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Thread: Best Lightroom Export Settings for Creating Photo Albums

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    Best Lightroom Export Settings for Creating Photo Albums

    Hi:

    I am an Intermediate Lightroom 3 user, first time in a forum, and hope I am posing this question to the appropriate group members...

    Normally I export pics for some print media or online use.

    I recently shot a wedding in RAW and want to export the pics at the highest resolution so the client can use the pics themselves to print or create an album...

    What "file settings" and "image sizing" should I use?

    Should I be limiting the file size?

    I tried three things:
    • short edge 3000 pixels and 300 pixels per inch, limiting the file size to 1000kb
    • short edge 1000 pixels and 300 pixels per inch, limiting the file size to 1000kb
    • short edge 3000 pixels and 300 pixels per inch, no file limit


    When I looked at all three, well, they are ok...but I am not completely satisfied, and am not sure which setting is truly the best or looks best.....I want to give the client the BEST possible resolution with the most details.

    What should I change?

    I am open to trying other settings to get optimal results.....

    Any suggestions or ideas are greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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    Hi, welcome to the forum.

    If I wanted 'optimal results' I'd be making sure that the Quality setting was at 100% (although TBH you'd probably not notice a difference if it was down to about 70-80), and I certainly wouldn't use the Limit File size option....notice that when you use it the Quality slider is disabled, i.e. you have no control over the quality as LR will need to compress the file as much as it can to fit into the specified file size.

    The only thing I would then consider (if I was concerned about the resulting disk file size) would be to limit the Image Size, i.e. pixel dimensions, though I'd prefer not to do that at all. Yes that may result in very large Jpeg files, but if you want the optimum quality that's what happens. Any attempt to keep the file sizes smaller will likely have a quality impact somewhere.
    Jim

    Desktop: i7-930, 12gb RAM, 2 x SDD, 3 x Internal HDD, Win7 Pro 64bit
    Cameras: 5D MkIII, 7D

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    Thanks for getting back to me....

    File size setting during export:
    Your answer makes sense so in the future I wonīt limit the file size, but will try working with the other options like image size and quality. Thank you very much for your explanation.

    Quality setting during export:
    In cases when I donīt have any issues with memory (i.e., when I burn it onto a CD/stick for a client) I would work with a quality setting of 100% like you recommended.

    Often I upload pics to my dropbox or my own server (web site)....I read somewhere that to the naked eye, there is no discernible difference between the image quality at 90% and the image quality at 100%....only a difference in file size....but the 70-80% you mentioned sounds good.....in terms of saving memory when it is an issue. But is that really feasible in order to not lose visual quality?

    Is there anyone else who has a preferred quality setting they would recommend?

    Image size during export:
    I figure that it is nice for a client to have full resolution pictures, but sometimes that is just too much; it takes up a lot of memory and can take time to load when the client wants to present it to someone. I have a 18 Mega px Canon 7D. I was under the impressions that clients won`t need more than 2000-3000 px (for the short edge) for each photo in order to print it or design his own album. In rare cases, like printing a huge poster, I could offer to provide the full resolution on demand.

    I would be interested to hear what other people`s expectations and recommendation about the resolution are.


    At the end the quality and image size of course defines the resulting file size. What would be an appropriate file size? I tried exporting with a 100% quality setting and no resolution resizing, and my JPGs turn out as 20MB files each. Isn't that a bit overwhelming for a client?

    I guess there is not only one solution which fits all situations and clients, but I would like to hear what your thoughts are, when it comes to providing pictures to someone else.

    Thanks
    Yantipune

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    As I'm not a pro, I have no meaningful input on the issue of "file size for client" question.

    However, on the question of the export quality setting, you might find this post to be interesting.
    Jim

    Desktop: i7-930, 12gb RAM, 2 x SDD, 3 x Internal HDD, Win7 Pro 64bit
    Cameras: 5D MkIII, 7D

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    Thanks for the quick reply....I managed to look at that particular website yesterday along with this video on youtube: Print Sizes: Ep 227: Digital Photography 1 on 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDd7C4d0R4U&feature=plcp

    The website/blog link you gave me for Jeffrey Friedl has AMAZING examples but I got lost with his explanations....but I am sure that has more to do with me...

    I will take another look at the blog and look forward to getting more feedback....

    Thanks again

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    I supply my clients with 8 megapixel JPEGs, quality 80. They're fantastic for printing up to 8x12, and acceptable for printing up to 12x18. If a client is looking for a bigger print, I prefer to supply it so I can guarantee its quality.

    You may want to go bigger on the megapixels, depending on what you've told your clients, but I don't think there's any reason to go higher on the quality. I choose that quality setting as a default based on these quantization tables I found linked from this article on PetaPixel.

    This explains the business around PS quality 6 and 7 (Lightroom quality 53-54) that Jeffrey discovered. I posted these as comments on Jeffrey's article as well.

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    Thanks for the response and feedback....I couldnīt find my canon 7d camera on the quantization table...(never heard of such a table thing till today :-)) and I found it a bit confusing...I think I will have a friend help me with it....the article and thread were a bit more understandable, but as I am Lightroom user I could not relate as much....either way, I appreciate your help.

    So, if I understand you correctly, you recommend a quality setting of 80% and an image size setting with a short edge of 2000-3000? This usually creates pictures with an image size of 9-14 Megapixels.

    Is there an option in Lightroom to directly limit the Megapixels like you recommended....so that the variation of the image size is less?

    Has any one tried JPEGmini?
    Last edited by Yantipune; 17 Sep 2012 at 2:13 am.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yantipune View Post
    I couldnīt find my canon 7d camera on the quantization table...(never heard of such a table thing till today :-)) and I found it a bit confusing...I think I will have a friend help me with it....the article and thread were a bit more understandable, but as I am Lightroom user I could not relate as much....either way, I appreciate your help.
    The camera is not relevant in this case if you're shooting raw -- those quantization tables describe the details of the JPEG compression algorithm used in the conversion to JPEG. If you're shooting raw and converting to JPEG in Lightroom, the camera's quantization tables never come into play.

    Lightroom isn't listed explicitly, but Photoshop is, which uses the same algorithms. The way Lightroom's 0-100 Quality slider maps onto Photoshop's 0-12 range is described in Jeffrey's article, linked earlier in this thread. My 80% corresponds to Photoshop's 10.

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