What settings should I Export photos from Lightroom?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When it comes to exporting photos from Lightroom, the settings you choose will depend on your personal preferences and the specific requirements of your intended output. In this answer, I will guide you through the various settings in Lightroom’s export dialog and provide recommendations based on my own experience and industry standards.

1. Location: Personal choice
You can choose the destination folder where you want your exported photos to be saved. This can be a specific folder on your computer or an external hard drive. It’s important to choose a location that is easily accessible and organized for future reference.

2. File Naming: Filename_Print
Lightroom allows you to customize the file naming convention for your exported photos. I suggest using a naming convention that includes the original filename followed by a keyword related to the specific export purpose. In this case, adding “_Print” to the original filename would indicate that the exported file is intended for printing.

3. File Settings: TIFF, sRGB, 100%
The file format you choose for exporting will depend on your specific needs. For high-resolution prints, I recommend using the TIFF format as it supports lossless compression and preserves all the image data. Make sure to select the sRGB color space, which is widely accepted for prints, as it ensures consistent color representation. Additionally, set the image quality to 100% to maintain the highest level of detail and fidelity.

4. Image Sizing: Uncheck resize box, resolution 300 PPI
Unless you have specific size requirements for your prints, it’s generally best to leave the resize option unchecked. This ensures that the exported file retains its original dimensions. However, it’s crucial to set the resolution to 300 PPI (pixels per inch), which is the standard for high-quality printing. This ensures that your image will be sharp and detailed when printed.

5. Sharpening: Matte/Glossy, Standard
Lightroom provides different sharpening options based on the intended print surface. For matte prints, choose the “Matte” option, and for glossy prints, select the “Glossy” option. The “Standard” sharpening setting is generally suitable for most prints and helps enhance the overall sharpness and clarity of the exported image.

6. Metadata: Leave the default setting
By default, Lightroom includes basic metadata such as copyright information and camera settings in the exported file. Unless you have specific reasons to modify or exclude this information, it’s generally best to leave the default setting as is.

7. Watermarking: Uncheck the box
Whether or not to add a watermark to your exported photos is a personal choice. Watermarking can help protect your images from unauthorized use, but it can also distract from the visual impact of the photo. In this case, I suggest unchecking the box to exclude watermarks from your high-resolution print exports.

To summarize, when exporting photos from Lightroom for high-resolution prints, I recommend using the TIFF file format, sRGB color space, and 100% image quality. Set the resolution to 300 PPI and choose the appropriate sharpening option based on the print surface. Leave the metadata settings at their default values and decide whether or not to include watermarks based on your personal preference. Remember, these recommendations are not set in stone, and you can always adjust them based on your specific requirements and preferences.