How to Create a Beautiful Online Gallery with Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Portfolio in 15 Minutes

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One of the common questions I hear from photographers is regarding a way to link Lightroom to a photography portfolio website. It usually comes from photographers who don’t like the design options in the LR Web module. The perfect solution doesn’t exist, perhaps the closest (until recently) is Koken, a free plugin that I wrote about some time ago that uses Lightroom’s Publish Collections to update your online portfolio.

But, the good news is that Adobe has just made creating a portfolio website a whole lot easier with its latest update to Adobe Portfolio.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

What is Adobe Portfolio?

Adobe Portfolio is exactly what it sounds like – an online gallery of photos. The benefit of using Adobe Portfolio is that it’s very easy (no web design or coding skills required). It also integrates with your Lightroom Collections (this is the update I just referenced).

That means all you have to do is set up some Collections containing the photos you want to include in your gallery and synchronize them with Adobe Portfolio. Then it’s just a matter of choosing a layout, tweaking the design, and making the website live. You can do all of this in less than 15 minutes.

The only caveat is that you need to be an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscriber. Just like Lightroom mobile and Lightroom web, it isn’t available to photographers who use a standalone (purchased) version of Lightroom.

Curious? You can check out a portfolio website I created for myself using Adobe Portfolio here to see what it’s capable of.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Step-by-Step Guide to Adobe Portfolio

The first step – and probably the hardest – is to decide what photos you want to include in your portfolio. Once you’ve made your mind up about that, the rest is easy.

  1. Create a Collection Set in the Library module called Portfolio.
  2. Create several Collections inside this Collection Set, one for each gallery you want to include on your portfolio website.
  3. Add photos to the Collections.
  4. Arrange the photos in the order in which they are to be displayed online.
  5. Synchronize the photos in the Collections by ticking the boxes to the left of the Collection name (marked below).

My portfolio website (link above) has four galleries; Black & White, Portraits, Spain, and Devon. Each gallery corresponds to a Collection in Lightroom with the same name (seen below).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Register

Go to www.myportfolio.com and sign in with your Adobe ID. If you haven’t created a portfolio yet click the button that says Get Started Free. Otherwise, click the button that says Edit Your Portfolio.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Choose a design for your gallery

Now it’s time to choose a layout. Start by clicking the Switch layouts icon (marked below).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Adobe Portfolio gives you eight layouts from which to choose. All the layouts are fully mobile responsive, which means they work and look professional on mobile phones and tablets as well as desktop computers. Decide which one you want to use and click the Use this layout button.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

It may be difficult to visualize which one works best when populated with your photos. Don’t worry about that at this stage – you can change the layout afterward if you want to.

Settings

Next, click the Edit your settings icon (marked below).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Go to Site Options and click the Lightbox for Images tab. Tick the “Enable lightbox for images on my pages” box and click Done (see below). This is important as it lets people view the photos on your portfolio website. If you don’t tick it all they will be able to see are thumbnails.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Add images to your gallery

Click the Manage content icon (marked below).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Go to the Integrations tab and Click the Add Collections button. The website opens a window that displays all your synchronized Lightroom Collections. Pick the ones you want to include in your portfolio and click the Import Selected button (see button below lower-right).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Go to Adobe Portfolio, click on the Manage content icon again and go to the Website Pages tab. Make sure the switch is set to the On position for each Collection you want to display on your portfolio website.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Choose cover photos

Now it’s time to tidy up the gallery cover photos. You’ll need to do this once for each gallery. Start by clicking the pencil icon next to the gallery cover photo (see below).

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Pick Edit Cover Image from the menu to edit the cover photo. At the moment this feature is a little limited – the website automatically picks the photo that appears on the cover and it’s not easy to change it.

The only way currently is to click Upload a new image and upload a photo you’ve exported from Lightroom – there’s no way to select another photo from the Collection. But you can zoom the photo and adjust the crop. Click Done when you’re finished and repeat for the other gallery cover photos.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Setup the domain name

Click the Edit your settings icon again and click Domain Name. You can select a URL for your portfolio in the form yourname.portfolio.com. This is the easiest option. Alternatively, if you have a domain or a subdomain you can follow the instructions to use that.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Preview your portfolio gallery

Click the gray Preview button to see a preview of your portfolio website. Happy with what you see? Click Update Live Site to publish your portfolio to your chosen URL. Congratulations – your brand new portfolio website is now live!

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

Customizing the design

So far I’ve shown you how to get your portfolio website online as quickly as possible. The hardest part, as I said, is deciding which photos to include in your gallery. That can take hours, days, or even weeks. But, once the decision is made, you can get your portfolio online in under 15 minutes. It really is that quick.

If you’re happy with the default settings of your layout you can stop there, your job is done. But it’s worth spending some time looking at both the page and global settings. You can customize things such as fonts, colors and the number of columns on your front page. There is an option to add pages (for instance an About page) and links to other websites. You have a lot of options and it’s worth exploring them to see how you can individualize your portfolio website.

You can even change the layout by clicking on the Switch layouts icon. Adobe portfolio remembers your customizations, which gives you peace of mind as it means you won’t lose your customizations when you switch from one layout to another.

When you are finished, remember to click the green Update Live Site button. None of your customizations are published until you click that button.

How to update the photos

Portfolios are fluid and as time goes by you will add and remove photos from the Collections you created. You may also add more Collections as your photo collection grows. There are two steps to updating your portfolio website.

1. Update your Lightroom Collections and make sure Lightroom has had time to synchronize the changes.

2. Go to Adobe Portfolio, click on the Manage content icon and go to the Website Pages tab. Click on the Cog icon next to the Collection that you want to update and select Reset from Lightroom to update your portfolio gallery.

Adobe Portfolio Lightroom

3. Finish by clicking the green Update Live Site button to publish the updates to your portfolio website.

Next steps

With the recent update that lets you integrate Lightroom Collections, Adobe Portfolio has become the easiest way to create a portfolio website using Lightroom Collections. The only downside, as mentioned earlier, is that you need to be a Creative Photography Plan subscriber to use this feature.

If you are not, then look at Koken as an alternative. Don’t dismiss the Web module out of hand either, it has some very useful features and doesn’t require a CC subscription to use.


You can learn more about all aspects of Lightroom with my bestselling Mastering Lightroom ebooks.

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Andrew S. Gibson

is a writer, photographer, traveler and workshop leader. He’s an experienced teacher who enjoys helping people learn about photography and Lightroom and his written over 25 popular photography ebooks. Enroll in his new Lightroom course for free, or download his free Creative Fade Presets for Lightroom.

  • 0702marty

    Hi, Andrew … thanks for the info on getting some images into the Adobe Portfolio. I’m following you through the initial steps …
    1. Create a collection set called Portfolio (I assume in the Collections section) – NOTE: I’m in LR Classic CC, per the title of the article.
    2. Create at least 1 collection in that set.
    3. Add photos to any collections I created so far.
    4. Set up the Adobe Portfolio to receive images (register, choose a design, change the settings per your instructions)

    Here’s were things go south … Under Manage Content>Integrations, I do not see an Add Collections button. There is an Add Albums button (I don’t have any) and a section on Behance, but nothing about Collections.

    While the title of the article indicates that this is for LR Classic CC, the sample image shown for selecting collections to add to the portfolio shows the LR CC (the new one) logo in the upper left corner. Does this really require the installation of LR CC (the new one) and uploading images/albums to the portfolio from there?

    I really have no use for LR CC at this point, and have not installed it on my PC. But if that is needed then I will have to reconsider my decision to not install it.

    Anyway, again thank you for publishing the article – I am interested in putting a portfolio online via Adobe. It just seems I’m missing a step somewhere that’s preventing from to getting all the way to bright.

    Thanks, Marty

  • Hi Marty, use Add Albums instead. I wrote this article before Adobe released Lightroom Classic CC and the new Lightroom CC (there’s always a delay before publication) and it seems that Adobe have updated the Portfolio website to use the terminology in the new Lightroom CC (where Collections are called Albums). It works fine with Lightroom Classic CC, Portfolio uses the new logo because it is part of the CC family (Lightroom web, Lightroom mobile, Lightroom CC etc.)

  • SteveE

    Thanks Andrew, this is really useful.

    I do have 1 question though, by using collections rather than a publishing service, is it possible to add watermarks, control the size and so on, or does it just use the full size image as it is in LR?

    Thanks 🙂

  • 0702marty

    Thanks, Andrew. I still seem to be missing something.

    When I use Add Albums, the only choices I am offered are albums that are in Lightroom CC (the new cloud version) and albums I might have loaded into Behance (if I have any there). There does not seem to be any way to get to Lightroom Classic Collections.

    (I did install LR CC and uploaded a couple of sample albums to the cloud, and was able to include those in a Portfolio, much as you described above. But I can’t seem to get there from Lightroom Classic.)

    Maybe prior to the fork in the road, Portfolio accepted Collections from old LR CC, but it does not seem to have that path any more. Or, maybe I’ve missed linking to something somewhere along the path.

    One clarification about the Lightroom Classic collection that must be created – should it be in the “Collections” panel or in the “Publish Services” panel? They are both “collections”.

    Thanks for your patience.
    Marty

  • Hi Marty, I checked and I can still add Collections that I’ve synced with Lightroom Classic CC. I don’t know why you don’t have that option. Have you checked to make sure your Lightroom Classic CC Collections are fully synced? The Collections should be in the Collections panel.

  • Hi Steve, image size is automated by Lightroom and you can’t control it. The size of your photos on the Portfolio website is limited by the size of Smart Previews (2540 px along the longest edge). It isn’t possible to add a watermark to your photos.

  • 0702marty

    Got it!!!

    Up to now, I have not had an identified use for LR Mobile, and therefore didn’t have any syncing going on. Your instruction in the article to click on the “sync” icon was lost on me because I couldn’t see any. So, I Googled “syncing”, and put all the pieces together to get my selected collections set up to sync with Portfolio. I’ll have work with it a bit more to get fully comfortable with it, but I’m now heading in the right direction.

    Thanks for the help!

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  • SteveE

    Thanks Andrew, as I thought.
    If collections are now intended to be published, hopefully Adobe will add some more controls.

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