A friend of mine reached out to me a few days ago. She wanted to know the proper way to export a photograph from Lightroom. I was a little shocked she was asking that question, since she’s an experienced photographer, but I walked her through it none-the-less.
One of the things I told her was to export the photograph at 60% quality, so it can take up less space on her hard drive, bu also because 100% might make your photograph look overly sharp. This was a tip I had heard from a YouTuber a few years back. I then told her to choose JPEG of course and explained to her how a TIFF could also be beneficial for future projects. She thanked me, we hung up the phone and then I forgot about the whole ordeal.
For a day or two, I didn’t think about this advice, but yesterday I got to thinking, why can’t we do a 100% quality. We live in a world where 4TB hard drives are $100, why am I worried about hard drive space?
So I did some research and what I found was that most YouTubers are now saying export at 100 quality, as you want your photograph to reach it’s full potential. That made sense to me, I’m paying all this money for a camera, why would I only export it at 60% of it’s quality.At this point I deiced to stop listening to YouTubers and try this out for myself. Here are the results of a 60 quality images (left) vs a 100 quality image.
Notice any difference? Neither do I. It’s probably because we’re viewing the images on a smaller scale, but imagine this blown up, on a billboard or a even a huge print… Would you want your image at 60% quality? I know to some photographers this may seem like a no-brainier, but my friend had no idea how to do this and for 3 years even I myself have been doing it wrong.
For those wondering about the hard drive space, yes the 100 quality image is a larger file, taking up 13.3mb, while the 60 quality images comes in at 1.1mb. Not much when using a 4TB hard drive, but a 10x+ multiplier does make a difference. If you’re confused or unsure how to properly export a photograph at full quality than check the screenshot down below.
I’m working on my first printed project, so I think I’m going to go back and re-export all of my photographs… Now I just need to read a tutorial on how to properly store images in Lightroom. If you want to help support my zine, Center of Attention then be sure to check the link here.