Archival Export


Today’s Question: I wanted to export all my photos from Lightroom Classic as JPEG backups for posterity so that I can give each of my kids a full set. How can I best do this? I guess that I just attach an external drive, select all photos in the catalog, and “export as a JPEG” for the 220,000+ photos. And days later, it’s done?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you use the export feature in Lightroom Classic, you can’t define a folder structure, and so all photos would be exported to a single folder. Therefore, I recommend using the “Folder Publisher” plugin from Jeffrey Friedl for this type of export. You can get the info about this plugin here:

More Detail: When you export photos from Lightroom Classic, you can only define a single folder for that export. That means if you were trying to export copies of your entire catalog of photos, all of those photos would be placed in the same folder. The only real way you could organize the exported copies of your photos would be through file renaming. For example, you could add the date of capture at the beginning of each filename.

A better solution is to use a plugin for Lightroom Classic that enables you to maintain your existing folder structure for photos you export. The “Folder Publisher” plugin from Jeffrey Friedl enables you to do exactly that.

This plug-in essentially mimics the options available in Lightroom’s export feature, including converting to JPEG and resizing to a lower resolution. It adds, however, the ability to duplicate your existing folder structure for all of the photos you export. You could therefore export all of the photos in your entire catalog, creating JPEG copies as part of that process, and maintaining your original folder structure for the exported images.

For more information, check out Jeffrey Friedl’s blog here: