The Web module has been part of Lightroom for a long time, but if you’re a Lightroom Classic user is it the best way to get your photos online? The short answer to that is no – Lightroom for web and Adobe Portfolio have superseded the Web module and arguably taken its place.
If you’re using Lightroom 6 or older and you want to get your photos online from within Lightroom itself then the Web module is your only built-in option.
An alternative is Format. This website builder has a Lightroom plugin that lets you upload photos directly to your website.
But in Lightroom Classic the Web module is legacy technology. It’s there for those of you that have used it before and need the continuity. Lightroom for web and Adobe Portfolio are much more versatile and easier to use.
What’s wrong with the Lightroom Classic Web module?
The Web module lets you make individual web galleries to upload to your own website. But it does have some disadvantages, which helps explain why Adobe has developed easier ways to get your photos online.
- The design of the Web module templates is somewhat old-fashioned. It doesn’t have the same design features that you would expect from a modern portfolio website.
- Only eight of the 24 Web module templates are mobile friendly. Mobile friendly design is essential in an age where some 50% of your traffic can come from mobile devices.
- You need to host your web galleries on your own website, which means you need to pay for a hosting plan. This is not a big deal if you already have one, but it’s an unwanted expense if you don’t.
- The Web module uses FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to upload your web galleries to your website. FTP takes a bit of technical know-how to set up. By contrast, Lightroom for web and Adobe Portfolio take care of the uploading and hosting for you.
- The Web module lets you upload individual photo galleries to your website, but (unlike Adobe Portfolio) you can’t use it to create an entire website.
For these reasons there’s no doubt that Lightroom for web and Adobe Portfolio are the future when it comes to getting your photos online with Lightroom Classic.
The Web module compared
I’ve created three web galleries so you can see the differences for yourself. Each one uses the same set of ten black and white photos.
You’ll find the Web module gallery here: https://www.creative-photographer.com/web-module-demo/
The Lightroom for web gallery is here: https://adobe.ly/2NuWhKW
And the Adobe Portfolio website here: https://andrewsgibsondemo.myportfolio.com/
Let’s go into the detail.
What is Lightroom for web?
Lightroom for web lets you create web galleries for other people to view in a few seconds.
Here’s how it works.
1. Create a Collection to contain the photo in your web gallery.
2. Synchronize the Collection.
3. Click the Make Public button at the top of the Content window in Grid View. Lightroom Classic generates a url that you can give to anybody who wants to view the gallery.
The web gallery is hosted on Adobe’s servers, a service paid for as part of your Creative Photography Plan subscription.
Photos are automatically added or removed from the web gallery when you add them to or remove them from the synchronized Collection.
What are the benefits of Lightroom for web?
The main benefit of Lightroom for web is its simplicity. It only takes a few seconds to create a web gallery and generate the url.
The viewer can also log in with a free Adobe ID and leave comments or mark photos as favorites. You can view comments and favorites in Lightroom Classic.
This is an easy way to let somebody such as a client select the photos they want. For example, earlier this year I took some photos of our son at the party of a friend’s daughter. I created a gallery using Lightroom for web and sent our friend the url. She was then able to mark the photos she wanted and I sent her copies. Easy.
What is Adobe Portfolio?
Whereas Lightroom for web is for creating individual web galleries, Adobe Portfolio is for making full portfolio style websites. There’s a good range of mobile friendly themes to choose from, and each one is fully customizable.
Just like Lightroom for web Adobe Portfolio uses synchronized Collections.
If you have a domain name you can link it to your Adobe Portfolio website. Otherwise, you get a url in the form website-name.portfolio.com.
If you’re a Lightroom Classic subscriber you can check out the interface at https://portfolio.adobe.com/ You need to log in with your Adobe ID to get started.
What are the benefits of Adobe Portfolio?
Quantity: You can create up to five different websites using Adobe Portfolio, each with its own unique url.
Price: The websites are hosted on Adobe’s servers, a service paid for as part of your Creative Photography Plan subscription.
Compare this to the alternatives. If you paid for hosting for your own website it would probably cost you at least $4 or $5 per month. The cheapest plan Format offers is $6 a month. Alternatives like Zenfolio ($5 per month) or Photium ($9 per month) are a similar price. And these are for one website, not five.
For example, I use Adobe Portfolio to create both a public website (linked to earlier) and a private one. I use the private portfolio website for my personal favorites and as as a way of experimenting with arranging photos by different themes.
Design: There are twelve modern, mobile friendly themes to choose from, and you can customize the design just about any way you like.
Personalized domain name: You can set up a domain name you own to point towards your Adobe Portfolio website.
Easy to update: Adobe Portfolio websites are easy to update with new photos. It’s also easy to add extra pages, such as About and Contact pages.
The disadvantages of Adobe Portfolio is that there’s no ecommerce or blogging functions. If you need these as well you can look at services like WordPress, SquareSpace and SmugMug as well as the portfolio services mentioned earlier.
To sum up, if you’re a Lightroom Classic subscriber and you have any interest in creating an online portfolio then you have no excuse for not checking out Adobe Portfolio. It’s easy to use, versatile and will help you get your website online quickly and easily.
On the other hand, Lightroom for web is the perfect tool for creating photo galleries for sharing with family, friends and clients.
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Thanks again for your time and effort. Your contributions to Photographers’ education are always welcome, and useful. I am retired, yet wonder how you get the time to do everything you do. I was just struggling with Adobe’s Portfolio yesterday so the timing is perfect. I find it difficult to use that service since it is has perhaps the least intuitive web interface I have ever seen, and that is remarkable given that there are a lot of bad implementations on the web. It could be quite a useful service if wasn’t such a time-waster.
Hi Myron, sorry to hear you’re not getting on with Adobe Portfolio. Here’s a link to a tutorial I wrote about it. Some things have changes since the tutorial was published, but it should still be helpful.
Excellent article Andrew, enjoyed the read and I will be looking into this.
What size do you put your images up in Adobe Portfolio and can you restrict the size of the image that the public see on screen, to only give them a low res image.
Hi Les, Adobe Portfolio uses Smart Previews which means that the maximum size of any images used in the website is 2560 pixels along the longest edge. There’s no way that I’m aware of to restrict the size of images viewed.