During the past few weeks I worked with Paul Kamphuis of pact software, to beta-test his PhotoShelter Publish Service for Adobe Lightroom. This Publish Service does the same as the exporter he released earlier, but in a much more integrated and user-friendly manner and with a lot more functionality. Here are my thoughts on the Adobe Lightroom Publisher …
After you download and install the Publish Service in Adobe Lightroom, you will have to configure it to your liking:
The configuration screen gives me all the flexibility I need. Key settings for me are:
- Import folders
This parameter tells the Adobe Lightroom Publisher Service to use your current PhotoShelter archive folder structure to create corresponding collections sets and collections in Adobe Lightroom.
- Import images
Determines whether the collections are populated with images from PhotoShelter. It will not download or copy these images, but link them into the collection (standard Lightroom method). Once set, it searches for the images in the Lightroom catalog based on either the PhotoShelter ID (which is stored in Lightroom if you are migrating from the exporter from pact software) or the filename. I have always used the exporter and all my images had a PhotoShelter ID attached. As a result this process only took half a minute for 500 images. Paul told me that it will take longer if it has to match file names.
- On publish
Parameters to determine whether images need to be tagged and made searchable upon upload, and also whether ratings need to be exported from Lightroom.
- On re-publish
These parameters determine what happens when images are updated in Lightroom: always replace the entire image, always only replace IPTC or ask upon re-publish
- Link publisher to catalog
Determines if the PhotoShelter ID’s are stored with the images in your Lightroom catalog. You should select this if you want to simply keep track and want re-creation of the collection structure to be quicker next time you install. It is not a good idea to store it if you upload images multiple times.
- File settings
Sets the image quality and color space for images to be uploaded to PhotoShelter. I always use jpeg at highest quality and the largest color space possible. I live on a mountain and have limited bandwidth, so I will only deliver TIFF’s or other larger formats to customers on request.
Determines whether to include limited or all metadata with the image. I always include all, as I maintain all my metadata in Adobe Lightroom (most important: filename, headline, title, caption, keywords, copyright, contact info, GPS info and location info).
Collection sets and collections
The Publish Service will generate collection sets and collections and populate the collections with images once the settings are configured and saved:
The resulting hierarchy will match the hierarchy you have in PhotoShelter.
As of now you can delete, rename and create collection sets and collections (normal or smart) from within the Publish Service in Adobe Lightroom. These changes will automatically be replicated in PhotoShelter (deleting a collection needs a re-publish to confirm it). The only thing you can’t do at the moment is moving collections between collections sets.
I think it is smartest to maintain the hierarchy of collection sets and collections in the Publish Service as of now, because the hierarchy is automatically replicated to PhotoShelter. You could maintain the folder structure in PhotoShelter itself directly. This would however mean that you would have to delete and re-create the Publish Service afterwards (and re-generate the hierarchy).
Publishing and re-publishing images
New images can be uploaded to PhotoShelter by dragging them from the catalog to a normal collection in the Publish Service. Hitting “Publish” will start the actual upload. As of now the Publish Service will keep an eye on the image as far as IPTC changes are concerned. Both changing IPTC (for instance adding a keyword) and changing the image processing (for instance increasing exposure) will automatically mark the image for re-publish.
Selecting a PhotoShelter archive collection and looking at it in grid view, will show which images are marked for republish:
When you select a collection set or collection and hit publish, all images marked for re-publish will be updated according to the re-publish parameter in the settings of the Publish Service (replace, replace IPTS only or ask). In addition new images will be added.
In addition to the above, the Adobe Lightroom Publisher also offers the the possibility to download IPTC from PhotoShelter (for those who didn’t maintain metadata in Adobe Lightroom until now) and to click on the image in Adobe Lightroom and automatically open the archive in PhotoShelter in your browser.
The Photoshelter Publish Service for Lightroom from pact software is a great step forward from the existing Photoshelter upload and exporter tools. I am very sure it will make the maintenance of what I have on PhotoShelter much more efficient.
What I really like is that I can manage the archive hierarchy and its content in Adobe Lightroom itself, synchronize the hierarchy with PhotoShelter and let multiple image uploads run unattended right from Adobe Lightroom (the normal exporter always crashed when I tried that). Furthermore, the configuration screen of the Publish service gives me a lot of flexibility in setting it up.
There is still room for improvement, but at the moment limitations in both the PhotoShelter API and Adobe Lightroom itself do not allow that. Things I would like to see in a next version would be:
- Ability to relocate collections from one collection set to another just by dragging them to the new location in the Publish service.
- Automatic deletion of folders: deleting a folder requires a publish at the moment. Adding and renaming doesn’t, which is not consistent and logical.
- Bi-directional synchronization: changes in PhotoShelter (deleting, renaming, moving and adding folders or images) will not be picked up by the Adobe Lightroom Publisher without deleting the Publish Service and re-creating it.
All props to Paul Kamphuis of pact software for creating the PhotoShelter Publish Service for Lightroom. He does this for free, so make sure to thank him (and motivate him to continue improving the Publish service) by donating a small amount. I am 200% sure that you will earn back whatever you donate within no time, because of the time you will save in maintaining your PhotoShelter archive!