How to Post Photos to Instagram from Lightroom

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Lightroom and instagram

Instagram seems to be growing in popularity for photographers who want to share and promote their work. So, considering all the activity on the social networking site, wouldn’t it be great to upload photos to it directly from Lightroom? Up until recently you couldn’t – one of the quirks of Instagram is that you can only upload images from your mobile device.

Earlier in the year I showed you how to upload photos from Lightroom to Instagram using Lightroom mobile. But now there’s an even quicker way to do it. All you need is the LR/Instagram plug-in from Capture Monkey (who also brought us The Fader and Excessor plug-ins – more on those later).

Lightroom and instagram

The LR/Instagram plug-in is a free download (the author asks for a $10 donation if you like it, which I think is fair considering how useful it is). Once you’ve installed the plug-in it creates a permanent Published Collection to which you can add photos that you want to publish to Instagram.

What is a Published Collection?

If you’ve read my Mastering Lightroom books then you know that I’m a big fan of Collections. They let you organise your photos however you need to and access them from every Lightroom module.

Published Collections are similar to regular Collections, with these key differences.

1. Published Collections are for organising photos that you intend to export to a hard drive or publish to a photo sharing website or social network (such as 500px, Flickr, Facebook or Instagram).

They have other uses too – for example, the Photosmith iPad app uses Publish Collections to synchronise between your desktop and iPad.

2. Published Collections are dynamic. They let you know which photos have been changed after they have been published, and give you the opportunity to re-publish them. This helps you see at a glance whether you have published the most up to date version of a photo. Note that photos will be marked as updated if you change metadata as well as make any changes in the Develop module.

These are some of the Published Collections I have in Lightroom.

Lightroom and instagram

The LR/Instagram plug-in

Follow these steps to install and use the plug-in.

1. Install the LR/Instagram plug-in using the Plug-in Manager (go to File > Plug-in Manager and click Add). You can download the plug-in from this dedicated website.

The plug-in creates a new Publish Service called LR/Instagram and a Published Collection called Instagram photos.

2. Go to the Publish Service and click setup in order to enter the details of your Instagram account (you can create multiple Publish Services if you have more than one Instagram account).

3. Right-click on the Published Collection called Instagram photos and click Set as Target Collection. A plus sign appears next to the collection name to indicate that it’s now the Target Collection.

4. Select a photo to publish on Instagram. Go to the Metadata panel (it’s in the right-hand panels in the Library module) and add a caption. This will be used when you publish it to Instagram.

Lightroom and instagram

5. Scroll down to the bottom of the Metadata panel. You’ll see that the LR/Instagram plug-in has added a new panel. Enter your hashtags in the #Hashtag field.

Lightroom and instagram

Tip: Keep a text file with your most commonly used hashtags so you can save time by copying and pasting them. Evernote is perfect for this as you can synch it with your mobile device for when you send photos to Instagram using the mobile app.

6. Press B to send the photo to the Instagram photos Published Collection (which you earlier set as the Target Collection). Repeat with other photos if required.

7. Go to the Instagram photos Published Collection, which will look something like this.

Lightroom and instagram

Unpublished photos are displayed under the heading New Photos to Publish. Click the Publish button. Within 30 seconds or so Lightroom will send your photo to Instagram.

Lightroom and instagram

And that’s all there is to it! I’ve only just started using this plug-in but my first impressions are very favourable. It’s simple to use, easy to set up and (for me) works flawlessly. It simplifies the process of publishing photos to Instagram which will encourage me to use the social networking site much more.

Don’t forget you can follow my account on Instagram here.

Further reading

Learn more about using Lightroom plug-ins with these articles.

How to Use the Excessor Plug-In to Speed Up Your Lightroom Develop Preset Workflow

How to Add an Opacity Slider to Lightroom Develop Presets with The Fader Plug-In (the link takes you to an article I wrote for Digital Photography School)

Learn how to publish photos to Instagram using Lightroom and Lightroom mobile.

How to Post Photos to Instagram from Lightroom

Mastering Lightroom ebooks

Mastering Lightroom ebooks by Andrew S Gibson

My Mastering Lightroom ebooks show you how to get the most out of Lightroom. They cover the entire workflow process, including post-processing in the Develop module. Click the link to learn more.






P.S. Don't forget to check out the Ultimate Photography Bundle

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4 Responses to “How to Post Photos to Instagram from Lightroom”

  1. J. Ross says:

    Thank you very much for this informative explanation. I have a couple of questions…

    Does the plug in select the resolution for the published image automatically?

    If so, what is the resolution?

    If not, is there an easy way to set up a specified resolution and use it as a preset?

    Is there a way to edit a photo’s caption or hashtag from the desktop using the plug in.

    Slightly off topic…

    I am new to Instagram so I would like to know if there is an easy way to track likes, comments, etc. from the desktop. What, if anything do you use?

    I have an iPhone and Instagram does not respond to a pinch move to enlarge the photo – is that normal? Is there another way to do this?

    Thank you for your time and for sharing your knowledge.

    • Hi Jeff, here are the answers to your questions.

      The plug-in selects the resolution automatically. The website doesn’t specify the dimensions, but I imagine it must use the Instagram standard, which is 1080×1080 pixels for square images. There’s more information on Instagram image sizing here.

      The plug-in updates captions, and presumably updates hashtags as well (again, the website doesn’t specify).

      For tracking likes and comments you could try Websta ( or Hootsuite. I’m not into Instagram enough to bother.

      The inability to pinch and zoom in the app is normal.

  2. Alistair says:

    That Instagram app makes the process a whole lot easier, but the hashtags from the metadata didn’t appear to get transferred.

    If you republish a photo does it remove any previous comments from it? Cheers

    • Hi Alistair, the plug-in transferred the hashtags when I used it. According to the plug-in’s website republishing a photo doesn’t replace the photo itself (Instagram doesn’t allow that) but it does update the caption. It doesn’t say anything about comments, but it sounds like they would stay.

      If you can’t get the hashtags to work there’s contact info on the website. You could send them an email outlining the problem and maybe they can suggest a solution.

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