It is important to know the purpose and use for an image prior to exporting an image on Lightroom. Staying up-to-date with social media dimensions and print size resolution can make or break the caliber of your work; the last thing you want is a pixelated image representing your studio or photography company. Here are our two recommended custom Export Presets that can be used for full-size prints or usage across the web, straight from our SLRL Preset system.
1. Print Size
Full-size images being delivered to clients can be used for a multitude of purposes: canvas prints, frame prints, computer wallpapers, etc. With DSLR’s churning out such high-megapixel RAW images, it is our job as photographers to maintain a consistent JPEG delivery for the final product.
We are exporting our RAW files as JPEG images and setting our quality to 100% for full size exports. Most labs/printers are going to be using sRGB, so unless otherwise specified, we select this color space option.
We don’t want to resize the image at all to fit any specific dimension since these are hi-res exports, however, set your resolution size to 300 ppi (pixels per inch) for full size prints. Any sharpening should be done in the Develop Module and not in the Export dialogue, however, if these images are being prepared for large format printing you can choose the style in the drop down menu and select a low amount of sharpening.
Next, we prepare our images for web usage, and this includes social media, website use, vendor images, and more. Social media sites update their dimensions every year as technology morphs and evolves and it is imperative to stay current with the changes.
The only major alteration in this export preset is image quality, which can be reduced to 65-80% depending on your preference. The maximum quality should remain at 80% since these we want these to be generally on the smaller side so that we can email or share them without having to worry about file size slowing down page loading and such.
a brief overview of resolution settings
The main difference with exporting web-ready images lies in the resolution. While full-size images are set at 300 ppi, web-size images only require a resolution of 72 ppi. We are differentiating between two worlds when deciding between these resolution sizes: online, and print.
On a display, how large we see an image is defined by how many pixels are squeezed into 1 inch of the screen, but for print for a certain quality you need a specific amount of pixels per printed inch. For online usage, these chosen screen resolutions will determine how much you can see on your screen because you place more or less pixels on the available ‘real estate’ of your screen.
From a recent test we discovered that we had been exporting images resized to fit a long edge of 1000 pixels, unaware that on Facebook, this actually produces a low-res image.
Here is an image exported at 1000 px:
You can use this Social Media Cheat Sheet to help determine what export resolution is best for each social media site, however, we found that Facebook actually recommends a 2048 pixel resolution for all images meant to be used on newsfeeds and profile photos.Join Premium
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