Exporting As JPG and/or DNG
So when you get your image to a state that you're happy with and you're ready to share it with the world (or save a backup image) what do you do? Well you head to the "Export" panel. From there you will be smacked in the brain with a plethora of options. But don't worry, just like the rest of Lightroom you will have a workflow with the "Export" panel and eventually start a routine.
So exporting is pretty much what the name implies, it is the process of taking your image information (because Lightroom isn't storing your actual photo), applying it to the photo(s) and creating or exporting a finalized version to your hard drive. You access the Export panel by right-clicking on an image or selecting multiple images from the Grid View and right-clicking (or ctrl+clicking) on an image. This of course brings up a context menu with lots of options and one of those options is "Export". Once you click that option the "Export" panel will open.
At the top of the panel you will see a drop down menu with 3 options for what you intend to do with the exported image - email, hard drive, cd/dvd. I will always select Hard Drive. This is simply my own personal preference and I do that because once I have that image on my Hard Drive I can choose later to send it in an email or burn it to a cd or dvd. I also generally do not use the "Presets" in the left panel - it is simpler for me to go through this simple process every time, though I can certainly see where creating my own preset would be beneficial.
Then from there, I simply work my way down the panel. The first option is for Export Location. This is where, naturally, you choose where you want your image to end up. I will almost always select the "Specific Folder" option. This then allows me to choose the hard drive and folder where I want to save this image. (Tip: export a copy to Google Cloud so that way you have a backup in the cloud). After I choose where to store my image(s) I then move down to File Naming. Here you can... rename your file 😯. If you have a good file naming system in place - like we've discussed previously - you can skip this step but if you want to rename your image you can do that here. I will generally do a slight name change for images that I am exporting for social media. I want to be able to distinguish which files have Watermarks - so I do actually rename some photos.
Video Settings is next but that gets skipped as I am not exporting a video and I don't believe I ever have. And that brings us to File Settings. Here you can choose what file format you would like your image to be exported as - JPEG, PSD, TIFF, DNG or Original. The vast majority of the time I will be (and you likely should be too) choosing JPEG or DNG. In my workflow I share images to social media - JPEG with Watermark - I also upload to my website - JPEG without Watermark - and I also create a final backup - DNG. So I am actually doing 3 exports for every 1 final image. When JPEG is selected it then gives you the option to choose "Color Space" - which should always be sRGB if it's going to be online - and you also get resizing options. Resizing can be helpful so that your image is the right size for sharing - not too big/slow but also not too small. I generally will resize my JPEGs to a "Long Edge" width of 1,024 pixels and a resolution of 144 with a quality of 85. This seems to give great results and uploads around the web quickly. When exporting as DNG (or any RAW format) you do not have resizing options or color space options. This is all predetermined by the original file size of your image and the color space of your DNG at export is irrelevant as it is determined by the program that you are running (Advanced Info: Lightroom uses the ProPhoto color space when in the Develop Module and Adobe RGB for the other modules).
Next, if you're exporting a JPEG file you can choose to add some sharpening in the "Output Sharpening" section and if you're exporting for the web it's a good idea to add a little sharpening here. I generally select "Sharpen For: Screen" - the other options are "Matte Paper" and "Glossy Paper". I then select "Standard" in the "Amount" box - the other options are "Low" and "High". None of these options are available for DNG (or any RAW format) as most websites don't support them.
Lastly is the Watermarking section. The watermark is, of course, text or a logo/image that identifies who the image was created by or has the rights to. There are quite a few aspects to the Watermarking section and I would like to go in depth with you guys on that, so we'll talk more about this feature later!
Alright guys, I hope you found this post useful and feel free to comment or send me a message if you have any questions!