Lightroom does some things really well, but one area I always wished I had more control over was web culling. After some investigation, here's the best method I've found for efficiently sending out photos for clients to peruse and select.
A few years ago, when I was in music school, I used to shoot photos whenever I went to a recital just for my own memories and to share with friends. Eventually, my school contacted me because they wanted to purchase some of the photos to use in publications and promotional materials. At the time, Lightroom had no web-based capabilities, so I just exported web-sized versions of a few thousand photos and put them in a giant Flickr album for the school to choose from. Their response was something like this:
Hi, Alex! We would like to purchase the following images: 67, 189, 4012, 678, 1983...
I then had to go back and hand-match these numbers to the corresponding files. I didn't want to give up using Lightroom as my catalog, but this was tedious and seemed entirely unnecessary. Then, with the dawn of web albums, I found the best solution thus far.
(Note: you need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber to use this method.)
1. Create an email address for clients to use as a login. It looks more professional to use an email address associated with you personally; for example, I used my domain name and created a dummy email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Create a free Adobe ID with the email address. Be sure to change the password for each new client.
3. Create a new collection with the selected photos and be sure that the collection is synced to Lightroom Mobile.
4. Right-click on the collection in the left sidebar and select "Make Collection Public." I've never seen my collections indexed in search engines; so, this appears to operate much like an unlisted YouTube video, but nonetheless, if you're working with sensitive material, you might want to reconsider this method.
5. Right-click on the collection in the left sidebar and select "Copy Public Link." This is the link you'll be sending to the client.
6. Send the client this link with the login information for the guest account you created.
7. When the client clicks on the link and logs in, they'll be presented with this view:
8. From there, the client can click on any image and use the "heart" icon in the bottom left corner to mark the image as one they would like.
9. Once they're done this, you'll see a small comment icon over the image while in grid view in the Library module.
10. Now, make sure the bottom toolbar is showing, then use the sort options to select "Last Comment Time." This will place any image that the client liked or commented on first in the order.
11. All you have to do now is find the spot where the comment icons stop; every image before this point is an image the client selected.
12. Be sure to change the password for the account for each new client.
How This Could Be Improved
I really wish Adobe offered the option to create smart collections based on whether an image had likes or comments or not, which would automate the last three steps of this process. If this is implemented in the future, I'll be sure to update this article to make this process even easier.