Launchbar + Lightroom = Speedy Import

Application launchers have been around for some time now. As the number of applications grew and we collected more and more specialized programs it became tiresome to wander through a long list to find the application we wanted. On the Mac side of the world, Quicksilver was one of the earlier and more powerful launchers.

Currently the two main Mac application launchers are Alfred and Launchbar. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I have used both for a while and have decided I prefer Launchbar. With the release of version 6, Launchbar has gained many new features and stability. On the Windows side of the world the two most cited launchers are Launchy and Executor. I'm not sure if they can do what I am about to show you since I don't use Windows all that often anymore. If you are a Windows user and use one of these, please let us know in the comments if this is possible. Thanks!

Regular readers of Lightroom Secrets will know that I am a big advocate of using keyboard shortcuts wherever I can. It speeds up my workflow and cuts down on the tedious dance of keyboard to mouse to keyboard to mouse to… Now don't be fooled by the categorization of these utilities as Application Launchers. They do much much more.

In this example I want to show you a Launchbar feature called Instant Send. Instant send is a way to take selected items (files, folders, text, etc.) and hand them off to other applications. Lightroom is an application and Launchbar can hand files to it. Here's how…

Select the files you want to import into Lightroom.

Activate instant send with the keystrokes you've chosen in the Launchbar preferences. I use a double tap on my Control key. The Launchbar HUD (Heads Up Display) will appear and tell you how many items are ready to be sent. It will also show you a yellow icon with an arrow and vertical bar. This lets you know you are ready to choose the receiving application. To choose it press the Tab key.

Next type the abbreviation you use to launch Lightroom and it will be at the top of your list. Launchbar will learn what you use to launch Lightroom after a few times.

Once you press Enter, Lightroom will open and the Import Dialog will appear showing all of the images you selected, ready for import! If you only chose some of the images then only those will be checked. The remaining images in the folder will be unchecked. From here you make your usual Lightroom import choices and you are done!

If you have Lightroom set up to ask you which Catalog to open it will still do that and then continue on to the Import Dialog once you select a Catalog.

This is one example of using Launchbar to get images into Lightroom. I find it convenient when I have a few images files I need to throw into a Catalog and Lightroom isn't running. I could, of course, drag and drop them on the Lightroom icon in the dock but that would require me to leave the keyboard and go to my mouse and back to the keyboard and… well, you get the idea.

A single license for Launchbar costs $29.00 ($19.00 to upgrade from version 5). It is a free upgrade if you bought version 5 on or after March 24, 2014. If you think that is too expensive, don't despair. You can download and use Launchbar for FREE. After 30 days it will gently ask you to buy a license now and again but none of the features will be disabled! That's a sweet deal. But I do encourage you to buy a license since the developer needs to eat and we all would like to see version 7 and beyond.

Give this a try and see if it fits into your Lightroom workflow. It will save you time!

Get Your Site Running with CE4 and Lightroom

For many years now Lightroom has made it possible for you to create websites to showcase your images. The Web Module is an often overlooked part of the Lightroom experience. This may be so for any number of reasons. 

The heavy hitting modules ( Library Module  and Develop Module ) are where most photographers spend their time. The Web Module itself has always had more promise than delivery. Or, perhaps, users couldn't invest the time to learn how to manipulate the default Web Module assets. Whatever the cause, it has spawned more than a few third party plugins for Lightroom to make the Web Module easier to use.

Matthew Campagna, and the good folks at the Turning Gate, offer one of the best Web Module additions available. Core Elements version 4 (CE4) is now available and Matt was kind enough to send me a copy to play with.

The basics remain the same from CE3. You can get an idea of this from my previous article TTG CE3 Is Out Into The World. CE4 brings new power, flexibility, and nuance to the process.

There is ample documantation available on the Turning Gate site. Having already installed CE3 I tried my hand at the upgrade process. It was well documentated and easy to do! What's more, CE3 and CE4 play nicely together. I was able to install the CE4 components and publish a gallery in a very short time. That CE4 gallery was picked up by my existing CE3 generated site with absolutely zero friction or effort. Very nice!

And my site was already set up with a responsive design and worked well when viewed on my iPad and iPhone!

One word of caution; you will need some basics FTP skills to get everything installed. However, the documentation is very thorough and will walk you through step-by-step. But, there is some assembly required.

CE4 is extremely customizable. You can change colors, fonts, layouts, behaviors, and on an on. Responsive design is built in so your content will look great an any device with zero intervention on your part.

Support for all major social networks is included and easily added to your site.

CE4 allows you to keep your entire workflow within Lightroom. Galleries are easily added. There's no need to export images and go into another application to create your website. All of CE4's sites are search engine optimized as well.

Even though creating a site using CE4 is easy, don't be fooled. There is a lot of power under the hood. If you are a photographer with some geeky super abilities you can access the advanced customization hooks like PHPlugins, the integrated grid framework, Font Awesome icon support, and much more!

Every site is standards compliant using HTML5, CSS3, and jQuery. That means your site will work on pretty much every device and in any modern browser.

The Turning Gate has an active support community and is committed to seeing you through to launching your site!

I heartily recommend TTG CE4 if you want to leverage the Web Module and keep your workflow in Lightroom.

Lightroom, Model Releases, and the Cloud

Several months ago I wrote about how you can use Evernote and Lightroom together. (see Remember Everything: Lightroom and Evernote) Here is another way you can make Lightroom and Evernote help you with your workflow. Let Evernote hold your model releases and let Lightroom keep track of where they are. 

Lightroom has quite a few metadata fields in which you can store important information. But your Lightroom Catalog cannot hold PDF or other document files. This leaves the photographer to come up with a system to store model releases and link them up with the images they pertain to. That's where Evernote comes in.

Evernote can generate a link directly to the model release you store there. I suggest you create a notebook called Model Releases in your Evernote account and upload the release files to that notebook.

Let's take a look at how to get the link via the browser version of Evernote. There are similar ways to do this from the native application as well.

Select the note that contains the release file and click the Share link in the upper right of the browser window. That will present you with a menu. Choose Link. Once you do that Evernote presents a dialog with your link URL.

Click the Copy to Clipboard button to put the link URL in your clipboard. Now switch to Lightroom.

You can paste this link into pretty much any metadata field that accepts text. However, I would suggest you change to the IPTC Extended fields and use the Model section. That way you develop a consistent place for these links.

You can paste the URL into the Release ID field. If you select all of the shots the release applies to before pasting the URL into the Release ID field, Lightroom will happily apply it to every image selected.

Now, whenever you need to access the model release for a shot you can use the link to your Evernote note safely stored in your Lightroom catalog!

Still not an Evernote user? No problem. Many other cloud services have a similar capability. Here is how you can do this using Dropbox.

Create a folder called Model Releases to hold your release files. Select the applicable file and click the Share Link button.

In the share dialog that is presented click the Get Link button.

Dropbox will copy the link URL and let you know with a message at the top of your browser. Now just follow the same steps to paste the link into your Lightroom Catalog.

If you use a different service check to see if it provides a way to capture a link back to your release file. Then you can store your model releases there and let Lightroom keep track of those links for you!