How to Post Photos to Instagram From Lightroom Classic Using the Lightroom for Mobile app

by Andrew S. Gibson
How to Post Photos to Instagram From Lightroom Classic Using the Lightroom for Mobile app

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Instagram has become a popular photo sharing and social media website with photographers), but it’s not as easy to post photos directly from Lightroom Classic to Instagram as it is to a website like Flickr.

The reason is that Instagram retains an idiosyncrasy originating from its start as an iPhone app – you can only add photos to your account from within the app itself, not the Instagram website.

If you are Lightroom Classic subscriber you can use the Lightroom app for mobile (formerly known as Lightroom mobile and Lightroom CC) to simplify the process. The instructions below show you how to do it (scroll down for an alternative if you have Lightroom 6 or older).

Instagram page

How to share photos in Instagram from Lightroom Classic

1. Create a Collection in Lightroom Classic for storing photos which you will share on Instagram. Make sure you tick the Sync with Lightroom box (marked below).

Lightroom Classic Instagram Collection

2. When you add photos to this Collection, Lightroom Classic creates Smart Previews (if they don’t already exist) and synchronizes with Lightroom for mobile.

Read The Ultimate Guide to Using Smart Previews in Lightroom to learn more about this process.

Instagram Collection in Lightroom

3. Open Lightroom for mobile. Your photos will appear there once the two programs have synchronized (below).

Synchronized Lightroom Collection in Instagram

4. Tap on a photo to view it full size, then tap the share icon in the top right corner (the one with the arrow pointing upwards out of a box, see below).

Share icon in Instagram

5. Tap Open In…, select Small – 2048px for Image Size, then tap the Instagram icon to upload the photo straight to your feed. If you want to add the photo to your story, use the Import with Instagram icon instead.

Send to Instagram from Lightroom

6. Write a caption for your photo, including any hashtags you want to add, and tap Share. Lightroom for mobile publishes the photo on Instagram.

Lightroom photo in Instagram

What if I don’t have Lightroom for mobile?

If you don’t have Lightroom for mobile there are a couple of alternatives.

1. Export your photos to your smart phone or tablet with Dropbox. Simplify the process by making an Export preset or Publish Service to save the photos in your Dropbox folder. Go to the Dropbox app on your mobile device and open your photos in the Instagram app.

2. Download the Vivaldi browser. There are versions for Mac OS X, Windows and Linux (even if you have no interest in Instagram it’s worth checking out because it’s a browser that’s designed to safeguard your privacy online).

Here’s how you use it to upload photos to Instagram.

1. Open a new tab and go to the Instagram website. You’ll see the standard web browser view, which doesn’t let you upload photos.

2. Click the Web Panel icon (it’s the plus sign on the left), then the plus icon next to the Instagram url.

3. The browser opens a new panel that shows the Instagram website as it appears on your phone. Click the plus icon at the bottom of the screen to upload a photo.

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Patrick Österlund June 6, 2017 - 4:47 pm

I usually never leave comments, but now I feel like I have to.
The option to tick “Sync with lightroom mobile” doesn’t exist in Windows Lightroom CC 2015.9.
Or have I missed some setting elsewhere?

Andrew S. Gibson June 10, 2017 - 9:04 am

Hi Patrick, are you logged into your Adobe account? If you aren’t Lightroom may not give you the option to sync with Lightroom mobile.

Brenda Horscock May 1, 2018 - 2:37 am

Dear creativephotographer,

I enjoyed your article, but has since been proven to be moot after I thought of a new method.
Bear with me, but can’t you just screenshot the edited photo, then crop and post to Instagram?? Won’t this be easier? Thanks.

-B. Horscock

Andrew S. Gibson May 2, 2018 - 9:57 am

Hi Brenda, no that would be harder. Remember you can only upload photos to Instagram from a mobile device. That means you’d have to transfer your screenshot to a phone or tablet first. Much easier to do it this way. Plus, it’s easier to keep track of which photos have been uploaded to Instagram in Lightroom.

Alice McKay June 3, 2019 - 10:29 pm

Is it possible to upload more than one photo to Instagram from Lightroom using Lightroom Mobile? I am able to upload photos in separate postings using the method you describe above, but I would like to know if I can have multiple photos in a single posting.

Andrew S. Gibson June 5, 2019 - 11:50 am

Hi Alice, as far as I know you can only share one photo to Instagram at a time.

ivy September 5, 2020 - 4:22 am

Hi Andrew, good post. Thank you for wrting that up. Just thought i would follow up to see if there is an update on the ability to share more than one image at a time? Is this still limited to just one at a time?

Andrew S. Gibson September 6, 2020 - 8:49 am

Hi Ivy, yes it’s still limited to one photo at a time.

Farren June 6, 2019 - 1:51 pm

Hi there! I found your post while doing some “googling”
I used lightroom mobile to edit some photos from iphonex and then uploaded them to instagram. I wanted these photos printed but when I uploaded them from instagram to shutterfly, the quality dropped when printed resulting in grainy pictures (although shutterfly didn’t give any low quality notices)

Any suggestions for how to print higher quality images that have been edited in lightroom mobile? Thanks 🙂

Andrew S. Gibson June 7, 2019 - 11:25 am

Hi Farren, Instagram compresses your photos leading to a loss of image quality. Try sending your photos so Shutterfly straight from your Camera Roll for better quality.

Richard Provost January 2, 2020 - 5:18 pm

Andrew Great article. I have a problem. I can load the photo to instagram but it doesn’t appear in my photos. What am I doing wrong? I’m using LR Classic 2020. When I upload to instagram my screen is different from step 6 on in your explanation.

Andrew S. Gibson January 6, 2020 - 7:59 pm

Hi Richard, sorry I don’t know. I just tested it and it worked fine for me. Are you logged into the Instagram app on your mobile device?

Richard Provost January 6, 2020 - 8:19 pm

Yes. I have found a workaround by putting my photos in camera roll and then uploading.

wilson lee March 20, 2020 - 5:54 am

When I “Create Collection”, it’s not giving me the sync option? Everything else looks the same to your screen grab but that. Thanks

Andrew S. Gibson March 20, 2020 - 8:50 am

Hi Wilson, couple of questions for you:

Which version of Lightroom are you using?
Are you signed into your Adobe account when using Lightroom?
Have you enable syncing in the activity center?
Do you have more than one Lightroom Catalog (you can only sync one Catalog)?

The answers should help us figure out the solution.

Sharon Beetem August 20, 2020 - 6:14 pm

LR/Instagram no longer works. Instagram has changed their protocol and the plug in no longer works. Any other suggestions for those of us who don’t want to fill our phones/tablets with photos taken from our DSLRs? (And don’t want to spend the money on Creative Cloud)

Andrew S. Gibson August 23, 2020 - 8:41 pm

Hi Sharon, you can do it with Dropbox. Simplify the process by making an Export preset to save the photos in your Dropbox folder. Go to the Dropbox app on your mobile device and open your photos in the Instagram app.


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