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How I use Adobe Lightroom as a blogging tool

With a single IFTTT recipe and a Flickr Lightroom plugin I show show how to post an image to Wordpress.

Since the launch of Pressgram I have thought a lot about how my photos are published. While Pressgram allows me to snap a photo, add a filter, and post my photo to my WordPress blog1 it doesn't offer an easy way to publish photos I've taken with my DSLR. With Pressgram, I have full creative control over my photos and since the photos are hosted on my blog, I benefit from the traffic to my blog that would otherwise go to a social network.

But as I thought about this some and I realized that for certain photo, photos taken with my DSLR and processed in some other software like Adobe Lightroom, that I would prefer posting these photos to other communities like Flickr or 500px while at the same time driving traffic back to my blog. I could publish my DSLR photos to Pressgram but I felt that I was better served publishing them into a more appropriate community. The communities on 500px and Flickr are more geared toward the DSLR and compact systems camera (CSC) photographer2. I have accounts on both but recently have leaned toward using 500px more.

A few years ago, I settled on using Adobe Lightroom for cataloging and editing my photos. The "good" ones the ones I feel comfortable sharing publicly, end up on my blog. My current workflow for publishing photos involves exporting a suitably sized photo to a local folder, optionally optimizing the photo using JPEGmini, then uploading and posting to my blog3. JPEGmini helps improve the performance of my photo heavy blog. Occasionally I remember to upload them to 500px via a 500px export plugin for Lightroom.

Here's the current "publish" workflow.

  • Select the photo I want to publish.
  • Export photo to folder.
  • Launch browser and login to blog.
  • Create a new blog post entry and upload photo.
  • Write and publish blog post.
  • Copy text of post to clipboard.
  • Switch to Develop module in Adobe Lightroom.
  • Paste clipboard text into caption field. Add title. The caption text will become the body of the post to 500px and WordPress.
  • Export photo using 500px export plugin.

It's not a complicated workflow but it seemed to me that there was room for improvement. When I export photos to 500px, I can set certain parameters for quality of the photo including sizing and JPEG compression. What if I could skip the JPEGmini optimization step and use the 500px optimized photo on my blog? My photos would be hosted at 500px and I would benefit from improved performance on my site since photos would be served from 500px servers instead of mine.

What I wanted was to post my photos to 500px, along with some text, while at the same time creating a blog post. Basically I wanted a Pressgram style workflow for my DSLR photos.

I had messed around with IFTTT, a service that lets anyone create connections between various online services (channels). I could create a recipe to connect 500px and WordPress. Each upload to 500px would trigger the recipe to create a blog entry. Posting my photos to 500px and WordPress would be as simple as using the 500px Lightroom plugin. My recipe requires that the photo is tagged with keyword "wordpress". This allows me the flexibility of sometimes publishing to 500px without also creating a blog post.

Here's the new "publish" workflow.

  • Select the photo I want to publish.
  • Switch to Develop module.
  • Add keyword, title and caption. The title will become the title of the WordPress blog post and the caption text will become the body.
  • Export photo using 500px export plugin.

When the IFTTT recipe is triggered, my content and photo will post to WordPress. Since I use Markdown to create my blog post the 500px text will appear formatted in Markdown. This isn't much of a problem since most of my photos post don't include links and Markdown text is easy to read. A plugin on my WordPress blog converts the Markdown to HTML. The blog posting will also include a small piece of text with a link back to my 500px photo.

I used this workflow on two recent blog posts. One about my early morning trip to Rojo's Roastery and the other about scratching my food photography itch.

There is one downside to this. My photos will be hosted on 500px. I am will be subject to 500px TOS and if I close my 500px account or delete a photo from 500px, the photo links on my blog will break. However, I think 500px's TOS is designed to favour the rights of the photographer. 500px keeps adding new features most of which benefit me as a photographer. I especially love the portfolio feature and I can mark my photos for sale.

This modified workflow will work with Flickr. Adobe has a built-in Flickr4 export plugin and it's easy to create a workable IFTTT recipe.

  1. The photo will also post to the Pressgram community and optionally Facebook and Twitter. 
  2. Yes, I realize that the most popular camera on Flickr is the iPhone but I think my meaning is clear. 
  3. I almost always have a story to tell about my photos. 
  4. I prefer Jeffrey Friedl's Flickr Export plugin

Author: Khürt Williams

A human who works in information security and enjoys photography, Formula 1 and craft ale.