Are Your Lightroom Exports Blurry? (Here’s What To Do)


Are You Lightroom Exports Blurry 28092020

When you want to share a photo with someone, be it a friends, family, or a client image, you will at some point need to export an image out of Lightroom.

If your lightroom exports are blurry The first thing to do is to check the settings on export. If a photo is sharp in Lightroom and blurry out of Lightroom it is most likely that the problem is with the export settings, making the exported file too large or too small and hence blurry when viewed out of Lightroom. I export images from Lightroom for issue to clients with the following settings.

  • Image Format – JPEG
  • Quality – 92
  • Colour Space – SRGB
  • Limit File Size to 5k

I do not change anything else and I have never had a problem with images exported from Lightroom being blurry.

That is the quick answer – if you are happy with this then great, but if you want to know more please read on – there is more good stuff in this post I promise you.

There are also other settings that affect the sharpness of an image, but this is the main cause.

And as with all my blog posts I will not go into irrelevant detail – I will tell you what you and I need to know and know more.

Who am I?

I am an architectural and construction photographer. I have been using Lightroom since it was first launched in 2007 with version 1.0. So I have been with Lightroom from the very beginning.

And I use Lightroom all the time. YES ALL THE TIME!!

All my photos are in a single Lightroom Catalogue. I import my photos into Lightroom where I edit them. Once edited I export photos out of Lightroom for issue to clients.

The original edited files remain in Lightroom.

Why do I export photos out of Lightroom?

I take photos using the RAW file format. If I issue these files to clients they will not be able open them unless they have specialist software. So I export photos out of Lightroom converting them to the universal JPEG file format.

How do I export out of Lightroom without losing quality?

There are various settings that you can change in Lightroom. As I said before, these are the settings that I use to export images without losing quality.

  • Image Format – JPEG
  • Quality – 92
  • Colour Space – SRGB
  • Limit File Size to 5k

Image Format

JPEG is a universal file format that anyone with a device can read without additional software. JPEG files are also smaller than RAW files so take up less bandwidth and hard drive space.

Quality – 92

This is the one that can cause problems. The higher the quality you export at the sharper the image will be. Try this out for yourself. Export an image out of Lightroom at 25%, 50%, 75%, 92% and 100%.

And also check out the file sizes.

You will find that you cannot visually tell the difference between 100% and 92%, but look at the file sizes. And the lower the quality the worse the images look.

Colour Space

I use SRGB as my default colour space. Why? I was recommended to years ago by someone who knows more than I do, and all is fine. I do not really know why and am fine with this!

File Size

I limit the file size to 5k. I do not really want files bigger than that to issue to clients. Normally images exported at 92% are fine – I just want to know if I have a file larger than 5K so I can do something about it.

And the other export settings?

I don’t change anything else for issue to clients.

I have a number of export presets which I have made. These export settings are specific to the intended use of images.

The main variables are image size and quality.

Settings for photos for my blog

  • Image Format – JPEG
  • Quality – 50
  • Colour Space – SRGB
  • Limit File Size to 100k

I also change the image size, making the long edge 900 pixels.

Why do I do this? I don’t want massive files on my website clogging up the internet I want images that are sharp but load quickly. Large files will slow down my website and Google will quite rightly punish me for this.

Why 900 pixels?

900 pixels is a reasonable number for the standard PC monitor. 900, 1000 – either is fine.

A word on image viewers

Some image viewers might make images look blurry after exporting them from Lightroom due to them being poorly written. This problem is nothing to do with the file, just the way that the viewer was created. Answer to this problem is to ditch that viewer straight away!

And to check this just open an exported photo in Explorer or Finder and the default photos Apps should show you if the image is sharp or not.

Keep it simple

I do not use any other photo viewer outside of Lightroom other than Microsoft Photos. I don’t need another way to view photos. It is always better to keep things simple!

Does this affect my architectural and construction photography?

No. I have had this nailed down for years. One thing I do want to say though is this. I issue my clients with a low resolution set of images. I use another Lightroom Export preset – For Email (Hard Drive). This creates a super small file which is still pretty sharp.

Trust Lightroom

Lightroom presets are pretty solid and should always give you really sharp images.

Other things that can make a photo blurry

There are a couple of settings in Lightroom that affect the sharpness of an image, but you should be able to see this in Lightroom.

Detail slider – I tend to use 50-75 for the detail slider.

Noise Reduction – I don’t use this as I take all my photos at the lowest ISO possible so noise is not an issue to me. But if you do use noise reduction in Lightroom just be careful and check what is happening at 100% magnification.

Lots of other settings can affect image sharpness but you will see this as you move the sliders.

How to check for sharpness

View images in Lightroom at 100% (1:1) to see if they are sharp or blurry. Zoom in, scroll around see what you can see. If the captured image is blurry there is not much you can do.

Getting sharp photos

I wrote a blog post which is relevant to the bit before exporting out of Lightroom – 11 easy steps to sharper photos on Canon 6D. Yes we all need to take sharp photos in the first place.

Anything else?

I hope that you have found this post helpful and informative. If you are thinking of getting Lightroom please consider using my affiliate link – you don’t pay any more, but I do get a small commission. Put it another way Adobe make slightly less which I am sure they can afford.

Related reading?

If you head on over to my website and select the category Lightroom, Photoshop and Luminar And you will find all my blog posts relating to Lightroom and image processing.

That’s all folks

Thanks for reading this post – please subscribe to my blog if you want to be notified of new blog posts.

Rick McEvoy Photography

#lightroom #lightroomexportblurry #lightroomexport

Rick McEvoy

I am Rick McEvoy, an architectural and construction photographer living and working in the South of England. I create high quality architectural photography and construction photography imagery of the built environment for architects and commercial clients. I do not photograph weddings, families, small people or pets - anything that is alive, moves or might not do as I ask!! I am also the creator of the Photography Explained Podcast, available on all major podcast providers. I have a blog on my website where I write about my work and photography stuff. Rick McEvoy ABIPP, MCIOB

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