Starting with Lightroom 4, you can email photos directly from Lightroom rather than having to export jpegs to your hard drive, and then outside of Lightroom, attach them to your email. It has some limitations that I’ll discuss, but I find that it often saves me a lot of time.
Select one or more photos that you want to email, from the filmstrip in any module in Lightroom or from the grid in the Library module, then right-click inside one of the selected photos and choose Email Photos. Lightroom can use the email program (“client”) on your computer, such as Outlook or Mac Mail, or any web email service, such as Gmail or AOL. You will choose one or the other in the From: dropdown in the Email dialog that opens.
Emailing Using An Email Program/Client on Your Computer
Your email program (if you have one) should be one of the choices in the From: dropdown in the Email dialog (I have Outlook). Once you choose this, your dialog should look like mine here:
You can type in one or more addresses in the To: field, add cc’s and bcc’s by clicking on the buttons in the top right to reveal those boxes, and you can click on Address to add addresses to Lightroom’s address book. Next, you would type in a Subject, and choose one of the photo size Presets from the dropdown in the bottom left.
With an email program/client, after hitting Send, your email does not yet get sent — Lightroom simply opens up a new Outlook/Mac Mail/etc email, with the To and Subject information populated, and the photos attached. At this point you could type in a full message, and then send the email.
Their are two major limitations to this functionality, when using an Email program/client:
1. In Lightroom 4, your sent email does not show up in your Outlook or other Sent Mail folder. (This was fixed in Lightroom 5.) If you are still using Lightroom 4 and if having documentation of the email is important to you, be sure to copy yourself on the email.
2. You do not have access to your Outlook or other address book. This can be worked around as well — simply leave the To: field in Lightroom’s email dialog blank. Once you hit Send and Outlook or other program opens up a new email, you can access your address book to fill out the To: field there.
Setting Up a Web Email Service
If you don’t have an email program/client, or prefer to send your email through a web service, once you select your photos, right-click inside one of them and choose Email Photos, in the From: dropdown (Figure 1 above), choose Go to Email Account Manager.
Click on Add in the bottom left, and in the New Account dialog box that appears, type in an Account Name (just for your reference inside of Lightroom), and choose your service provide from the drop down. Hit OK in the small New Account dialog box.
If you have one of the four web services listed (AOL, Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo Mail), Lightroom will (thankfully!) fill in the Outgoing Server Settings. If you have a different service, you will need to contact them to find out how to fill out these settings.
Next, fill out your email login information in the Credential Setting sections, and then click on Validate. Lightroom will log in to verify that the settings are correct. Assuming they are, and your account shows as validated in the left column, click Done.
Now that your account is set up, it will always appear in the From: dropdown. With a web service, as discussed above with an email client, you can type in the To:, Subject, Cc‘s and Bcc‘s if you need them, build a Lightroom Address book, and choose the photo size by clicking on the Preset dropdown:
Notice that with a web service, you type your complete message here in the Lightroom email dialog, and you have formatting options such as font and size, available. You also have the option to include caption metadata — if you have entered a caption for your photo in the Metadata panel in the Library module (bottom right), in your email it will appear below each photo.
Unlike with an email client, with a web service when you hit Send, your email is truly sent. Also unlike with an email client, your sent message should in fact appear in your Sent Mail folder.
There are two major limitations to sending email directly from Lightroom with a web service:
1. You do not have access to your email service address book. The only way around it is to open up a new web service email in your internet browser, add the addresses in the To: field using its address book, and then copy and paste the addresses over into the Lightroom email. (Thanks to JB for this suggestion).
2. Your photos are embedded in the emails you send rather than included as attachments. This makes it much more difficult for recipients to save the photos, rather than just view them from within the email.
If and when these limitations matter to you, then continue to do as you did in Lightroom 3 — export jpegs, and attach them to your emails outside of Lightroom.
More Control Over Settings
For more control over file renaming, photo size, metadata, watermarking, etc., instead of right-clicking and choosing Email Photo, go directly to Lightroom’s Export dialog (right-click and choose Export > Export …, or click on the Export button in the Library module. Lightroom 4 has a new option in the top-center dropdown — Email:
You can then set most of the typical export settings as you choose. (Note that you can only directly email jpegs.) After setting the settings, you can save as a new preset so that it will appear in the email Preset dropdown from now on. (More on creating Export presets in an upcoming post). To send the photos, click on the Export button, and the Email dialog will appear.