Last week I published an open letter to Adobe Lightroom written from the perspective of photographers that use the web gallery feature in Lightroom. It generated a decent amount of feedback both positive and negative. Many people told me that this couldn't be done and that Adobe would never offer something like this. Then I read a comment from a reader that was doing exactly what I wanted. Problem solved!
First let's have a quick recap of my problem, or opportunity, that I thought Adobe could address. After a photo shoot, I build web galleries in Adobe Lightroom and upload the gallery to my server and send a private link to the client. They go through the photos, then manually write down and e-mail me the photo numbers they would like me to retouch and deliver. This is the best Adobe Lightroom can offer for client interaction by using their web galleries. This was not an optimal scenario for me, or my clients, and I felt I was wasting time finding photos one by one from a list generated by my clients. The experience could be better on both ends. Yeah there are other options out there for web galleries but I don't want other options or web services to pay for. I want Adobe to tackle this issue and be on the forefront of awesome innovations.
One reader, Ben, kindly suggested that I try a plugin for Lightroom called TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery from The Turning Gate. This $25 plugin for Lightroom does (almost exactly) what I wanted it to do and it took me 30 minutes to set up. It's glorious and already saved my over an hour of time on the first job. I couldn't be happier with how much better the experience is for both my client and myself. I already got a note from an repeat client saying how much more enjoyable it was to peruse the new web gallery.
Solution via a Plugin
So this is basically how the plugin works:
1.) I build a web gallery exactly how I normally would using the Web Gallery feature in Adobe Lightroom but with the TTG CE3 option.
2.) I export the Lightroom Gallery.
3.) I upload the Lightroom Gallery to my server at Bluehost.
4.) I send the custom link to the client.
5.) The client has the option to check the photos they like, and filter the page by photos that they have checked.
6.) They have the option to write custom notes for photos on the website.
7.) Once they have checked all of the photos they approve, they fill out their Name, E-Mail, and any additional comments. Then they press send.
8.) I get an e-mail, which also copies them, with a list of the photos they like separated by commas.
9.) I copy this list of photo names and paste into the text feature of Lightroom.
10.) Lightroom searches and finds all of the photos in my list and presents them to me.
11.) I highlight all of the photos and create a "Selections" folder in my Lightroom catalogue.
What an amazingly simple, yet awesome plugin for Lightroom! Definitely worth the $25. I hope Adobe is listening and implements something like this in their future update. I would really like to say thanks to Ben, the reader that suggested I try this plugin. What an awesome constructive comment! Below is an example of the web gallery. Clients are able to check the top right box to indicate which they like, filter by photos they've selected, then easily submit their selection in an e-mail to me.
Here are the features via The Turning Gate website:
TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery facilitates communication between the photographer and client following a shoot. The photographer publishes a web photo gallery of images from the shoot, and the client marks images as selects by ticking a checkbox for each image to be kept. Selected images are then submitted to the photographer's email address as a comma-separated list, which may be copy-and-pasted into Lightroom's filters to quickly isolate images in the catalog for processing.
Optionally, the gallery also allows the photographer to display image EXIF and IPTC metadata, and allows the client to rate images, specify a number of custom options (such as output or delivery parameters), and leave comments for images, all of which are included in the email to the photographer.
Our latest CE3 iteration of the plugin brings many refinements and improvements, making this the definitive version of the Client Response Gallery.
- Allow clients to easily make image selects online.
- Quickly and easily process the clients selects by copy-and-pasting from email into Lightroom's Library filters.
- Accept additional client feedback, including ratings, custom options and comments.
- Allow clients to enlarge multiple images for side-by-side comparison.
- Responsive galleries scale to fit devices of any size, providing fantastic viewing for desktop and laptop displays, tablets and mobile phones.
- Fully customize your gallery’s branding and colors, page layout and gallery behavior.
- Easily create and manage galleries using Lightroom’s Publish Services and our TTG CE3 Publisher plugin (sold separately).
- Create galleries using traditionally framed thumbnails, large iconic thumbnails, or the new masonry-style layout.
- Galleries make intelligent use of your content for fantastic, honest search engine optimization (SEO).
- Social networking features include dedicated links for your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter profiles, and Open Graph Protocol implementation so that Facebook and Twitter will recognize your pages when shared.
- Password protect your image galleries.
- Integrate your galleries with Google Maps and Google Analytics.
- No Flash!
- Optionally, allow images to be downloaded, display color labels, utilize image permalinks, and more ...
System & Hosting Requirements
TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery runs in Lightroom's Web module, and requires Lightroom 3 or newer; this is not standalone software. Exported galleries should be published to the Web, requiring a domain and web hosting. Some features require a web server running PHP 5.2.6 or newer.