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How to Post on Instagram from Lightroom

a blog post about How to post on Instagram from Lightroom

I mentioned in my post ’10 Things You Don’t Know About Me’, and in my first Instagram TV episode, that I like to use apps that help me streamline my workflow. One of those automated processes is how to post on Instagram from Lightroom, including a neat trick using the print module.

This may seem like a long process to go through but you only need to set it up once. When it’s done, your social media posting will become streamlined and save you a tonne of time.

NOTE: I don’t use this as an excuse to not be active and engaging on social media. It simply removes the monotony of exporting and uploading every day. In fact, it helps me to be more active. Without this process, I probably wouldn’t post every day.

What you need

If you’re interested in setting this up yourself, there are a couple of things you will need before getting started.

An IFTTT account

IFTTT stands for ‘If This Then That’. It’s entirely free and allows you to connect cloud based services to automatically perform certain actions when criteria that you specify are met. Each IFTTT recipe that you create is called an applet.

For example, ever noticed when you enable the option to share on Twitter from Instagram, it always posts a link and not the image.  Here’s how to overcome that;

IF there is a new post to my Instagram THEN post to Twitter with the original image.

TOP TIP: set this up when you’ve finished this article. Then you can automate your Twitter posting too!

Cloud Storage

More specifically, a cloud based storage service supported by IFTTT, Like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Use the following codes for 20% off G Suite:

Basic Plan: MAX4JCKH7E7XC3D
Business Plan: N3RUPMPFA93LVF4

You will need to download their desktop apps so that you can access them without opening your browser. The screenshot below illustrates what I mean. Notice how Google Drive and Dropbox are both accessible from my Mac Finder. You will only need to use one of these options to set up this applet.  Without this, you would need to export your images to desktop and upload to your cloud storage manually, which would negate this whole process.

Download Google Drive

Download Dropbox

Productivity hack for how to post to Instagram from Lightroom using Google Drive

A Buffer Account

Buffer is a social media scheduling tool with free and paid options, depending on how much functionality you want. I use their free option as it provides everything I need. Which includes support for 3 social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), a custom posting schedule and link shortening, to help with the Twitter character limitation.

Your Instagram account will need to be a business profile with a Facebook page connected to it. This will allow Buffer to post on Instagram for you automatically.

Top tip for setting up your Instagram posting schedule;
Buffer do a lot of research on how to get the best results from social media. They call it ‘the science of social media’. They recommend big brands post twice a day, and small brands/individuals post once a day.

You can find when your audience is online by going to the analytics section in your Instagram account.  Your insights can be found by going to your Instagram profile from the app on your phone and tapping the three horizontal lines in the top right corner.

How to find Instagram insights

The Setup

Now that you’ve registered with the above services you will need to set up your applet for posting to Instagram from Lightroom.

As IFTTT doesn’t have support for Lightroom, you have to go about it another way. And this is where it will become clear why you need access to your cloud storage from your desktop.

Cloud Storage

In my Google Drive, I have a folder titled ‘Schedule’ inside another folder titled ‘Instagram’. You can choose the same or whatever works for you.

IFTTT

To setup the applet needed for this process, you will need to connect your cloud storage service and buffer account to IFTTT. You will be taken through this process as part of the applet setup.

IFTTT prevents you from using all the social media accounts that you have connected to Buffer so you can only pick one. For this process to work, you’ll need to choose the Instagram account.

Set up your applet as follows;

IF ‘new photo in your folder’ (here you specify the Google Drive path you chose above. In my case it would be ‘Instagram/Schedule’)

THEN ‘Add photo to Buffer’.

In the field for Photo URL enter ‘{{PhotoUrl}}’, under Description enter ‘{{Filename}}’. You can choose these options easily by clicking the button that says ‘Add Ingredient’ and selecting the relevant option.

To check you’ve set it up correctly, go to your ‘My applets’ section, click on the applet you just created, followed by the settings cog icon in the top right.  The final applet should look like this.

That’s the automation part set up. You’re now ready to jump in to Lightroom and start using it.

Lightroom

Once you have finished your image processing it’s time to get your photo out of Lightroom and in to your Buffer queue. You can choose one of two ways to do this. Which option you choose will depend if you want to put the white borders around your image.

I go to a lot of effort refining the crop of my images. I don’t want Instagram messing with that crop so I put a white border around all of my images. This means that, as far as Instagram is concerned, my image is square and won’t get cropped. I use the print module to add my border. See how.

Without a White Border

For the benefit of those that don’t use a white border, you simply need to export your image the same way that you normally would. Except you need to make sure it goes to the cloud storage location you specified above.  Before you export, I recommend writing the caption that you want for your Instagram post in to the Metadata caption box (as shown in the screenshot below).

If you plan to add the photo to stock websites, you can always delete this caption when you’re done exporting it.

With the export settings below, all of your images will be named with the captions you specified.  I recommend creating an export preset for this by clicking the ‘Add’ button in the bottom left corner of the export module when you’ve finished applying your settings.  Then you can re-use it at the click of a button:

Export location

Specific folder (choose your cloud storage location specified in IFTTT)

File naming

  1. Next to ‘Rename to:’, choose ‘Edit’ from the drop down menu
  2. Under ‘Metadata’, click the arrows next to the ‘Title’ option and choose ‘Caption’. Delete anything else in the box that isn’t ‘Caption’.

File settings

  1. JPEG
  2. sRGB
  3. Maximum quality

Image Sizing

I’ve read that this is the best for resolution for avoiding image compression on social media sites

  1. Resize to fit: Long edge = 2048 pixels
  2. Resolution = 72 pixels per inch

 

IFTTT will pull the filename in to Buffer (along with your image) and use that as the caption. All you need to do now is add your hashtags. Skip to the bottom of this article to find out how I add my hashtags.

With a White Border

In the right side panel of the Lightroom Print module, scroll down to ‘Print Job’ and expand it. Next to the first option in that panel (where it says ‘Print to’) choose ‘JPEG file’.

Set up the rest of the options as follows (any settings you see in the print module panel that I don’t mention here aren’t important so you can ignore them).

Alternatively, join my mailing list and I’ll send you the preset for you to install and use in Lightroom.

 

Download Print module preset

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Layout

  1. Ruler units = points
  2. Margins: Left and right = 18, top and bottom = 40.  (This is what I like to use. You can adjust these to your own taste)
  3. Page grid: Rows and columns = 1
  4. Cell size set to maximum
  5. Tick the ‘Keep square’ box

Guides

I tick all boxes here, but again, this comes down to personal preference.  The guides won’t be visible on your final saved image.

Page

Page background colour (tick the box) = white (or whatever colour you want your border to be)

Print Job

  1. Print to = JPEG file
  2. File resolution = 72 ppi
  3. JPEG quality = 100
  4. Colour management profile = sRGB

 

When you’re done, click ‘Print to file’. Name the file as you want the caption to be in Instagram (minus the hashtags), make sure the save location is the cloud storage location you specified above in IFTTT. When you click save, your caption and image (complete with white border) will be pulled in to Buffer by IFTTT and will use the filename as the caption.

Hashtags

As file names can’t contain a ‘#’, you’ll need to do this bit manually by opening your Instagram Buffer queue. To speed things up, I keep a list of hashtags that I use regularly in my Google Keep notepad. This way, all I need to do is copy and paste them in to Buffer and then add a few that are specific to that photo.

I recommend using hashtags that can be applied to the rest of the images in your queue. That way you only need to switch between Buffer and your notepad for one image. You can then select all of those hashtags, copy them in one go and paste them in to the rest of your images.  Once I’ve applied all of the generic hashtags, I then go back and apply any that are specific to an image but might not fit another image in my Buffer queue.

If you don’t have a Google account, other cloud based notepad solutions, like Evernote, are excellent options. In fact, Google Keep isn’t supported by IFTTT, so I may switch to Evernote myself one day. But at the moment, I don’t have a need for automating any of my note taking. Another reason I don’t use Evernote as the free version only supports syncing across two devices, which isn’t enough for me.

That’s it. You’re done! I hope this routine proves useful to you and saves you a load of time. If you’re new to IFTTT, or even if you’ve been using it for a while, I’d love to read about your favourite applets for maximising your productivity. Let me know about them in the comments below.

Oh, and don’t forget to set up that automation I mentioned at the beginning for cross posting from Instagram to Twitter.

Bonus

You’ll notice that every time Instagram and Twitter are mentioned throughout this article, they contain a link to my profile.  I have a plugin for WordPress that automatically adds links to certain words. I’d love it if you clicked one and said hi over there too!

 

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