Export for Production


Today’s Question: My need for export is for publication using InDesign. When you say, “I don’t recommend exporting copies of all processed photos [from Lightroom Classic] unless you have a specific reason to do so,” is InDesign one of those reasons? If you have a better way, please let me know.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, preparing photos to include in an Adobe InDesign document is exactly one of the reasons you would want to export photos from Lightroom Classic. I recommend exporting those photos as TIFF images at full resolution to provide greater potential image quality if the document you’re creating in InDesign will ultimately be printed.

More Detail: This question is a follow-up to a previous question about the notion of exporting copies of all photos from Lightroom Classic once they have been processed in the Develop module. That sort of export workflow is something I consider to be a bit excessive, assuming of course you are regularly backing up both your photos and your Lightroom catalog.

Of course, if you want to share your photos in some form outside of Lightroom, you’ll need to export them. There are obviously sharing options directly within Lightroom, such as the Print and Slideshow modules. However, you can also export copies of your photos so they can be used with virtually any software or service for sharing your photos.

How you export the photos will depend upon the way you’ll be sharing the images. For online sharing, for example, you can export the images as JPEG files with moderately low pixel dimensions (perhaps around 1,000 pixels on the long side, for example).

When exporting for print (as would often be the case with Adobe InDesign), I typically recommend exporting at the full resolution of the source image, unless you are certain of the specific final print size you’ll use for the images. I also recommend saving as a TIFF (rather than JPEG) file, to help maximize image quality, since JPEG images will always have compression applied that will degrade image quality to some extent.