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How do I export a specific size? from Lightroom: Tips and Quick Fixes by Richard Harrington

How do I export a specific size?

Unlike most tools, when cropping, Lightroom doesn’t actually crop to a specific size. Rather, just to ratio. The size, the relative size of the print or the digital file that you create for the web, is generated upon export. Let me show you. I’ll select our next image here in the series. And, this particular case I’ve already applied a crop. Let’s take a look at what we have. I see that we’ve done an initial crop, and it’s matched the original ratio of the photo. But, I want to be a little more specific.

I’ll go for 5 x 7, and you see it cuts in just a little bit. And, I’ll press return. Now, if I want to generate a true 5 x 7, that’s part of the export command. I’ll choose File > Export. And it brings up the export dialogue. From the popup list, choose your hard drive, unless you’d like to directly attach to an email, or burn to a CD, or use another plugin. But I’ll go right to the hard drive here. I’ll choose to go to a specific folder, let me click ‘Choose,’ and on my desktop, I’m going to make a new folder called ‘Output.’ And click ‘Create.’ And then ‘Choose.’ Now, I can go down through each section.

You’ll notice for file naming, you could preserve the original file name, or apply a new name. Let’s go to what really matters here though, and that’s the ‘Image Sizing’ section. You’ll notice you have several options with a popup list. This allows you to choose different measurement types, such as the overall dimensions. Or perhaps, the long edge or the short edge. You can also assign a specific megapixel count or a relative percentage.

But let’s go with the obvious one here of width and height. And in this case, I’d like to assign this a little more specifically. So I’ll switch to inches, and set this to five inches by seven inches. And if I look at the image, I see I have a traditional 5 x 7. However, since this is going to be for print purposes, I’m going to want to bump this up to something closer to 200 to 300 pixels per inch. Looking that over, I see that I’ve made a specific size for printing.

I can also choose to apply an additional sharpening pass specifically for the type of paper, in this case, glossy paper. When ready, I’ll click ‘Export,’ and the file will be generated. Now in this case, since two images were selected, both files are written. Now in the case of this one, let’s see what happened when we exported a square as a 5 x 7. You’ll notice, for example, that it did preserve the smaller size. So, it made it five inches.

However, it didn’t have pixels to fill out the rest. If we take a look at the other one though, here, it truly is a 5 x 7. Let’s take that into Photoshop for a second just to check it. Once the image is open, I can choose ‘Image’ > ‘Image Size.’ And, let’s switch this to actually measure in inches, and you’ll see that it’s 5 x 7, at 300 pixels per inch. Exactly what we specified over in Lightroom. I’ll go ahead and click cancel, and close the file.

Now, let’s do this one more time, but not for print. How about the web, or a presentation? I’ll select the next image here, and I’m going to go to the crop tool and check my size. In this case, I’m going to set this to 16 x 9, and I could adjust the crop in relative position. When satisfied, I’ll click File > Export. And in this case, I’ll export to the same folder as before, and I could choose the file type.

For example, for a video project, I might choose to create a TIFF file. That looks good. And I’m going to switch this to AdobeRGB. If creating a file for the web, I would suggest sRGB. ProPhoto is fine when working in Lightroom, but not perfect here for web or video output. Alright, that looks good. And from the width and height, let’s switch this to pixels. And what I need is a width of 1920, and a height of 1080. And now that’s all set for HD video.

If I was doing something in 4K, then this would be 3840 x 2160. The resolution doesn’t really matter for screen graphics, but most people set it to 96 or 72. I’ll choose ‘Sharpen’ for Screen, and click ‘Export,’ and you see that the file is generated. You could track its progress in the status. There’s the file. And if we check that in Photoshop, and we go to the image settings, you’ll see that sure enough, it’s 3840 x 2160, and it’s perfectly sized for a 4K video project.

Now, knowing the exact size to export often means checking in with the printer, looking at the size of the frame you have, or maybe talking to one of your collaborators. But once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy to export. Whether you need a specific print size, or a specific pixel count, just use the popup menus in that export dialogue, and combine it with the tool you learned earlier about cropping to a specific shape or ratio.