How to Create Export Presets for Social Media in Lightroom

export-presets-lightroom3Presets are one of Lightroom’s most amazing features! A preset is a saved setting that can be used over and over again. They can be created and used in every module of Lightroom and in many other ways too. Creating Export Presets has saved me tons of time when preparing images for social media.


To start creating your export presets, select one image and then go to File > Export.

When the window pops up, you get to choose your settings. Here are the settings I typically use for different social media.


1) Export Location- First you’ll need to decide where you want your image to be saved. I don’t mind having lots of folders within folders. So I start with all my raw images from a shoot in one folder. Then I choose “Export To: Same folder as original photo”. Underneath, I check “Put in Subfolder” and I call it whatever social media I’ll be posting it to.


2) File Naming- Next, you need to decide if you’d like the image to keep the same name or be called something specific. I keep the same filename, but add where it will be posted as a reminder for later. You can do that by checking “Rename To:” then select “Edit”. Next, you can keep the filename and add whatever you’d like it to say afterwards by typing in the white box.


3) Video- Skip this setting for images.

4) File Settings: I always export my images as JPGs with a quality of 100%. Anything less seems to make the images a tad blurry and pixilated.


5) Image Sizing: This area is extremely important and will differ depending on where you want to post the image. Below I will include recommended pixel dimensions for different social medias. Since I don’t expect any of these images to be printed, 72 dpi helps keep the file size small. *See the image above for a sample Image Sizing setting.

6) Output Sharpening: I personally don’t sharpen any images for social media. But some people like to sharpen the “Standard” amount for “Screen”. Feel free to play with it and decide what you like best.

7) Metadata: I always include “All Metadata” so my information and settings stay with the images.

8) Watermarking: It is entirely up to you whether you would like to watermark the images you post online or not. I watermark most of my images since I’m a portrait photographer and it helps prevent my clients from printing the images I post. If you want to create a watermark, check the box, then select “Edit Watermarks”.


You can create a simple watermark in Lightroom itself using text or you can upload a graphic. I create my logos in Photoshop on a transparent background and save as PNG files. That way the background can stay transparent when placed over my images. Once you’ve uploaded your logo, play around with the different Watermark Effects (opacity, size, anchor, etc.). Save your options as a new watermark preset.


9) Post-Processing- I don’t do anything with my images after exporting them.

10) Before you hit export, SAVE EACH EXPORT PRESET you create. Click on “Add” and name it whatever is easiest for your to remember. I label my social media export presets by the social media and where I’d post them on that media. Examples: Facebook Timeline Cover or Google+ Profile Picture, etc.


So now you’ll want to go through and create an Export Preset for each place you typically post your images online. Below you’ll find pixel dimensions and any other specific recommendations for posting to different places online.



Facebook Timeline Cover: Facebook recommends that the Timeline Cover be 851x315px. While exporting images in Lightroom, you won’t be able to accurately choose the length and width of an image and have the crop turn out exactly the way you want it. So just select the “Long Edge” as 851px and you’ll be able to adjust the height of the crop when you upload the image as your Facebook Timeline Cover.


Facebook Profile Picture: Facebook will only display this image as 160x160px. However, the image will be too small to be clear. First, make sure your image is cropped as a perfect square using the 1:1 ratio in the Develop Module. Facebook recommends that you size the image at 180x180px. I prefer larger, like 250x250px.

Facebook Images: Images look best posted to Facebook with a Long Edge of 1200px. Also, I choose to include my watermarks at the top of the image since Facebook often has the black bar across the bottom of images when someone hovers over your pictures.



Twitter Header Image: Similar to Facebook’s cover image, I export these images using just the Long Edge. Twitter recommends a Long Edge of 1500px and then adjust the height in Twitter.

Twitter Profile Picture: Crop the image as a square before exporting it with 400x400px dimensions.

Twitter Images: Twitter may show images up to 1024x512px. So to be safe, choose a Long Edge of 1024px.



Google+ Cover Photo: Google+ displays your cover image at 2120x1192px. If you export with the Long Edge at 2120px, you will be able to adjust the height in Google+.

Google+ Profile Picture: Crop the image as a square before exporting it with 250x250px dimensions.

Google+ Images: Google+ has only said they will display images with a minimum of 250×250. I use the same settings as Facebook images with a Long Edge of 1200px.



Pinterest Profile Photo: Crop the image as a square before exporting it with 600x600px dimensions.

Pinterest Pin: Pinterest is unique in the fact that it will post all images with a 600px width, but the height could be infinite. Some brands have used this to their advantage by making tall pins so that their followers will see their image longer. With that in mind, I try to be intentional about pinning vertical images. I export them with a 600px Short Edge which allows the images to be whatever height they need to be.



Instagram Profile Photo: Instagram profile pictures should be cropped as a square and exported as 161x161px.

Instagram Images: Also cropped as squares, these images should be exported at 612x612px.


You only have to save each of these Export Presets once and then it will be quick to export your images. Once your images are exported, upload them to your favorite social media sites and enjoy!



Do you have any specific preferences you have found helpful when exporting your images for the web? Feel free to leave any tips in the comments below!

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