Presets – Lightroom iPad Export Settings

I was loading some photos on my iPad this past weekend, and it led me down the path of figuring out what the best Lightroom photo export settings are for it. After working with various settings for a while (and after taking the kids to see the Karate Kid movie) I realized a few things.
1) I got better results from saving images to exactly the size of the iPad’s screen rather than letting iPhoto or the iPad resize them. For example, I had sent an email to myself with the photo you see below. It was a hi-res version of the photo and when I saved it to the iPad it looked really bad on screen.
2) The new Karate Kid movie is nearly the same as the original one (still pretty good though and the kids liked it) :)
3) The iPad won’t automatically zoom an image to fit the screen. It’ll put a black box around the edges if the photo’s aspect ratio isn’t the same as the iPad’s screen size.

So I created two presets. One that preserves the photo’s original aspect ratio (iPad will automatically add a black box around edges) and one that fits the photo to the full iPad screen (by automatically doing a center-based crop in Lightroom when it exports).

Here’s an example of the difference between the two (click to see it larger):

These are a little different to install than your usual Develop presets:

1) Unzip the preset zip file on to your desktop
2) Go to the File > Export menu to open the Export dialog (NOTE: THESE ARE NOT DEVELOP PRESETS SO DON’T INSTALL THEM THERE!)
3) Go to the Presets panel on the left. Right click on the words User Presets and choose “Import“.
4) Select the .lrtemplate files you unzipped in Step 1 and click Import (NOTE: DO NOT IMPORT THE ZIP FILE)

• Click here to download the presets.

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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61 Comments

  1. Thanks Matt. This is really useful considering that the iPad is now the “new portfolio”.

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  2. Dont have my IPAD YET but for future exports !!! GRACIAS!!!!!

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  3. Thanks for this, appreciate you sharing them…

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  4. Great thing. I’ve already created these myself, but i’m sure this will help lots of others. And i can compare to see if I can catch something i’ve missed :-)

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  5. Hi Matt!

    Thanks for the presets! Haven’t my iPad yet, but in near future I can use this presets ;-)

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  6. You mentioned something there – a center-based crop – that I’ve always wished Lightroom could do but have never been able to work out. And sure enough, when I run your Full Screen preset it doesn’t work for me! The Dimensions resize for me does exactly the same as Width Height: it resizes to fit within the dimensions you specify but if necessary will leave gaps rather than cropping to fill.

    Any idea if this is a bug in Lightroom? It works that way in both LR2 and 3, both on Windows 7 64-bit.

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    • I have the same problem as Mark. I get the original aspect ratio of my camera whether I use the Full Screen or Preserve aspect ratio, not the iPad’s so I still get black bars top and bottom (landscape).

      Its a Canon 5D MkII with 1.5 aspect ratio so after using your preset I get 1024 x 683.

      Do you know how to get this to work full screen?

      Thanks!

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      • I have the same problem – also pictures from Canon 5dmk2 and Windows 7 64bit, Ligthroom 3.

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  7. I have two similar presets for exporting to my iPad, but I also have one other really useful one. I have one that exports at 2304×1536, which is the largest resolution for the iPad, photos larger will be downsized by iTunes to this size. The advantage to the higher resolution is that you can zoom in on these photos using the pinch-zoom and they still look great.

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    • Thanks Brett. I’ll have to look at it and maybe add another preset to the group.
      - Matt K

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    • Hi Brett,

      how do you scale you pictures that they fit these dimensions, irrespective if they were taken in landscape or portrait orientation or if they are squared?
      In fact I would like to have a preset that scales pictures to max. 1536 px on the shorter side and max. 2304 px on the longer side without changing the aspect ratio.

      Is that possible in LR or does it need a more fancy script in Photoshop?

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      • Ok, I found a solution: I created three presets out of Matt’s “iPad (preserve asepct ratio)” one:
        - one for landscape orientation with “Width x Height” set to 2304×1536
        - one for portrair orientation with “Width x Height” set to 1536×2304
        - one for squared pictures “Width x Height” set to 1536×1536

        Out of the pictures I want export I choose the repective pictures with the library filter “Aspect Ratio”. It’s a bit more work but that’s what I found out so far.

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      • These presets seem to totally miss the point and lead the reader to believe they are going to do soemthing that they will not.

        These presets will not do a “center based crop”. Lightroom doesn;t seem to do any croping on export at all. These presets will not resize your DSLR images to a 4:3 aspect ratio that fills the iPad screen.

        It’s interesting that Matt has replied to other comments in this thread, but not to these ones.

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      • Just as I thought …

        Using the AR preserving preset, Lightroom resizes landscape images to a resolution of 1024x*** (dependent on your source photo), but resizes the portrait pictures to a resolution of ***x768 (the first, again, dependent on the source photo, but always smaller than height).

        So, when viewing a portrait picture on your iPad _in portrait rotation_, you really only get 768 pixels of vertical resolution.

        On the other hand, I can’t even get Lightroom to resize pictures to 1024×768 using the “Full Screen” preset. The exported pictures are the same as the ones exported with AR preserving preset.

        My guess would be, though, that using the preset, changes the AR and does NOT crop the picture.

        I personally prefer just setting resizing the long edge of the picture to 1024px.
        I don’t like cropping images, the AR difference does not bother me. :)

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  8. Thanks Matt! I’m a LR newbie, can I delete the files on my desktop? Did the import copy them to the correct folder? I ran a Spotlight search and it only came up with the ones on the desktop…

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    • Hi Robin,
      you can delete them when you’ve added them to the iPad but the preset here just exports them to your desktop. It’s still up to you to get them over to the iPad.

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      • Sorry, Matt, I wasn’t clear. I meant the preset files. Your instructions say to unzip them to the desktop and import them into LR. Can I delete the unzipped files on my desktop? Or should I move them to the LR preset folder?

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  9. Matt,

    Thanks for publishing these. Does anyone know if you can use these presets when using the publishing services in LR3? I have an iPad publishing service set up and I’d love to use these presets when publishing to it. Also does anyonoe off the top of their head what sizes should be used for an iPod Touch?

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  10. Is it possible to import images into IPad without using IPhoto? If so how/?

    I have images located in a folder on my main Mac, how do I get these into the Photos section of IPad?

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    • Hi Don,
      Sure. You can email a photo to the iPad or you could be browsing the web and save an image. Just press-and-hold with your finger on the photo and a little “Save Image” button will pop up.

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    • You can sync one or many folders to your iPad using iTunes. That’s how I do it. I publish images from LightRoom to a specific folder on my computer and then iTunes syncs them with the iPad.

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    • Download the Photo Transfer App (www.phototransferapp.com) and you can wirelessly transfer photos to your iPad. Very cool App. Worth the $$

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  11. Hi Matt,

    Thanks. I was just trying to do this for my ipod (by using a publishing service to a folder which I sync with itunes) and no matter what I do it fits/fills the picture to the long side so that there is never any “black bar”. Then I have to pinch to see the whole image.

    Did you figure out a way to not have it do this or is just a difference between the iphone and the ipad? I am using “resize to fit” on long edge.

    BTW here is some info I found when working on this that might be useful:
    in os4 the image order I had worked out before for photo galleries (using filenames) wasn’t working. It turns out it now uses exif date tags to determine the order. See here:

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4221

    Thanks for the useful podcasts!

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  12. Matt,

    So far I’ve resisted the ‘Force’ and not purchased an iPad however I know my time without one is limited and very soon I’ll be parting with some cash. I was considering waiting for the 2nd Gen but the more I see examples such as yours where the iPad is being used for Portfolio’s the more I’m tempted.

    I’ve only managed to have a short time ‘playing’ on one (I say playing but it was all in the name of research you understand) and was really impressed with it. It’s also the way I’ve heard people are selling them too as albums to clients with their photos and video preloaded; really cool idea.

    Thanks for the preset which I’m sure will come in handy…sooner rather than later :)

    All the best to you,
    Glyn

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    • Hey Glyn,
      I was in the I’ll wait for 2nd Gen. boat too at first. But the first gen is just so darn cool I couldn’t take it. I hate to do it but that’s like that with any product. You always know 2nd version will be better than the first. What pushed me over was the opportunity cost of waiting until 2nd Gen. What ideas are you missing? What ways of showing, selling and using for your clients are you missing by waiting a year?
      I have to say, I’ve never been happier that I didn’t wait. I use this thing like crazy. I’d actually get rid of my iPhone before I got rid of my iPad now because the iPad does all the things I used to like doing on the phone but now with a bigger screen. I used to load videos on the phone like crazy so I could watch during my kids baseball practices or while traveling. Now they’ll go on the iPad.

      I can’t explain it but it’s made me more productive and given me more ideas since I got it.

      If 2nd Gen comes out and it’s compelling enough, I always have a wife and 2 kids that would love a first gen iPad :)

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      • So true.. I have to fight my kids for the ipad at times. I’ll get a 2nd gen regardless since I’m 90% sure it will have video conferencing available. If we are really lucky, it would have a real USB port :)

        Matt- very cool post. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Nice one Matt!
    BTW, i really enjoyed the photo, would you please share the info (lens, ISO, shutter speed and aperture)?
    Thx!

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  14. Matt:
    Thanks for all the presets you develop and share. I really appreciate them and your work.

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  15. Aside from the difference in resolution between 1024×768 and 2304×1536 the ratio is 4/3 in one case and 3/2 in the other case. Which is the correct ratio for the iPad (mine hasn’t come yet – my tongue is hanging out!).

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    • The iPad has 4:3 ratio. So if you want to show pictures on an iPad that origin from a 3:2-ratio-DSLR you either have to crop them to 4:3 or you’ll have black areas at two sides of the pictures when showing them on your iPad (which is not a big deal as the iPad frame is black, too).

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  16. Matt, do think there are chances that Adobe will create a Lightroom app for the iPad that will provide basic functions for sorting, tagging and metadata adding? I could think about this being a cool tool for using the iPad onsite if all the work done on the iPad would synchronize with the LR library back home.

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  17. Matt, Classic!! Been there a bunch of times!! Notre Dame, Koln Cathedral…I always try…but now some places are putting the guards right there where the money shot is! Ugh! Great shot of St.P’s! I sent a letter for approval and was shot down there.

    My next try is to have the tripod folded up and then release it in a deep corner and sneak a shot in…this way the guards do not single you out and eye you up! LOL

    Have fun! Pete

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  18. It’s been a while but in 2008 I gave away a number of free presets for LR2. Since then I am now doing LR workshops thanks to being influenced by you guys! I am living my dream and it proves that your sites are effective and needed. Anyhow, I am diving hard into LR3 and created new “Prosets”, my version of presets. I was encouraged by an image shot by Scott Kelbly (http://www.scottkelby.com/blog/2009/archives/3618). I wanted to reproduce this with my son. Here is my link to the original image and the after using the “Awesome” proset.

    http://protographystudios.com/index.html#/lightroom-prosets/

    It is free for download if you would post it. If it gets posted this will be my second listing and hopefully more to come. Keep up the great work! I am a NAPP member for 4 yrs and thanks for all the tips!

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  19. For my putting photos on to my iPod touch, is there any downside to my present workflow of exporting from LR to iPhoto, synching via iTunes from iPhoto to my touch?

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    • The export from LR to iPhoto is via an export preset, BTW.

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  20. Matt,
    I tried to install the presets but get a warning message: “preset file was wrong type of preset”.

    I loaded your presets, unzipped the files, and followed your directions to import them. Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

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    • Julie,
      I had the same problem at first. Just be sure to select File –> Export…, then when the export dialog comes up, right click on User presets. You are probably trying to import the presets directly into your “Develop” module.
      Good luck,
      Paul

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  21. Matt,

    You mention it does crop to get rid of the borders but it does not.
    One export is using width and height which means you do not have to rotate the ipad to show all the pictures.
    The other uses dimensions which means it rotates the picture to make the best fit in the screen.
    Both exports do not change the aspect ratio (there is no cropping) so they will leave black borders if the aspect ratio does not fit the screen.

    I would not see a way t automatically crop the center in LR. A batch processing in PS could do this.

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  22. thanks for this, hope it makes the images look better, also a tip, and i know its not LR but you can sync iPad via Aperture and select the file size in preferences.

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  23. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for a fantastic article! I have posted some info about that on my blog – PhotoshopLightroomBridge.co.uk and I linked to your post! :-)

    Appreciate your effort in writing this post.

    Thanks a lot!

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  24. have to say I use these all the time… thanks for taking the time to make them up..

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  25. I tryed the 2 preset`s, but I still get the black border (top/buttom) :( My camera is a Canon 5DMII.
    Any other preset to try?

    Regards Bo Jørgensen (DK)

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  26. Hi!
    I tried downloading the preset and just got the message “Registration has been disabled.”
    Is there still a way to download the presets?

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    • I’m getting the same thing :(

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      • I’m having the same problem… Anyone have this that can post it somewhere?

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  27. Finally got an iPad, supposedly for work purposes but it’s mainly been a boy’s toy so far. So I have finally got around to using these presets and they are brilliant, thanks for making them available to the “masses”.

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  28. Hi Iam Prabhu from chennai,joined today in this forum… :)

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  29. Does Photoshop CS4 have any similar scripts or directions?

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  30. ok.. So the presets work. I have them set up to go to a file on my desktop. From there i put in itunes then sync my ipad and voila.
    Is there a shortcut?? Can I have the photos go directly to itunes, already in the ipad settings??

    THANKS

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  31. Having some trouble, maybe someone here can help.
    I’m using LR 3.2 and followed Matt’s directions exactly.
    Unzipped file
    Export/ right click on user presets
    A window opens and allows me to navigate to unzipped file to import,
    But then it doesn’t add it.
    It’s very strange, it seems like it works but the preset is not there.
    Tried reboot and all. Anyone else or just me? Thanks

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    • same issue. not clear on these directions. Did you ever get help with this?

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  32. Thanks a lot Matt for sharing these. You’re the best (:

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  33. Not clear on where to put these presets. Please explain where

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  34. Thanks for these presets Matt. You are amazing!

    Do you have to choose one or the other? Or is there a way to use more than one Export preset at a time?

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  35. How can I use these presets with a publish manager?

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  36. Right now it appears like BlogEngine is the preferred blogging platform out there right
    now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

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  37. Matt- Have you made an update to these presets for the Retina screen iPads?

    Thanks,
    Larry

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