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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).
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).
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.
3. Open Lightroom for mobile. Your photos will appear there once the two programs have synchronized (below).
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).
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.
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.
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 LR/Instagram plugin and use it to publish photos directly to Instagram. That’s covered in our tutorial How to Upload Photos to Instagram With the LR/Instagram Plugin
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