Photos Online on Flickr, Facebook, and Google+ With Lightroom [en]

[fr] Comment je fais pour publier mes photos sur Flickr, Facebook et Google+ depuis Lightroom, avec les plugins de Jeffrey Friedl.

I like Lightroom a lot and have been using it for a few years now to manage my photos. I don’t do a lot of processing/retouching, and it fills my needs perfectly:

  • I can organize my photos on my hard drive the way I want (monthly, then “events” if needed)
  • It doesn’t touch the original photos (non-destructive editing)
  • I can retouch, crop, and do the stuff I deem necessary to improve my photos
  • I can batch-rename photos according to pretty much any template I want
  • I can upload photos to Flickr, Facebook, and Google+ directly from Lightroom.

Autour du chalet, lumière

I’ve been using Jeffrey’s Flickr plugin for a while now. The neat thing about Lightroom is that when you “publish” photos somewhere rather than “export” them, Lightroom maintains a relationship between the published photo and the one in your catalog. This means that if six months later you go over it again, crop it differently, or retouch it again, Lightroom can update the photo on Flickr for you.

Of course, you don’t have to: you can make a virtual copy of your photo in Lightroom and work on that one, without impacting the published photo; and you’re also the one who hits the publish button to update the photo on Flickr. It doesn’t happen completely automagically.

The only problem with this is for the person who has included one of the updated Flickr photos in a blog post. Updating changes the photo file name at Flickr, and breaks the insert. Thankfully, there’s a plugin for that.

I love my Flickr account and it contains pretty much all my (published) photos. I can’t deny, however, that a lot of my online social activity happens on Facebook, and that it’s a great environment for photos to circulate. Unfortunately Facebook has really crappy photo library management, so I’ve limited myself to uploading the odd album of photos every now and again. I needed a more sustainable process which didn’t involve exporting photos from Lightroom to my hard drive and uploading them manually.

Autour du chalet, coeur en dentelle

Enter Jeffrey’s Facebook plugin. As Facebook sucks, however, you shouldn’t really use the publish relationship to update photos that you’ve changed since you uploaded them to Facebook. Initially, as all I wanted to do was simplify my export-upload procedure, I used the “export” capability of the plugin. That means that instead of creating a “publish service” I created an “export preset” (File menu) to send photos directly to Facebook. Once sent, they’re sent, and live their lives on their own.

What’s nice is that I can also export photos like that directly to my pages (Tounsi and Quintus will appreciate).

Jeffrey also has a plugin for PicasaWeb, which for all practical matters pretty much means Google+ (Google Plus). Google Plus seems better at handling photo updates, so I set it up as a “publish service”.

I realized that I could use “smart publish collections” to make things simpler. My sets are already defined on Flickr. For example, I have this set of chalet photos, and I just want to reproduce it on Google+ (and Facebook). With a smart album or collection, I can tell Lightroom to “just publish those photos which are in that Flickr set”. Easy! This made me set up Facebook as a publish service too.

Autour du chalet, vue matinale du balcon

I love Jeffrey’s plugins because they are very well-maintained (up-to-date). There is some clunkiness in places because he really pushes beyond the limits of what Lightroom was designed for, but if you’re willing to see the odd error message or use the odd workaround, that should bother you too much. The clunkiness is amply made up for by the extensive documentation you will find both on Jeffrey’s site and in the plugins.

One such workaround is required to create a smart publish collection: because of a Lightroom bug, you have to edit the publish service and add the collection from there. But thankfully Jeffrey is really good at documenting stuff and telling you what to do and how, so you just have to follow the instructions on the screen. Basically you create a smart album or set in the “edit publish service” screen, then once it’s done edit that album to set your “smart” criteria.

Two useful things to know:

Finally, Jeffrey’s plugins are donationware. He spends a lot of time on them, and if you find them useful, you should definitely chip in.

Autour du chalet, crocus sous la neige

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