In Lightroom 3, Adobe added a handy drag-and-drop way to get your images from Lightroom directly to online photo sharing sites like Flickr.com, to other hard drives, or even to your iPhone. Beyond that, it also helps you keep track of your published images, so the most recent versions of them are the ones that are published. This feature is called “Publish Services,” and if you take just a few minutes to set this up now, it’ll save you a load of time whenever you want to post images online, or save images to your hard drive or external hard drive.
The Publish Services panel is in the left side Panels area of the Library module. By default, it has two templates waiting for you to set them up: (1) your hard drive, and (2) Flickr (the online photo sharing site). You set up either of these by clicking on the Set Up button on the right side of each (it doesn’t exactly look like a button, but it does say Set Up, and you can click on it, so technically—it’s a button). If you want to create a new one, click on the + (plus sign) button that appears on the right side of the panel header and choose Go to Publishing Manager (as shown here). For this project, let’s just go ahead and click on Set Up next to Flickr.
The main section of the Lightroom Publishing Manager dialog looks pretty much like the regular Export dialog, with two exceptions: (1) near the top, there are Publish Service, and Flickr Account and Title sections, and (2) at the bottom there are Flickr account options for how your photos will be displayed (Privacy and Safety). We’ll start up top with the Log In button. Click on it and a dialog appears (shown on the bottom left) asking you to click the Authorize button to jump over to the Flickr website, so you can give Flickr permission to work with Lightroom, so go ahead and click Authorize. Now the dialog changes to tell you that once you’re done at Flickr.com, you’ll need to come back to Lightroom to finish setting everything up (as shown on the bottom right).
Once you log into your Yahoo account and get to Flickr (if you don’t already have a Flickr account, and want to use this feature, go ahead and at least sign up for their free account through Yahoo), you’ll find a page with something similar to what you see at the top here, asking if you got there from a separate webpage, or if you got there directly from Lightroom (which you did). So, click the blue Next button on the right (shown circled here in red) and it takes you to a page where you authorize Flickr to talk back and forth to Lightroom. Once you do, you’ll get a confirmation page like the one you see at the bottom here (but of course, it won’t say “Hi Scott Kelby.” If it does, you have an entirely different problem). ;-) Now, back to the Lightroom part.
Once you’re done on the Flickr approval page, go back to Lightroom, and now all you have to do is set up the export options like usual (choosing your file format, whether you want sharpening added, watermarking added, etc.), but when you get to the bottom, you’ll see options for Flickr’s Privacy and Safety control (shown here at the bottom) for the images you’re going to upload, so make your choices there now, then click the Save button to save this setup as your Flickr Publish Service.
Now select the photos that you’d like to publish to Flickr, and drag-and-drop them onto the Flickr Photostream in the Publish Services panel (you’ll see Photostream appear right underneath Flickr, as shown here). Once you’ve dragged them into this collection (yup, it’s a collection), click directly on Photostream (as shown here) and you’ll see that the images you just dragged there are waiting to be published (they’re not actually published to Flickr until you click the Publish button at the bottom of the left side Panels area or the top of the center Preview area). What’s nice about this is it lets you gather up as many photos, from as many different collections as you’d like, and then publish them all at once with just one click. But for our example here, we’ll assume that you just want to publish these four final images.
Click the Publish button now, and a split-screen appears in the Preview area, with the four New Photos to Publish appearing in the section on top first. One by one, they’ll move down to the Published Photos section below (here, three of the four images have been published). Once all your photos have been published, the New Photos to Publish section disappears, because there are no photos waiting to be published. (By the way, while your photos are being published, a small status bar will appear at the top-left corner to let you know how things are moving along.)
Switch to your Web browser, go to your Flickr photostream page, and you’ll see your images have now been published there (as seen here). Now, you can take things a step further, because the comments that people post online about your published photos can be synced back to Lightroom, so you can read them right there in the Comments panel (in the right side Panels area). For example, on the Flickr website itself, I clicked on the comment field below the first image and wrote: “That watermark seems a bit large, and maybe you should lower the opacity.” (Both of which are true, by the way.)
To see the comments in Lightroom, go to the Publish Services panel, click on your Flickr Photostream, and it displays your published photos. Then, Right-click on your Photostream and choose Publish Now from the pop-up menu, and it goes and checks your Flickr account to see if any comments have been added, and downloads them into Lightroom. Now, click on the first photo, and then look in the Comments panel (at the bottom of the right side Panels area), and any comments that were added to that image in Flickr will appear there. Also, it displays how many people have tagged that published photo as one of their favorites on Flickr.
Okay, so far so good, but what if you make a change to one of those published photos in Lightroom? If you have a standard Flickr account, you’ll have to delete it from your Flickr Photostream in Lightroom, then add it back and click Publish. If you have a Flickr Pro account, here’s what to do (and here’s where this Publish Services thing works so well): First, click on the Flickr Photostream to display the photos you’ve already published to Flickr, then click on the photo you want to edit, and press D to jump over to the Develop module. In our case, we’ll adjust two things here: (1) we’ll drag the White Balance Temp slider to the left a little, so the photo isn’t so warm, then (2) we’ll bring up the Fill Light quite a bit to see more of the athlete, as shown here. Now that are edits are done, it’s time to get this edited version of the photo back up to our Flickr photostream.
Go back to the Library module, to the Publish Services panel, and click on your Photostream (as shown here), and you’ll see a split screen again, but this time it’s showing your edited photo up top waiting to be republished. Click the Publish button and it updates the image on Flickr, so your most recent changes are reflected there. Of course, once you do this, the Modified Photos to Re-Publish section goes away, because now all your photos are published. Okay, so that’s the Flickr Publish Services, and now that you’ve learned how that works, setting up your hard drive for drag-and-drop publishing is a cinch, so we’ll do that next.
Start by clicking on the Set Up button next to Hard Drive in the Publish Services panel. We’ll configure this one so it saves any files we drag onto it as high-resolution JPEGs to your hard drive (so think of this as a drag-and-drop shortcut to make JPEGs, rather than having to go through the whole Export dialog). Give this publish service a name now—call this one “Save as JPEG” (as shown here)—then fill out the rest just like you would for exporting a high-res JPEG to your hard disk (like we did back on page 222). When you click Save, it replaces Set Up with the name of your service (in this case, now it reads: “Hard Drive: Save as JPEG,” so you know at a glance that it’s going to save images you drag-and-drop on it to your hard drive as JPEGs). You can add as many of these as you’d like, so you can have some that export your images as originals, or some for emailing, or...well...you get the idea (look at the Publish Services panel here where I published a few extra setups, just so you can see what they’d look like).
Now that you’ve got at least one configured, let’s put it to work. In the Library module, go ahead and select four RAW files you want saved as JPEGs (they don’t have to be RAW files—they can already be JPEGs that you just want exported from Lightroom), and drag-and-drop those selected photos onto your Hard Drive: Save as JPEG publish service. From here, it’s pretty much the same as you just learned with Flickr—the images appear in a New Photos to Publish section until you click the Publish button, then it writes them as JPEGs into whichever folder you chose when you set this publish service up (here, three of the four images being saved as JPEGs are in progress). Keep an eye on my daily blog at www.scottkelby.com, as I’ll post when other online Publish Services (like Flickr) are released.