Printing from Lightroom to a print lab came up last week when I reviewed the 69-photo collage that Mpix printed for me.

Because I don’t plan on making a scrapbook that covers the last year, I decided to print my favorite photos and highlights from the year on this huge Mpix collage.

The thing about printing at professional print labs is that most of them don’t have a Lightroom plugin. Which means that, for each and every photo you want to print,  you need to export it out of Lightroom to a new file and them upload those files to your lab. That can be a time consuming process, unless you know these tips for streamlining your export.

The last scrapbook I made was in September of last year. So, I wanted my collage to cover the highlights of our life between October 2015 and July 2016. I took 7500 photos during those 10 months. That’s a lot of photos to sort through and export for printing.

Here’s the best way I’ve found of printing from Lightroom to print labs. Watch this video tutorial or read it below.

Printing from Lightroom to Print Labs: Organization

  • First, type G to go to Lightroom’s grid view and display the filter bar at the top of the Grid. The key displays the filter bar if it’s hidden.
  • Think about which months, filenames or keywords cover the photos that you’d like to print.
  • Select Metadata or Text from the Filter Bar and then use the best filter option for your file structure. You can filter for photo dates, keywords, or any text (I like this last one because it covers file names and keywords).
  • If you use flags or stars or colors to indicate your favorite photo, filter for your best as well. That will narrow down your choices.


Printing from Lightroom to Print Labs: Filtering

  • For the first photo in this filtered grid that you’d like to print, create a new keyword. Something like “Print Lab Export + Date”.
  • Apply this keyword to each photo that you will print.
  • Repeat the filtering process using the Metadata filter to filter out your new keyword.


Printing from Lightroom to Print Labs: Export & Upload

  • Select all photos (command/control A) and export them to a new folder. These are the settings I use to ensure that the files are the highest quality and will produce the largest possible prints:Print Lab Printing from Lightroom: Export Settings
  • Note that I don’t need to change the resolution because I am not changing the size of the photo. I only use the resolution field if I want to export a file at 72 ppi for internet use. Read this article if you’d like more information.
  • Next, upload your photos from the new folder to your print lab.
  • No need to save this new folder unless you will use it for other purposes. Simply delete it after the upload is complete. If your export settings are configured so that exports are included in the Lightroom catalog, make sure to delete them from within Lightroom. Otherwise, you’ll get the dreaded gray question mark. The circled setting in the screenshot below controls whether your exports appear in your catalog or not.Image showing export settings for printing from Lightroom to print labs.

So now all you need to do is wait for your prints to return from the print lab.

I know there are a million other ways to manage the process of printing from Lightroom to print labs. What do you do? Can you speed me up?