How to Post Photos to Instagram From Lightroom Using Lightroom Mobile

How to Post Photos to Instagram From Lightroom Using Lightroom Mobile

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Instagram has become a popular photo sharing and social media website with photographers (not to mention food bloggers), but it is not as easy to post photos directly from Lightroom to Instagram as it is to Facebook, Flickr or 500px.

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 CC subscriber you can use Lightroom mobile to simplify the process. The instructions below show you how to do it (scroll down for an alternative if you’re not a Lightroom mobile user).

By the way, you can check out and follow our Instagram account here @_creativephotographer.

The Creative Photographer Instagram page

How to share photos in Instagram from Lightroom

1. Create a Collection in Lightroom for storing photos which you will share on Instagram. Make sure you tick the Sync with Lightroom mobile box.

Creating a Collection in Lightroom

2. When you add photos to this Collection, Lightroom creates Smart Previews (if they don’t already exist) that are synchronized with Lightroom mobile.

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

A Lightroom Collection containing photos to be shared on Instagram

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

Screenshot from Lightroom mobile showing photos in a synchronized Collection

4. Tap on a photo to view it full size, then tap the icon in the top right corner (the one with the arrow pointing upwards). Tap Open In…, select Small – 2048px for Image Size, then tap the Instagram icon.

Screenshot from Lightroom mobile showing how to upload photos to Instagram

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

A portrait of an Asian woman shared in Instagram

What if I don’t have Lightroom mobile?

If you don’t have Lightroom mobile there are several available 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. Export your photos to a folder on your hard drive that synchronizes automatically with your mobile device when you connect it to your computer.

3. Download the LR/Instagram plugin and use it to publish photos directly to Instagram. That’s covered in our article How to Upload Photos to Instagram With the LR/Instagram Plugin

Further reading

About Andrew S. Gibson

Andrew S. Gibson is a writer, publisher, traveler, workshop leader and photographer based in the UK. He started writing about photography while traveling in Bolivia, and has been published in many prestigious photography magazines including EOS magazine, where he worked as a Writer and Technical Editor for two years. He is inspired by meeting new people, seeing new places and having new experiences. Check out his photography ebooks here.


  1. 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?

  2. Author

    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.

  3. 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

    1. Author

      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.

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