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What Quality Should You Export Your JPEGs in Lightroom?

Published: 30/05/2018
By: larry

Steven in NJ says:

Recently, I've changed my camera setting back to "fine" for better photos but now I am delivering photos that are over 10Mb and the MLS does not allow uploads over 10Mb. Any suggestions on how to deliver the best quality photos and still stay under the 10Mb limit?

Most people control the size of the files they deliver in Lightroom when they export them. Assuming you are creating your delivery files in Lightroom this tutorial by Trevor Dayley will probably fix your problem. Trevor shows how dropping the quality slider a little in Lightroom Export reduces file size significantly without negatively impacting the quality of the image.

18 comments on “What Quality Should You Export Your JPEGs in Lightroom?”

  1. Wait wait wait wait......did the OP say he was "[changing] my camera setting back to “fine” for better photos..."?!

    Garbage In, Garbage Out.
    Why for the love of Pete would anyone shoot JPEGs and not RAW files? You can't shoot JPEGs and simultaneously be asking about how to have the "best" quality in your deliverables. It's like getting drugstore-kiosk prints and then throwing your negatives away. If the OP wants to have good quality, he has to start by capturing good quality in the first place, then output the deliverables wisely.

  2. I’ve changed my camera setting back to “fine” for better photos Huh?? I am afraid this gentleman has been misinformed. Use RAW, post process to liking and export to jpg with a smaller resolution. Problem solved.

  3. I would love feedback on our process:

    We shoot in RAW on 5dMk3
    My shooters prep the photos with a few major edits, and then export to TIFF at 2500x1800, 240ppi
    My editor imports those, edits them, and then exports to two folders of jpegs: MLS 1280x960, 240ppi, 70% quality, Print 2500x1800, 240ppi, 70% quality
    We end up with files around 200-500kb for MLS, 600-1500kb for print

    Does this sound reasonable?

    We recently changed from Dropbox to Google Drive for delivery and we are saving some money, and it seems to be working great for my clients and team.

  4. If shooting in .jpg, why even use Lightroom. Lens correction profiles are designed around RAW. Ever noticed when attempting to apply a profile, if it actually has the camera listed it won't have the lens as you try to manually match up the combination that Lightroom wouldn't auto-read. Think of it this way...RAW is RAW, .jpg is the auto mumbo jumbo application the manufacturer developed for out of camera presentation and any fine tuning (brightness, contrast, cropping etc) can be done with the free software provided by the manufacturer.

  5. ALWAYS shoot RAW... process in your favorite editor... export as JPEG.

    Our MLS (like all the rest of them) have a max file size (resolution, etc). Not sure what part of NJ you are from, but here in the Philly Metro area it's TREND (BrightMLS). They recommend 1440 x 1080 at 96ppi. So I set Lightroom to export at that size and have NEVER had a file-size issue. And I only export at that one size... as it works fine for print, web, etc.

  6. @peterleon -- I use WeTransfer also, but it won't re-size photos to make the file size smaller.

    @Steven -- Shooting RAW is just a basic good practice, so if you're concerned about the quality of your photos that'd be an obvious first step. But it won't address your issue of file size, for that see any of the good links people have provided.

  7. I'm getting the impression that the OP is delivering the images straight out of the camera with no post processing. If that is the case, there is no value added to the customer. The OP is also not extracting the full measure of the camera's capability either.

    There are only three primary reasons I shoot in .jpg. If I'm making images for Reuters, they require them to be shot in .jpg (silly, I know). If I am taking photos at an amateur rocket launch, I shoot in .jpg so I have enough room in the buffer for more frames. Lastly, I use small .jpg's for eBay images since I'm in controlled studio conditions with lots of light and the images don't need to be as good so I'm left with small files that I don't have to do anything to.

    I deliver 5 galleries to my RE customers. Each one has the pixels dimensions that match the maximum display size for each web site they are intended for. It only takes a minute or two (plus processing time) for Lightroom to create the galleries from presets I have made. I see it as a very cheap way to add value in my customer's eyes. Delivering 10mB image files would mean that my customers would have to further process a .jpg image to the detriment of quality. They are also not likely to have staff that are versed in image processing to the extent that I am.

    Shoot RAW and then output the images from a program such as Lightroom in the format and size that the customer needs to market the property.

  8. For the MLS I export out at 100% at 1080 on the long side. Then I grab the whole set and toss it in JPEG Mini to crush it down the most possible without losing quality.

  9. Another mention for JPEG Mini Pro. I send Realtors two sets of JPEG's from Lightroom - 1850 px for Internet - 3500 px for print. I export directly to Dropbox from Lightroom, the drag to Mini Pro which resaves in the Dropbox folder. The larger photos go from 3 mb or so to 1.5. Saves me tons of space.

  10. I want to thank everyone for the feedback. Most of it was constructive. I spent the last 2 weeks really learning to use Lightroom and my last 4 shoots were RAW using lightroom. I have changed my workflow for the better and I want to thank everyone. One final note, I'd say 99% of my customers only use the photos for MLS so I no export them to match the MLS at 1280 x 960.

  11. One more comment.... I have tried several delivery methods for my photos and now find that since I have Amazon Prime, this is the an easy method for the end use to pull a one click download so I now use Amazon Photos for my delivery.

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