I have been a fan of Lightroom since Adobe released Version 1 in 2007. I kept up with the new issues for several years and finally joined the Adobe photography subscription service. This automatically sends updates to my computer and avoids the annual (or more frequent) financial decisions on whether to purchase a new update. Instead, it relegates payment for updates to a monthly drip on my credit card that is often hidden among other more important purchases. Right now, my Lightroom catalogue has over 37,000 “negatives” but since I failed to add keywords when first loading those images finding that special photograph can sometimes be a problem. (One of these days I will begin to remedy that failure.)
According to Adobe, when Lightroom imports photos, a link is made between the image and the record of the photo in the catalog. Then, the photo is edited, those changes are stored in the photo’s catalogue record as additional metadata. When the photo is shared outside Lightroom the program applies the changes stored in the catalog (just like photo-developing instructions), to a copy of the original photo. Lightroom never changes the photos captured by the camera so editing in Lightroom is nondestructive. Adding to that non-destructive processing, Lightroom also supports plugins to enhance the capabilities provided by Adobe. One of my favorites is LR/Mogrify 2 created by software engineer, Timothy Armes. This plugin allows watermarks, borders and text annotations to be added to images as they are exported from Lightroom. The plugin uses ImageMagick to process the images. ImageMagick is a collection of freeware command line utilities for processing images. (LR/Mogrify 2 can be downloaded from the Photographer’s Toolbox here and for Windows users ImageMagick from here.)
The gallery below demonstrates some uses of LR/Mogrify – from a simple combination of a graphic logo and text copyright statement, to external and internal borders, or a title and descriptive text.
Do all images need borders and text? Probably not, but I suggest that most images could benefit from the photographer’s logo and a copyright notice. An advantage of LR?Mogrify 2 is that it allows the size of a graphic logo and the text of the copyright notice to be set as a percentage of the length or width of the image. Once set up, these identifiers can be easily added to any image exported from Lightroom. Years ago, I read an article about the appropriate quality for jpg files exported from Lightroom. The author determined that there was no visible difference between files exported at quality 70 from those exported at 100. Ever since, I fix the export quality at 70. Even so, this can result in large files, especially if the image has a lot of small detail – such as trees in winter. For printing, file size has little impact, but if the images are part of a WordPress gallery, then size and slow loading can ruin an otherwise impressive website. Recently, I have begun using RIOT (Radical Image Optimization Tool) to optimize my files before I load them into WordPress. If I use 70 as an export setting for Lightroom, I set Riot to 60 when optimizing files before uploading to my WordPress site. That seems to yield a reduction in file size of about 35-45 percent and without pixel-peeping, I can’t see a difference. Give it a try and add LR/Mogrify 2 to your workflow.