Lightroom Plugin Update #2,800

Over the years I've published about 50 plugins for Lightroom, and of the 40ish that are still actively maintained, as of today I've put out a combined total of 2,800 updates.

I provide an RSS feed for updates and so I normally write here only about the release of new plugins, but today I pushed out a new release for my Folder Watch plugin that made me reflect on just how much the plugins grow over time.

Folder Watch originally grew out of a request from a Lightroom friend for better automatic importing, such as one might want when shooting tethered (especially since Lightroom didn't support any kind of tethering at the time, in the spring of 2009). The first version could scan a folder for new images, import them, and optionally have some simple metadata like the title set. That was it.

Now, four and a half years later, with advances in Lightroom and what it allows a plugin to do, Folder Watch offers fully-automated end-to-end processing — import, develop, export — if you like.

Here's what the configuration looks like at the moment:

The last item on the list — the ability to have an automatic import trigger a publish operation — is one of today's addition. Combined with, for example, an export-to-Facebook plugin, you can create fully-automatic camera-to-Facebook processing.

It'd be nice if the plugin supported all the options that Lightroom's normal import supports, but Lightroom offers no such hooks for this. That's often the most limiting factor in all my plugin development... what hooks Lightroom does and doesn't offer. (My stress and time are next on the list of limiting factors.)

Another addition today is the ability to write dynamic values to the title and caption fields, via the template tokes my plugins support. This includes the ability to use the special {LUA=...} token to execute arbitrary code.

Folder Watch is certainly not my most popular plugin, but I spent several days working on the various enhancements anyway, because it's fun and I enjoy it. I hope someone finds it useful.

All 11 comments so far, oldest first...

“Folder Watch is certainly not my most popular plugin, but I spent several days working on the various enhancements anyway, because it’s fun and I enjoy it.”

Gold 🙂

— comment by juice on September 23rd, 2013 at 9:30pm JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Have you considered putting a check in the flow that will look at the rating in the file in order to determine if it should be published? This could be useful for tethered shooting so that only x-star rated images are processed/published. I’m not sure how you track new files (filename cache or timestamp based on last read), but this shouldn’t be difficult to implement.

I use a wifi card a lot and would love to be able to send certain pics from my camera thru my entire import/process/export to directory/iTunes sync uploads images to 1st Gen Apple TV.

I’m not sure what you mean by “rating in the file”, but if it’s something that Lightroom reads automatically on import, and if it then exposes that to you via a Smart Collection rule, you can have a smart publish collection that automatically includes whatever images you want, and choose it for the “publish this collection” option. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brad on September 24th, 2013 at 2:04am JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

Congretulatiosns for your grat work. I like your plugins and the fact, that you support them for years.

Really geeat and thanks a lot!

— comment by Thg_bo on September 24th, 2013 at 2:08am JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry, by “rating in the file” I meant the rating that was assigned to the image in the camera. Some cameras now allow you to rate an image 1-5 stars while reviewing images on the memory card.
As you’ve said, the smart rules should cover what I want. I guess I could achieve my goal using the auto import settings.

I don’t know how a camera might encode that information in the image file, or whether Lightroom notices it and makes it available to the user or to the plugin, but I suspect it does neither. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brad on September 24th, 2013 at 1:30pm JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you, Jeffrey! Your continued efforts are very much appreciated by the many in the Lightroom community.

— comment by Mike WRen on September 25th, 2013 at 9:43am JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

First of all thank you for your great plugin for Zenfolio I use it regularly and mostly without issue, certainly worthy of much thanks. I greatly appreciate your hard work towards making other creators’ lives easier.

I wanted to ask if you have published a public opinion about Adobe’s Creative Cloud, and if not, if perhaps you could talk about it a little? I apologize if you’ve been asked before. I have been discussing it with other photographers and I was curious what someone who is so involved with the software thinks about such a major change. Obviously there are varied opinions, but most seem very polar.

Also, do you have any thoughts on good alternatives or speculations towards the possibility of other companies coming up in the ranks of respectable editing software (LR and Photoshop are those I use)? I have even seen discussion of open-source developments and aiding them with group-funding to overcome what some consider the obstacle of the Creative Cloud.

Best regards,

I’m not sure I understand why a geek/developer’s opinion on a marketing issue is particularly relevant to the general population, but I’m decidedly ambivalent about CC. The biggest impact to me relates to my plugins not working on pirated copies of Lightroom: if the plugins catch you with a pirated copy, they won’t work until you revalidate with a legal copy, but I can’t (yet?) revalidate with a legal CC copy, so folks who “go straight” with a CC copy of Lightroom still can’t use my plugins unless they also buy a legal non-CC copy (which defeats the whole point of having gone with CC to begin with). With Lightroom’s upgrade price being so reasonable, and with my already having a copy of Photoshop CS5 that I use only occasionally, I’m not strongly tempted toward the Creative Cloud, but the $10/month special offer is tempting, and sometime before the end of the year when it expires I’ll probably take the plunge. —Jeffrey

— comment by Andrew on September 25th, 2013 at 10:37am JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink


Your stuff is great. I’m getting closer to trying your facial recognition Picassa import into LR, but for now I want to suggest another project.

In LR as you know many photographers use the 1 thru 5 star rating system in Post Processing. Using smart collections, and smart gallery publishing into SmugMug, I regularly create two or three galleries from a shoot, based on the ratings.

Smugmug does not yet have a field that I know of that would register that metadata item, although I see it in your Wrangler as an item that can be included, or removed, on exporting or publishing images, such as I do with SmugMug. I wish they did, and that it could be something that could be adjusted within SmugMug, since that would allow an Assistant, or an interested family member with edit powers to change the rating, and consequently move the image to a higher or lower rated collection.

Until that happens, I’m trying to develop a work-around. One possibility is to put the Rating at the beginning of the Caption, and then set the gallery to sort by caption. That would at least put the best pictures first.

Automating this could be done with a plugin which would grab the rating in LR (if there is one) and put it at the beginning of the Caption as part of a Publish process. Even better would be putting the filename as the second item (which would, within each rating category) order the images chronologically (I and many others use a file naming pattern of YYYYMMDD-nnnn (where nnnn is the number assigned by the camera sequentially). Alternatively, the time and date taken could be grabbed from EXIF and added as the second item in the Caption. Any info in the Caption field in LR would be the third item published in LR in the Caption field.

Skip – Athertyn at Haverford Reserve, Haverford Pennsylvania

You can do exactly what you want with the caption by using the template tokens that my plugins support. You’d probably want something along the lines of {Rating} {Filename} {Caption} —Jeffrey

— comment by Henry Decheert on September 25th, 2013 at 12:34pm JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,
I love your plugin Folder Watch! I use LR not only for work but also private.
Since my daughter takes photos with my iphone I am so happy that LR automatically add her new pictures to the catalogue. I select pictures from there for the homepage I have created for my family far away. My mother can see how her love grows up. You saved me a lot of time, which I lost by adding new pictures every day.
This saved time I can spend with my daughter.
Thank you very much!

— comment by Cailean on September 26th, 2013 at 6:58pm JST (10 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, I forgot to mention where I was from! I’m from Northern California, a few hours from the Oregon border.

Thank you for the response to my question about the CC, I was simply wondering your opinion because you are aware of the CC and use lightroom.
I wasn’t really thinking of any particular demographic as a source of opinion, but you being quite involved with LR and followed by quite a few people who could be affected by the CC introduction made me think you might have an opinion.

Anyway, that’s too bad the plugin has to be rewritten to cope with the CC issue, I hope it isn’t too much trouble for you!


— comment by Andrew on October 5th, 2013 at 6:57pm JST (10 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Columbia, SC – Thanks for your help with the plugins. Will your plug-in allow for the auto-import of a networked folder via Lightroom 4 or 5? Also, DId i read correctly that your plugin will allow automated approach to Import, develop and export? As in export to a folder or another plugin? I want to import a networked folder, apply a user made preset and export onto the desktop. Thank you, sir.

Yes, you can do all that. The export would be via a publish service that you set up to automatically include the images imported by the plugin, and then you tell the plugin to publish that service upon each import iteration. —Jeffrey

— comment by Nicholas Blocker on January 15th, 2014 at 10:30pm JST (10 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Will your plugin monitor the Creative Cloud Folder?

Basically what I want is:
When I shoot out on location with my laptop and an eyefi card, eyefi drops my photos right onto the laptop. I have Lightroom monitor the eyefi directory and auto import the photos to a Creative Cloud folder using Creative Connect.

I would like my desktop Mac in my office to be monitoring Creative Cloud, and auto import files from Creative Cloud into my Lightroom Library. That way when I get back to the office I have all the files I worked on remotely already syncd to my desktop

does that make sense?

I don’t know what a “Creative Cloud” folder is, but if it’s a normal-looking folder on your drive, then my folder-watch plugin can watch it. I’m sure lots of people do what you’re describing with Dropbox, Copy, Google Drive, Box, or the like. —Jeffrey

— comment by Doug on January 23rd, 2014 at 4:29am JST (10 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink
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