I am a really big fan of Instagram. In my opinion, Instagram is one of the best social networks. It combines the best features of Facebook with the best features of Twitter, allowing you to follow all the people you are connected to in a linear stream of content.
On Instagram, I typically only like to publish my favorite photos. I don’t believe I have ever published a photo on Instagram that I shot with my iPhone, and I’ve never uploaded a photo that didn’t get processed with Lightroom first.
In the past, my process involved loading my photos into Lightroom, processing them, exporting the image as a JPG, uploading it to Dropbox, then downloading it to my mobile device (usually my iPhone or iPad), then cropping it and uploading it to Instagram.
Now that Adobe announced the Lightroom Mobile App, my process has been streamlined a bit. I can now skip the whole process of exporting the file to Dropbox, which will save me a bit of time. In this quick tutorial, I will show you 2 ways to create Instagram photos using Lightroom mobile. Let’s get started!
1. Using Lightroom 5
In the first method, we will start off with a photo that we shot with a DSLR using the basic workflow that I explained in the introduction. Before you begin, make sure you upgrade to the latest version of Lightroom 5 (Windows | Mac).
Open Lightroom 5, then browse to the collection where you have stored the photo that you want to use. In my case, I’m using all of my Central Park Photos.
Now select the photo that you want to use and open it in the Develop Module.
Now apply some changes to your photo.
Now that you have finished making your edits, the next step is to share the photo with Lightroom Mobile. To do this, make sure that you have updated to the latest version of Lightroom (Windows | Mac), then make sure that you download Lightroom Mobile (App Store Link) on your iPad (coming to iPhone soon). Once you have everything set up, sign in on both devices. You can sign in to Lightroom 5 at the top left corner of your screen. Once signed in, you’ll see your name listed there.
With your photo selected, press the B key on your keyboard to add it to a quick collection.
Right click on the Quick Selection, and select Rename. Name it whatever you like.
You should now see your collection listed. To share it, simply click the little checkbox to the left of the collection’s name.
Now that you have shared your photo with Lightroom Mobile, go ahead and open up Lightroom Mobile. Your collection should be there waiting for you, but it could take a moment to sync.
Tap the photo to open it.
Now tap the options icon located at the top right corner of your screen, and click share.
Now tap Save Image.
Now upload the photo to Instagram.
2. Using Lightroom Mobile
Now that you have seen how easy it is to edit a photo in Lightroom and then share it to Instagram, let’s show you how easy it is to shoot a photo on your mobile device, make a few edits, and then post it to Instagram, all completely with your iPad (or iPhone once the app is available).
Your first step should be to go and shoot a really great photo with your mobile device. In my case, the pickings were slim. Like I said, I rarely shoot with my mobile but I do have a couple of shots taken around the holidays at the Time Warner Building in New York City. So let’s use one of those.
Browse to the collection that you want to add your photo to. Tap the options icon located in the top right corner of your screen. Tap Add Photos.
Select the photo that you want to use. Tap the checkmark in the top right corner of your screen to continue.
Your photo should now be added to your collection.
Tap the photo to edit it.
Now, let’s crop the photo. We skipped that step in Section 1 of this tutorial. So let’s show you how it’s done now.
Select the Crop icon at the bottom of the screen. Since we are uploading this photo to Instagram, select 1×1. To adjust the crop, tap and drag inside the visibile portion of the photo to move it around. To adjust the corner handles, just tap and drag them to the size you prefer. To accept the crop, simply tap the Crop icon again.
Now tap the Adjustment icon at the bottom of the screen. Once you do that, you will see several options that you can use to edit your photo. If you are familiar with Lightroom, you will recognize them from the Basic panel of the Develop module.
To make a chance, simply tap one of the adjustments and use the sliders to edit the photos. Once you’re done, there is no need to save. In this photo, I went a bit crazy with the temperature, clarity, saturation, etc., just to show what is possible. Also keep in mind that you are making these adjustments to a JPG file, not a raw file, so you won’t have as much flexibility as you might be used to.
Now that you have made your edits, you will also notice that since your files are synced in the cloud that your edits will also be reflected in your Lightroom 5 installation on your desktop, as well.
When you are finishd editing your photo, simply use the steps as explained at the end of Section 1 of this tutorial to save the photo to your camera roll and upload to Instagram.
As you can see, Lightroom Mobile includes some powerful features to help you sync photos between devices, as well as make basic edits that you can then share on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I hope that you learned something from this tutorial and can use these tips to not only share your images with your friends and followers on social media, but I also hope that you can also incorporate these tips into your professional workflows to free you up from desktop editing.