You can now group photos and add subheadings and explanatory text to collections shared from Lightroom Web

I’ve always liked Lightroom Web, the browser-based way to access photos synced to Lightroom Mobile.

One thing I use it for is to tweak adjustments or add captions to photos when I’m on my laptop. Nothing sophisticated, it’s all about the convenience of making quick changes wherever I happen to be, just like with LrM on my iPad, and knowing those edits will be synced into my catalogue.

A second, less-frequent way that I use LrW is to upload originals, dragging them from Finder/Explorer and dropping them into LrWeb in the browser window. This is handy when I’ve done some editing in Photoshop on the laptop and want that file in Lightroom back on my desktop. This drag and drop means I don’t have to think any more – the file automatically appears in my catalogue.

But what I most is to use LrWeb as an easy way to show or “share” pictures with people, and I do this pretty often:

  • In Lightroom, you just set a collection of photos to sync, set that collection to “public” and email someone the URL – it’s very little effort.
  • If you subsequently easily add new photos, remove some or adjust others, those changes are automatically synced – unlike conventional web sites, you don’t have to export or republish and upload again.

The LrW shared page has always had a plain and simple layout, and that’s fine most of the time. Sometimes though, I might want to break up a longer set of photos into sections and maybe add some explanatory text.

You’ve been able to produce this kind of “story” layout in Adobe’s Spark, which is really good for certain purposes and is very customisable. If you’ve not tried Spark, it’s worth investigating – it comes with your Adobe subscription. But much as I like Spark, it is a bit more like a conventional web site in the sense that when you change photos in Lightroom, you have to re-upload them to your Spark page. I like this kind of task to be automated.

A week ago, without any fanfare, Adobe sneaked out an update for LrW that takes it into that middle ground between its simplicity/automation and Spark-style “story-telling”.

It was announced – in LrW go to the Dashboard and see the News and Updates section. Incidentally, it’s always worth checking this as it sometimes highlights details that you may not have noticed, but the post on September 27 entitled “Album Display Updates” is one of the more interesting ones:

What this means in practice is that in the web browser LrW now lets you :

  • Group a collection of photos into sections
  • Add subheadings and explanatory text for each section
  • Choose a light or dark colour scheme
  • Use the cover photo as a background

It’s pretty simple and is all done on the new Display tab: 

It’s great that Adobe have now extended this capability so you can present any collection much more flexibly. It’s not as fancy as Spark, and it’s not a full web site like Portfolio which also comes with your Adobe subscription, but for speed and automation it’s hard to beat.