Lightroom 1.3 & Export Plugins for SmugMug and Zenfolio

Adobe has just released Version 1.3 of its Lightroom photo-workflow software, two months after releasing Version 1.2. You can download the new version from Adobe's Lightroom Page, or use these direct links: Mac · Windows.

There's a ReadMe.pdf describing the release, and a much more detailed description by Victoria Bampton, but in short, it contains some small things:

  • Better OSX Leopard support
  • Bug fixes
  • Support for a few new cameras:
    Nikon D3 & D300
    Canon 1Ds Mark III & PowerShot G9
    Olympus E-3 & SP-560
    Panasonic DMC-L10
  • Added support for Fuji compressed RAF files and Canon sRAW files
  • You can now render 1:1 previews during import (yeah!)
  • New functionality for repairing corrupt catalogs

However, the big news for many will be support for export plugins.

Lightroom has always allowed you to “export” images to your local disk, creating new versions of your images (for example, reduced-size thumbnails for a blog). With export-plugin support, third-party developers can create plugins that do things with the generated images, such as upload them to a photo-sharing site.

For example, let's imagine that some brilliantly-genius (but incredibly-humble) programmer creates plugins to export and upload images to, oh, the Zenfolio and SmugMug photo-sharing sites, and you install those plugins on your Lightroom computer. When you bring up Lightroom's export dialog, you can then choose from among three options:

Lightroom 1.3 does not come with any plugins installed, so until you obtain and install a plugin (or write one yourself), your export dialog will have only the “Export Files to Disk” option.


To enable third-party developers to write plugins, Adobe has also just put out a “Lightroom Export SDK preview release” (get it here). “SDK” stands for Software Development Kit, and is a package of code and documentation to help programmers create export plugins.

The SDK is helpful to create plugins, but is not required to use plugins, so the SDK itself is not something that most Lightroom users would be interested in. However...

Export Plugin for Flickr

The SDK zip file also contains a sample “Export to Flickr” plugin, allowing users of Yahoo's Flickr photo-sharing site to easily send their images to their Flickr accounts.

If you're a Flickr user, you'll probably want to get the SDK zip just for the Flickr export plugin.

Adobe, Lightroom, and Me

I've been an enthusiastic user of Lightroom for a long time, and a volunteer tester of development releases since last December. I've written about Lightroom enough over the years that I have a whole category dedicated to Lightroom posts on my blog.

However, during this 1.2 → 1.3 cycle, I upgraded to consultant, doing some paid work on testing and debugging the export-plugin support.

Since I got to know the export-plugin programming interface fairly well, I put that to use and created export plugins for two photo-hosting sites popular with those looking for something a bit more polished than Flickr: Zenfolio and SmugMug.

Export Plugins for SmugMug and Zenfolio

First, here are links to the per-plugin pages, from which you can download them:

Installing a plugin involves unzipping a folder to a specific location on your machine, and the links above will have details once I'm allowed to provide the plugins.

You can install the plugin without having an account at the related service, but it won't let you do much until you get an account and log in via the plugin.

I do not really use any photo-sharing site, but I have liked the polished look of these two services whenever I have come across them in viewing others' photos, which is why I chose them. If you don't already use one for your photos, I suggest taking advantage of their free trials to see how you like them. I think both are excellent, yet they're quite different in their vibe, so try them both to see which one fits your style.

Since I created both plugins, and they both do pretty much the same thing (upload to a photo-hosting site), they look almost identical. The first time you select one, you're prompted for your login credentials:

(Update: since first writing this post, I've added Flickr and Picasa Web plugins...)

There's a lot more to these export dialogs, but most of it is disabled until you are authenticated to the photo-hosting service.

Once you log in, the export dialog then looks something like this:

An "Export to Zenfolio" export dialog in Adobe Lightroom

Several of the sections (“File Naming,” “File Settings,” and “Metadata”) are the same as the standard Lightroom export dialog, so to save space, I have those sections closed in the view presented above.

Export-Dialog Details

Once you log in, you're presented with buttons that bring you to your page at the photo-hosting service, and to log out.

Once I log in, I generally leave that section closed. Your username/password are saved in the Lightroom database, so be sure to [Logout] if you don't want them to be saved there.

“Image Settings”

The “image Settings” section of the dialog is the standard Lightroom one, except that the “resolution” option is removed, since that makes little sense in this context.

“Upload Destination”

The top of this section indicates what gallery the images should be uploaded to.

As a convenience, the plugin also provides a way to create galleries on the fly. After creating a gallery, it automatically becomes the default destination.

“Upload Management”

The upload-management section offers a number of options related to the upload...

Both plugins offer the “Visit destination gallery after upload” option, which brings up the destination gallery in your browser after an upload.

Both also offer the ability to automatically delete previously-uploaded versions of the same Lightroom photo (at least, those that had been uploaded with this plugin). Enable this option to affect a “replace” operation. However, if you're uploading several different copies of the same image (such as different sizes, or with different develop settings), leave this option off so that new ones won't delete the old ones.

The two collection-related options are available only for the Zenfolio plugin because SmugMug does not have a collection-like functionality. These options allow you to keep a collection of all images you've exported from Lightroom, as well as a “most recent export” collection. I'm not sure how useful these will be in practice, but they were easy enough to add, so I did.

“Export Plugin Info”

This section offers basic info about the plugin: its version, a link to its home page, and a version-check option...

I expect a fair amount of version churn early on for a number of reasons...

  1. They have not yet been widely tested yet, since the Lightroom pre-release community is fairly small.
  2. They were written by someone who does not use any online photo-hosting service, so perhaps the guesses as to what would be useful and/or convenient are off the mark.
  3. These plugins are my first foray into Lua, a programming language that seems to me to be designed explicitly to create error-prone code, and I'm sure I've lived up to its full potential in that regard.

This section also contains a note about what metadata is sent with each picture over and above what might be included within the exported image itself. For SmugMug, that list is Caption, Keywords, and GPS Location/Altitude.

Colorspace Warning

Both SmugMug and Zenfolio convert non-sRGB images into sRGB for display, but it's probably best to export them as sRGB directly unless you have a specific reason for doing otherwise. Thus, if the color-space setting is not sRGB, a warning shows up in the upload-destination section:

Clicking on the [more info] button brings up a dialog in which you can turn off the warnings...

The [visit here] button takes you to my writeup on Digital-Image Color Spaces.

The Lightroom plugin support is just getting started, and is nowhere at all near the breadth and sophistication of Photoshop's, but it's a good start and I'm sure we'll see it expand greatly as new versions of Lightroom are released over the next few years.

The 30 most-recent comments (out of 56; see all), most recent last...

Is the a plug-in to export images from CS3-Bridge into Zenfolio?

— comment by Gerry on January 25th, 2008 at 11:02pm JST (16 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I get an error message “Win32 API…” when trying to upload images. Please help.

— comment by neil on February 1st, 2008 at 6:44am JST (16 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

after upgrading to the latest build (33) of the SmugMug uploader, I keep getting the following error.

I tried previous builds until it started working again at build 30. I can send additional information from the .log file if needed.

— comment by Glenn Higgs on February 1st, 2008 at 4:01pm JST (16 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

The error didn’t make it into my last post.
An internal error has occurred: [string “LrHttpDebug.lua”]:138: attempt to index local
,’ReturnHeaders’ (a nil value)

— comment by Glenn Higgs on February 1st, 2008 at 4:02pm JST (16 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

I can’t seem to get the plugin to work. Every time I can login fine, but it always says I have no galleries. It does create them though, I see them on the SM page. But they never show up in the plugin and therefore I can never click the Export button.

Any ideas?

— comment by Ryan Sommers on February 9th, 2008 at 9:33am JST (16 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I have the same issue as Ryan. I have galleries but the pugin doesn’t find them. Actually, more to the fact. It did, but something happened and how it does not anymore. Any ideas what has happened?


— comment by Matt B on February 12th, 2008 at 6:38am JST (16 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey,

Thanks for the efforts, but as with the last two comments, whereas 2 weeks ago I was able to successfully upload to SM via your LR plugin, now no existing galleries are being recognized as download destinations, and an error message indicates no gallery can be created after trying, even though one actually was created. But still no destination option means no ability to export with the export button unavailable to execute. I appreciate any feedback.

— comment by Randy S on February 19th, 2008 at 8:59am JST (16 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I have little experience with writing plug-ins, but I suppose I “could” try it, but I was interested in getting a plug-in to upload to facebook. Although I despise facebook, I have a lot of friends who use lightroom and would it awesome if they could upload there images directly from lightroom to facebook, let me know.


I haven’t heard too many requests for a Facebook plugin (yours is the first), so I’m not inclined to drip everything for it :-), but I’m working on refactoring my plugins to make it easier for me to add new plugins and new features, so ping me again in a few months to see how that’s come…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Chris on February 24th, 2008 at 11:45am JST (16 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I’d download a Facebook plugin. 🙂

— comment by Duncan Babbage on March 6th, 2008 at 5:07pm JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Yes, same for me, it will be very valuable to have a facebook plugins (and a myspace one perhaps ?). Thank you for your greats plugins ! 🙂

— comment by Chris CB on March 9th, 2008 at 2:37am JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I’d love to find a Facebook plug-in, too! You do great work, thanks!

— comment by Dustin on March 13th, 2008 at 1:43am JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

me too. that would be great. I love your lightroom plugin

— comment by Joe on March 14th, 2008 at 1:06am JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Tried it and love it! I appreciate your effort.

and yes, pelase add facebook plug in 😀

— comment by Ray on March 21st, 2008 at 4:25pm JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

use bother the smugmug and flicker plugins extensively and they’re AWESOME!
a facebook plugin would rock.. drip everything for it 🙂

also what might be good is a Menalto Gallery plugin

— comment by sastian on March 21st, 2008 at 4:43pm JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

It would be awesome to have a facebook plugin it would save me a ton of time. I noticed iphoto has a facebook export option that works really well.

— comment by Josh on March 24th, 2008 at 2:43am JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve found what seems to be a major bug in the Lightroom SmugMug Export plugin. I can consistently reproduce the problem. Please email me if you know of a resolution to this issue.

Steps to create the problem:
1. Upload Image-1.jpg to Gallery1.
2. Upload the same image with a different name, let’s say Image-2.jpg to Gallery2.
3. Go back to Gallery 1 and notice that Image-1.jpg is now gone.
4. Then go to back to Gallery 2 and verify the new image is still there.

I tried repro’ing the issue using SmugMug’s MacUploader, but it works fine. Please advise.


(It turns out that Jacob had the “delete previously-uploaded versions of this image” option turned on. —Jeffrey)

— comment by Jacob on March 26th, 2008 at 11:53am JST (16 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

i’d love a facebook plugin too!

— comment by edgar on April 5th, 2008 at 9:07pm JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hey… How’s that Facebook plugin coming???
Haha – giving you a hard time. A Facebook plugin would make things so much easier.

I started using Flickr again after a couple years just because of your plugin! No more extra jpegs floating around in a folder on my desktop. And it is just so much easier to control.
I’m really appreciative of the effort you put forth to get these plugins out. You have reshaped the entire picture sharing community.

— comment by William Bay on April 6th, 2008 at 12:49am JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi. A Facebook plugin would be great please. Am searching the web for one now which is how I ended up here.

Yeah, I’ll probably be adding Facebook, and others, once 2.0 comes out. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jonathan on April 9th, 2008 at 8:20am JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Another vote for a Facebook plugin, love your Flickr and Picasa plugins, so comprehensive,
thanks for your great work, Billy

— comment by Billy on April 14th, 2008 at 7:01am JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Facebook plugin would rock!

— comment by Tom on April 17th, 2008 at 1:51am JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

+1 for Facebook plugin 🙂

— comment by Big Mike on April 18th, 2008 at 4:14pm JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Here’s another request for a Facebook plug-in. I’ll add that it’s not “just because it’d be cool” but a growing number of photographers are using Facebook in their marketing schemes. Oh, and their interface is generally a pain when uploading a bunch of images. I often end up exporting from lightroom and importing into iphoto. What a pain!

Anyway, Jeff – thanks so much for your work on these plug-ins in the first place. They’ve really enhanced the value of Lightroom for me.

Okidokie, I’m planning a Facebook plugin for when Lightroom 2.0 is released. —Jeffrey

— comment by Scott on April 22nd, 2008 at 9:48pm JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Man… FACEBOOK!! 🙂 That would absolutely rock.

— comment by jessie on April 28th, 2008 at 10:33am JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, I’m trying to decide between Smugmug and Flickr and have tried your plugin with both. I think it’s great. However, I’ve noticed that the Flickr uploader uploads the full keyword hierarchy while the Smugmub one only uploades the keyword leaves. Is this sonmething I’m doinh wrong. Thanks

— comment by Charles on April 28th, 2008 at 10:39pm JST (16 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

THANKS for picasa exporter!
it just made it possible for me to post pictures online. sometimes the threshold for not doing things is very low and exporting from lightroom without any intermediate steps make it possible for someone (me) who has another job.

it used to be an hassle to upload with the right tags (picasa can do it, bu you need to import your exports in picasa and use it to upload, and sometimes uploading via browser didn’t retain tags…)

priority for seting caption rocks!


— comment by davide on May 5th, 2008 at 9:19am JST (16 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink


I have been trying to use the SmugMug export in LR 4.4.1 on my Vista Home Premium pc, but I get an error msg every time.

“An internal error has occurred: WIN32 API error (unknown error – FormatMsgW failed) when calling HttpSendRequest from private – AgHttpClient_post_L”

Thanks, Russ

— comment by Russ MacDonald on June 9th, 2008 at 11:23pm JST (16 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

I am getting “INTERNAL PLUGIN ERROR” — Status #500. Is there a solution to this? The file is not large but is a PSD.


— comment by Ron Whitaker on July 4th, 2008 at 10:57am JST (16 years ago) comment permalink

Please ignore last comment – File is too big.


— comment by Ron Whitaker on July 4th, 2008 at 11:02am JST (16 years ago) comment permalink

Your work is excellent, do you plan a WebShots plugin anytime?

Have not heard of WebShots… I’ve updated my todo list to check into it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael on August 13th, 2009 at 2:38am JST (14 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
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