Resizing Images in Lightroom

One of the advantages of Lightroom's database system is that it simplifies the entire file management process, allowing you to eliminate many of the image resizing steps you have to perform in other applications. For example, let's say you want to make a 5 x 7 inch print of your favorite photo. In Photoshop, you'd have to resize the photo manually to the correct print dimensions and image resolution. Otherwise, you'd get either a poor quality print or an incorrectly sized print. In Lightroom, all you have to do is select the print size you want, tell Lightroom what image resolution you want to use for printing, and Lightroom does the rest. This works for both camera raw files and layered Photoshop document (PSD) files stored in your Lightroom database.

The only resizing decisions you face in Lightroom occur when you use the Export module to export a processed version of your raw file or an additional version of a processed photo. You'll use the Export module to create a version of your photo for an e-mail attachment, or when you want to make your 5 x 7 inch print at a photo lab instead of on your inkjet printer.

You can open the Export module one of four ways:

From the Library module, click the Export button on the bottom panel on the left side of the screen. From the File menu, click Export in any of the five Lightroom modules.

coNTROL-click (Mac) or right-click (Windows) any image thumbnail in the Filmstrip to activate the context menu, and then click Export.

Use the keyboard shortcut cmd-shift-e (Mac) or ctrl-shift-e (Windows).

Each of these options will bring you to Lightroom's Export module. At the end of this chapter, I'll provide an in-depth How To about using the Export module; for now, I'll concentrate on the image sizing options found in the module.

The Export dialog offers several Image Sizing options. Here you can adjust the resolution or image size of exported photos. This doesn't change the resolution of the original photo in the library—it changes the resolution or size of the exported version only. Lightroom always works from the full-resolution file in the library, allowing you to make smaller sized copies for export.

Whenever you adjust the image size or resolution of your photos, you're looking to accomplish one of two things:

■ Preserve the original image size of the photo, but change the image resolution. If you're submitting a photo for professional reproduction or printing, you'll often need to give designers the full-resolution file, but you'll adjust the image resolution for printing.

■ Change the image size and image resolution for a specific output condition. When you create an e-mail version of your photo to send to a friend, or you create an appropriately sized print file for your photo lab, you'll specify both the image size and the resolution.

To export the full resolution file while changing the image resolution, uncheck the Resize to Fit checkbox and enter your desired resolution in the Resolution field. Here you can specify whether you'd prefer the image resolution to be in pixels per inch or pixels per centimeter.

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