In our last blog post, we discussed how to add external editors to Lightroom Classic, but we ended with a few questions: What if you want to change the file name to identify each editor? Or perhaps you wanted the edited photos to be stored in a different folder? Or what if you need to pass a video to some video editing software? Lightroom’s External Editor preferences don’t allow you to handle these scenarios, but there is another option… Export Presets.
I’m sure you’re already familiar with the Export dialog, so we won’t go through what all of the different settings do. However, there are a few options to look out for when passing photos to other editors:
- External Editor presets always place the edited photo in the same folder as the original. The Export dialog allows you to choose a specific location for the edited photos, or to put the photos in a subfolder. This is useful if you like to keep your edited files separate from the originals.
- If you check Add to This Catalog, the photo is added to the catalog, just like an External Editor preset.
- External editors all share the same filename template, which adds -Edit to the end of the filename by default. The Export dialog, on the other hand, allows you to use a different filename template for each Export Preset, so you might have Filename-Topaz.tif and Filename-Nik.tif.
- Just like an External Editor, you can select the file type, color space and bit depth. We discussed these options in the last blog post.
Image Sizing, Sharpening, Metadata & Watermarking
- You’ll usually leave Resize to Fit unchecked when passing a photo to other editing software, so you retain all of the available pixels.
- If you’re passing the photo over for additional editing, you won’t want to apply Output Sharpening or Watermarking.
- In most cases, you’ll want to retain All Metadata.
- If you’re adding the photo back into your catalog, you’ll generally want to check Write Keywords as a Lightroom hierarchy. One word of warning… if your parent keywords have Include on Export unchecked, they won’t be included in the exported photo and therefore be added back into your keyword hierarchy correctly.
- The key to using Export Presets to pass photos to other editing software is the After Export pop-up. Select Open in Other Application, then click Browse (Windows) / Choose (Mac) and navigate to the program exe file (Windows) / app (Mac). Once Lightroom has created the exported file, it passes it over to the software you’ve selected.
Save the Preset
- Once you’ve selected your settings, save the preset by clicking the Add button in the bottom left corner of the Export dialog, and giving it a sensible name. Here’s a sample preset I created for Topaz Studio…
- Having created the preset, you don’t need to return to the Export dialog every time you need to use it. Simply right-click on the photo and choose Export > your preset name.
But what if you want to pass the original file to other software? Perhaps you need to pass a video to video editing software. Or maybe you want to pass a raw file over to another raw processor.
You could set the File Format to Original and use the same kind of Export settings we’ve used above, but the downside is that Export has to create an additional copy of the photo or video on the hard drive.
You could right-click on the photo/video and select Show in Explorer (Windows) / Show in Finder (Mac) and then open it into the software of your choice.
The other option is the Open Directly plug-in created by John Beardsworth. Found under File menu (or Library menu) > Plug-in Extras, it does exactly as the name suggests. It passes the original file directly to the software of your choice, without creating a duplicate file.
For extensive information on Lightroom Classic, see Adobe Lightroom Classic – The Missing FAQ.
If you have the Photography Plan, then as well as Classic you have access to the Lightroom cloud ecosystem including the mobile apps and web interface. For more information on these apps, see Adobe Lightroom – Edit Like a Pro.
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We also have a special bundle offer for the two books. This includes Premium Membership for the first year as described above for the whole Lightroom family!