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New Captioning for my Lightroom Plugins

A new way to caption in my Lightroom plugins

Photo metadata has evolved a mix of seemingly comparable ways to label a photo. Lightroom allows you to enter a “Title”, a “Caption”, and a “Headline”, among others, so which should you use when you upload your images to an online photo-hosting service? That depends, of course, on how what fields you've entered into Lightroom, what you've entered into them, and your goal for the label.

My plugins for Adobe Lightroom that allow you to export photos to online photo-hosting services (for:  Zenfolio  ·  SmugMug  ·  Flickr  ·  Picasa Web ) allow for a simple selection from among the main labeling metadata fields, but I knew early on that it wasn't powerful enough for some people's captioning needs, so while I've been working on the Lightroom 2.0 versions of my plugins for the last many months, I built a new and powerful way for the plugin user to specify how the plugin should construct the captions that it sends to the photo-hosting service.

I've gone ahead and grafted that support back into the 1.x plugins (which should also work on the 2.0 beta) for Zenfolio and SmugMug as a test.

The new captioning method allows you to create templates that mix free text and metadata tokens, and to build up those templates into a personal list of captioning presets.

I describe the template system here: Preset Templates in my Lightroom Plugins

Because this template system was developed originally for the as-yet-unreleased Lightroom 2.0, they haven't gotten much general-public testing, so the UI might be a bit awkward (so I'm looking for comments/suggestions that might make it better.)

Also, be aware that the list of template tokens may change from release to release. It's been suggested that it would be better for the tokens to be case-insensitive, which means, for example, that I'd have to rename tokens like {yyyy} and {YYYY} (the current year, and the year the photo was taken, respectively).

For now, the new captioning system is optional, so these new versions should continue to work fine for those not wishing to try the new one. I hope. We'll see.

If things go well, I'll graft this into my Flickr and PicasaWeb plugins as well.

Latest versions are here:   plugin for Zenfolio  ·  plugin for SmugMug


Comments so far....

I use the zenfolio version and no matter what I use (old style or new style) or no matter what I put in the ‘Caption Preset’ it always gives me twice the title (in the title field as well as in the caption field). I tried to create a new preset to give me location instead of caption, but still it gives me the title. Using Vista 32 bits, and lightroom 1.4.1

— comment by Caroline on May 26th, 2008 at 7:13pm JST (6 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I’m having the same issue as Caroline mentions. Notably, the plugin is showing the Example caption correctly (within Lightroom), but somehow this doesn’t get carried over to Zenphoto. I’m also running Lightroom 1.4.1, but on Windows XP.

— comment by David Hobbs on June 12th, 2008 at 11:17am JST (6 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi it’s me again. I installed the 2.0 beta of lightroom and the problem is still there. Seems to be a windows thing… All is correct except the “caption” line.

— comment by Caroline on June 17th, 2008 at 6:46pm JST (6 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I use the Zenfolio plugin with Lightroom 1.41 on Vista. The EXIF information is lost when uploaded using the plugin. manua upload seems to work fine. Otherwise, Great tool!

— comment by Jasper on July 3rd, 2008 at 4:26am JST (6 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

This problem that Caroline describes still persists and it doesn’t seem to be related to Windows this time. I use a Mac and Lightroom 1.4.1 and I have the same issue.

Could this be a Zenfolio API issue? Jeffrey, do you have any comment on this?

Thanks for this great plugin!

I’ve uploaded a new version, 20080704.48, that fixes this. Sorry for the hassels. —Jeffrey

— comment by Ramiro on July 4th, 2008 at 7:21am JST (6 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Now that looks fine over here in belgium. Saves me lot’s of typing, yay!

Thanks a lot!

— comment by Caroline on July 6th, 2008 at 2:02am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Mac OS X 10.5.4 / Export Ver: 20080704.46

Minor GUI glitch. When working in the Metadata & Upload Management window for Smugmug, the “example” does not wrap and the window cannot be extended horizontally. The only real problem this creates besides not being able to see the whole example is the “old style / new style” buttons are configured to stay centered; if the caption is too long these buttons can line up completely off the screen and cannot be accessed.

The workaround is to test your formatting with a file containing short content.

— comment by Buck on July 9th, 2008 at 3:15am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I really like the Zenfolio uploader plugin.

One small issue that I’m having is with the interface.

My list of galleries and sub-galleries is very long, and there is a whole lot to scroll through when selecting the destination gallery.

This happens because there is no way to ‘collapse’ and ‘open’ folders when selecting the destination for the upload.

I have a sample of what the ‘select upload’ folder looks like right now at this link:

http://martysohl.zenfolio.com/p265554540/?photo=h16C6F11C#382136604

That is about 1/3 of the total gallery structure.

Maybe there is a way to ‘collapse’ folders in the next version.

Actually, there will be, when Lightroom 2.0 is released. I added an “auto-destination” feature that builds a destination gallery for each image based upon template-based rules you write (e.g, upload to Archive > {YYYY} > {MM} > {Folder}), and because of that I suddenly had hundreds of galleries, so had to build at least a basic ability to compact their display…. —Jeffrey

Even if it can’t be done, thanks so much for this incredibly useful tool.

— comment by Edward Casati on July 9th, 2008 at 4:03am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

yr flickr plugin is great. with me however the option to add a photo to a set doesn’t work.

— comment by tom on July 15th, 2008 at 11:22pm JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, thanks for your efforts. I’m using the export plug in for SumgMug, and the star “Rating” token is not being recognised, am I doing anything wrong? Here’s my template:

{Folder}-{Rating}

Hope you can help!

— comment by Patrick on July 22nd, 2008 at 11:10pm JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Great feature. I use both versions of your plugin – Flickr and Zenfolio. The new captioning system is great. When do you envisage we’ll get it in Flickr version?

Once again, great effort :-)

The LR2.0 version of the Flickr plugin will have it… —Jeffrey

— comment by yOOrek on July 23rd, 2008 at 2:08am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I have been using the Zenfolio plugin and noticed that my file sizes were a bit large for using a 72 dpi setting. I found out that the files were actually using a setting of 240 dpi for the upload. I have not be able to figure out how to set dpi for what I want. I used a ‘file to disk’ setting and then uploaded that exported file using the plugin and that worked ok. Is there an issue here or is this behavior expected? Other than that, the plugin works very well.

— comment by GregD on August 26th, 2008 at 3:30am JST (6 years ago) comment permalink
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