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Lightroom’s Secret Website for your Clients

Lightroom’s new web interface has made collaborating with clients very easy. Imagine, after a photo session, you import your images into Lightroom, make a collection of images to show your client, then have Lightroom create a private gallery for your client to select and make comments on their favorite images for you to edit.Their input is automatically synced with your Lightroom catalog. Not only is this cool, but it comes free with your Lightroom subscription!
You’re probably wondering why I’m excited. In the past, I would create a gallery for my client to view. They would send me an email listing the file number and comments of the images they wanted me to edit. I would then manually sort through the images and “flag” or pick the images they requested. This wasn’t too bad for a few images but once they selected over 15 images, it became time consuming and tedious. Can you see why my excitement is justified?

Not perfect but close.

There is always room for improvement in any workflow. The trick is to figure a workaround to make it work for you. A good example, your client “LIKE” their favorite images by clicking on a heart icon. This doesn’t actually “FLAG” the image, it shows up as a Like in the comments section causing you to look through the images and “FLAG” the client’s favorites. At first I couldn’t understand why Adobe did this, but then it made sense. You don’t want to give your client the power to change your flags or ratings for an image. If Adobe added LIKE as an option when filtering the attribute , then this would be perfect. You would simply filter on Like or comments and your client’s Likes or comments would appear. From there, select all and Flag them.

Your client doesn’t have to have Lightroom to view the gallery, but they do have to have an Adobe ID. I’m not a fan of adding an extra step to my workflow, especially one that the client will complain and ask why do I need to sign up for an ID. To fix this, I created a client only Adobe ID, one that all clients will use. When I send the private gallery link, I include the ID and password for the client to log into their private gallery. Problem solved.

Your images can’t be downloaded, only viewed. I read a few disgruntled comments where users were upset they couldn’t use the FREE service as a content delivery option or a backup solution. Can you image the amount of storage that would require? There is a reason sites such as SmugMug or Zenfolio charge, data storage is expensive. Lightroom’s new web interface wasn’t developed to replace these services, it was designed to help Art Directors and Clients to collaborate with the photographer, thats you.

Okay, I like what I hear, walk me through this.

Step 1: Import your images into Lightroom. FLAG the images you want to show your client by pressing the keyboard shortcut “P”. Think “P” for “Pick”.

Step 2: Create a collection set with your client’s name. Click the + icon in the Collection Panel, select Create Collection Set and name the new set your client’s name. Inside your client’s new collection set, create a collection by right clicking on the collection set name and click Create Collection. Name the collection Selects. While you’re there, create two more collections, To Be Processed and Final using the same method.

Step 3: Select your Flag images. Return to the client’s folder. Press keyboard shortcut “G” for Grid View. Filter your images based on Flag Status by clicking Attribute and select the Flag icon. All flag images appear. Use keyboard shortcut [PC] Ctrl + A, [MAC] Command + A to select all flagged images. Drag and drop the selected images into the Select collection. Once the images are in the Select collection, select all images again but this time REMOVE the flags by clicking on the Flag icon of any image. This will be useful in Step 7 when we move the client’s favorite images to the To Be Processed collection.

Step 4: Sync the collection with Lightroom Mobile. Make sure you have Sync with Lightroom Mobile active by clicking on the down arrow icon near Lightroom’s Identity Plate. If this is your first time syncing, click Start, otherwise you should see an option to pause the sync. Go to your client’s Select collection and click on the small check box next to the gallery’s name. You can always right mouse click on the client’s Select collection and choose Sync with Lightroom Mobile.

Step 5: Create client’s Private Gallery. Once a collection is synced with Lightroom Mobile, an option to make the gallery private is available. Click on Make Public to change the settings to Private. Lightroom will begin to generate a private url. Once the url is generated, right mouse click on the url and select Copy to Clipboard. This is the link you want to send to your client.

Step 6: Create a client ADOBE ID and email this ID and password along with a link to their private gallery. Create a new client ADOBE ID. Adobe uses the first name when interacting with Lightroom Mobile. I chose Value Client but you can use any creative name. Once you create your new Adobe ID, test it first before you email this information to your client along with the url link we copied to the clipboard. When your client clicks on an image, a Heart and Comments icon will appear in the lower left side of the screen. Clicking the Heart icon flags the image as a LIKE. If a client isn’t logged in, a pop up message will instruct them to do so when they click on the heart or comments icon. Request your client to send you an email when they finish selecting and commenting on their favorite images for you to edit. Their likes and comments will automatically appear in their Lightroom collection.

Step 7: Flag your client’s favorite images and move them to the TO BE PROCESSED collection. Remember in step 3 when we removed the flags from the Select collection? We can now look through the Select collection and Flag the client’s favorites. Press keyboard shortcut “G” for Grid View. Look for a small text icon in the image cell. Flag the image. If you don’t see information in the cell of an image, press keyboard shortcut [PC] Ctrl + J, [MAC] Command + J to show the Library View Options. Place a check mark in the Show Grid Extras box. Move the Flagged images to the To Be Processes collection.

Once you process the images, move them to the FINAL collections and deliver them to your client. For tips on how to to deliver your images to your clients, check out this quick article How to Deliver Images to your Clients using Lightroom.
Lightroom’s new web interface will save you time and lessen your frustration when collaborating with clients. Give it a try.

*Feature image olly / Dollar Photo Club

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