone interested in following up further, but I can't find it on this site. Have any of the old discussions been removed or archived, or am I just going blind (quite possible)?
 
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As you did not provide a link to a specific part of the web site, the only reference I could find from a quick review was here: Glossary | dpBestflow . This page states the following:

In essence, PPI is a measure of density. And you cannot utilize a measure of density when you do not know the exact dimension of the final image size (see above) since the calculation depends on this information. LR's resolution box in the Export dialog is a courtesy instruction set for programs that wish to read it, but it is otherwise ignored and has no impact on the exported image's size or resolution (which are controlled elsewhere in the dialog box). I believe that this is what @prbimages was originally alluding to above.

To answer the OP's original question:

requires some parameters acceptable to the OP as to what constitutes high enough quality. If you assume that a commonly accepted standard for quality prints is 300PPI, and that one can still make an acceptable print at 240PPI (assuming normal viewing range), then I would have to ask what is the smallest sized print that they would not be upset if somebody printed without their permission. This size is needed to dictate the resolution of the exported image.

In this example, if I was willing to allow somebody to download an image and print a barely acceptable 4x6 image, I would want to size that image to be no larger than 960x1440 (if 240PPI was the breakpoint between acceptable and unacceptable). Personally, I have seen images at much lower PPI figures printed and look passable, but what is unacceptable, passable, acceptable and quality is up to the photographer (in this case the OP).

In short, placing an image on the web carries certain risks that it can be downloaded and reused or printed. You can certainly limit what somebody has to work with, but that may also limit the display of the image, especially on high resolution (e.g. 4k) monitors, as there is no one magic number to prevent "high quality" image use.

--Ken
Here's the exact page: Optimized File Delivery | dpBestflow

To further clarify regarding printing: I am not at all concerned with someone taking my image and making a print for themselves; these are not the sort of infringemers who steal my money - it's people who use images to make money, such as advertisers, who are the ones who concern commercial and editorial photographers. And so copyright law comes into play here, as much as resolution, image dimension, and quality settings, since 50% quality or less on web images make it just that much harder to take those images and make a decent print for advertising purposes. If I Google my images, they are all over the web, and there is no rational commercial reason to chase those people down - but, again, those are not the people who I worry about.
 
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And here's what he says there:
"The ppi is irrelevant. But, if you want to visualize the final size on screen in terms of inches (or centimeters), set the resolution to 72 ppi and adjust the inches or centimeters to the desired size."

The ppi is irrelevant, just what we've been trying to convince you of.

If you tell LR what ppi you want and then give dimensions in cm or inches, the app will do the math for you. Other than that, you can set it to any number you please, specify dimensions in pixels, and the output file will always be the same.
 
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To further clarify regarding printing: I am not at all concerned with someone taking my image and making a print for themselves; these are not the sort of infringemers who steal my money - it's people who use images to make money, such as advertisers, who are the ones who concern commercial and editorial photographers. And so copyright law comes into play here, as much as resolution, image dimension, and quality settings, since 50% quality or less on web images make it just that much harder to take those images and make a decent print for advertising purposes. If I Google my images, they are all over the web, and there is no rational commercial reason to chase those people down - but, again, those are not the people who I worry about.
Thank you, this is exactly the latter point that I was trying to make above. You know what are and are not willing to tolerate with respect to having your images downloaded. But it was not clear what the OP did or did not find acceptable, and that is what we are all trying to assist them in determining. Understanding how to work with resolution and pixels allows them to make a determination that meets their needs. From a commercial point of view, your approach makes sense. It is just not clear if that is the OP's concerns. Some people have very little tolerance for unauthorized use, and I suspect the web is a difficult place for them to share work.

--Ken
 
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I'm flabbergasted that we once again have this conversation with you, Barry. How many times do we need to prove a fact?
 
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I'm flabbergasted that we once again have this conversation with you, Barry. How many times do we need to prove a fact?
Sometimes two people can be correct in some matters, and this is one of them.

Why do I say we can both be correct on this? There is a difference between someone laying out facts, and the way users actually do things, based on interpretations of those facts.

For instance, Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web is glad it's become ubiquitous; however, he's very, very unhappy at how it's been so monetized and therefore restricted from how he would have liked it to be used by ordinary people. Does that negate Berners-Lee's original thinking? Of course not. Once in the "wild", the Web became something different.

Closer to home, when John and Thomas Knoll invented Photoshop - before it was bought by Adobe - it was all about photography. Quickly, however, the program became a kind of all-purpose tool, used to design web pages, for graphic design, font design, graphics for video, and on and on. Lightroom itself is the result of Adobe recognizing they had left a core customer - us - behind. Does that negate Photoshop's usefulness, or purpose? Of course not. Lightroom is a response to real-world need and practice.

So my suggestions here, based on real-world use and advice about posting images to the web are based on how the users of images, and the developers who answer the needs of those users, have suggested images be processed.

Does this make you wrong in your assessment of the science and physics of image use on the web? Of course not. Will ignoring my advice and only paying attention to your advice cause any disasters posting images on the web? Of course not. Will ignoring your advice and following my advice lead to problems posting on the web? No.

Here's another analogy: When the big camera companies sponsor famous photographers to promote their cameras, those companies' focus is actually not on the pros as their primary customers; their real customers are ordinary people, because there are many, many more of those than the pros. The pros are there as proof-of-concept to inspire ordinary users to buy their cameras because they have now been certified by professionals as good.

Here is where the role of a professional photographer and occasional web designer, such as myself, who makes a living doing that work, and who follows two industries' best practices for the use of photos on the web, comes in, as far as giving advice.

In addition, I used to teach a college class in professional practices for photographers, and now do workshops. Digital workflow is an integral component to surviving as a professional photographer, and like any teacher, it is incumbent on myself to be a good learner; that's one of the main reasons I'm on this forum - and on many others, besides, and why I spend so much time reading about and listening to how professionals do their jobs

In the end, both your opinions and mine are just that, opinions. Are they both based in fact? Yes.
 
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No, this has nothing to do with opinions, but with facts. You are entitled to your own opinion, of course. But you are not entitled to your own facts. The fact is the ppi is irrelevant for the web or for the quality of the image, so please stop claiming anything else.
 
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Will ignoring your advice and following my advice lead to problems posting on the web? No.
Yes, insofar as your advice to the original poster that using 72 ppi "helps stop printing" is completely incorrect and may lead to them having a false sense of security about their workflow.
 
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Yes, insofar as your advice to the original poster that using 72 ppi "helps stop printing" is completely incorrect and may lead to them having a false sense of security about their workflow.
While you are technically correct, I believe I have already answered this, several times, in terms of how the images will be printed and where they will be used, for what purposes and in which contexts. Context is everything, irrespective of how resolution works - or does not work.
 
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While you are technically correct, I believe I have already answered this, several times, in terms of how the images will be printed and where they will be used, for what purposes and in which contexts. Context is everything, irrespective of how resolution works - or does not work.
You have answered this question, including your own opinions, with the understanding that you are comfortable with what you are posting on the web and how it may or may not be used by a person downloading your work. We do not know the OP's understanding of resolution and since they have asked the question, we have tried to provide a clear and factual way for them to make their own determination. You may be comfortable with sticking 72PPI in the instruction set box because you have already determined what resolution you are comfortable using for posted images, despite the fact that this instruction is completely ignored for the purposes that the OP is considering. This is akin to saying that two shots of whiskey will make a headache go away when you fail to also mention that you take two aspirin as well. Hopefully the OP has read the quote above from Laura Shoe as it best demonstrates that this instruction set has no impact or the exported file's resolution.

--Ken
 
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While you are technically correct, I believe I have already answered this, several times, in terms of how the images will be printed and where they will be used, for what purposes and in which contexts. Context is everything, irrespective of how resolution works - or does not work.
Yes, you have answerd this several times, but repeating a falsehood several times does not make it true. The four years of ‘alternative facts’ are over! Two copies of an image that differ only in ppi value are two identical images in every practical sense, including how well they can be printed. The difference in ppi is no more relevant than adding a keyword or a flag to one of the copies that you do not add to the other copy. It means nothing.

If you want proof, try this: send two images to a printer. One image is 1000x1500 pixels @72ppi, the other is 1000x1500 pixels @300ppi. Order a 4x6 inch print for both of them an look at the difference. There won’t be any difference. Even for printing the ppi value of the file is ignored, because a target print size is used, not a target resolution. This applies to online printing as well as home printing. When you order prints online you order a certain print size. When you print yourself you choose a certain paper size. The ppi value would only be relevant if you said “I want to order a 72ppi print, regardless of how large that print would become”. Nobody does that, so yes: context is everything.
 
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  • What LR export settings should I use to enable high quality resolution for social media use of photos (FB and Instagram) BUT not high enough quality that photos may be saved and printed? (I am a photographer)

Ok, this has gone way off topic so we're going to put this one to bed now, with this summary:

Laura, if you try printing one of those 1600px or 2048 px images on your inkjet printer or at a local lab, you may be surprised to see how well they print. But on the other hand, if you make them too much smaller, they may not be big enough not going to look good on screen. It is a trade off.

Some people choose to use a signature watermark in the corner and keep them a bit bigger, so that if someone prints the photograph, it's at least advertising their work. Others prefer to go smaller (e.g. Instagram recommends 1080 long edge, Facebook recommends a minimum of 1080W x 1350H). Most social media experts recommend a minimum of 1200px at 100 quality for social (as they'll be compressed during upload) and a lower quality setting (e.g 65) on your own website (as they won't get recompressed).


There's been plenty of chatter about the relevance of PPI, so here's the summary:
  • When you're setting the size in pixels for screen, it doesn't matter what you set as PPI. It's the same number of pixels overall.
  • When you're setting the size in inches or cm, the PPI is used to calculate the number of pixels.
  • When you're setting the size in pixels for dropping into a page layout or running Photoshop actions (and a few other scenarios), the PPI tag can be useful, but it's purely information - but there's still no more or fewer pixels.
 
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