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Exporting Your Photos for Print

Exporting images can sometimes get confusing.  Let’s face it, there are lots of different settings to choose and endless combinations of numbers to input. So today I am going to break it down in an easy step by step and let you know exactly what you need to do to export photos for print.

**Please Note: When I say print, I mean anytime you are giving files to clients or sending them to a lab/printer for print.

Opening For Export

You can get to the Export dialog in 3 ways.  

  1. The first is just highlight/select any photo from your filmstrip and right-click on the photo.  From the menu that pops up, select Export>Export.  
  2. The second is to select File>Export.  
  3. The third way is to use a keyboard shortcut shift+command/ctrl+E

It doesn’t matter how you get there. Any of these will work so choose the one easiest to remember for you.

The Export Dialog Box

The Export Dialog Box has many different sections.  For the purpose of this post, we are going to cover a few of them in depth.

File Renaming is something that I typically do when exporting files for clients.  I like to add their name to the file number that either I or my camera gave the image when I imported.  So I check the Rename To box and choose “Custom Name-Original File Number” from the drop-down menu.  Under “Custom Text” I type the client name I want to use.

In File Settings, you need to make sure that your Image Format is set to JPEG.  This is the most share-friendly of the options.  Your Quality should be set to 100.  Your Color Space should be sRGB.  This is the Color Space used by photo prints so will render the best.  DO NOT check the box “Limit File Size to:”.  Checking that box would decrease file quality significantly.

In Image Sizing, make sure Resize to Fit is UNCHECKED and in the Resolution box you have 300 typed in and the drop-down menu is set at “pixels per inch.”

Output Sharpening will be personal preference to most.  I check the “Sharpen For” box and choose Matte Paper from the drop-down options and Standard under Amount.

Pretty Presets Import, Export, and Watermark Collection

In order to save you time deciphering these boxes, we have put together the Watermarks+Import and Export Presets to help save you time when exporting your photos.  There are 3 different export for the web presets as well as export presets for print, CD, and gallery previews.  In addition to this there are several Import presets and several watermark options.  These will save you time and give you many great options during export.  You can even customize them to fit your needs!

Free Cheat Sheet

Please feel free to download this Cheat Sheet to help you remember all the important settings for Exporting in Lightroom! 


Thanks to Allison Wheeler for this great video showing how to apply this cheat sheet to your own images.


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