Editor's note: It's time to master your black and white photography skills! You can grab our new video course The Art of Black and White in Lightroom Classic now for just $15 (normal price $20) with the code march5. Thanks for reading, Andrew.
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 The short answer to that is no – Lightroom for web and Adobe Portfolio have superseded the Web module and arguably taken its place.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.
The only disadvantage of Lightroom for web (compared to the Web module) is that you can’t alter the design.
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.
The next steps
If you’d like to learn more about Lightroom I suggest you sign up to our Introducing Lightroom Classic free email course. We’ll send five free Lightroom Classic lessons straight to your inbox! And while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Mastering Lightroom Classic ebook bundle (see below).
The Mastering Lightroom Classic ebook bundle
It’s time to take the next step on your Lightroom Classic journey!
These ebooks guide you through every aspect of Lightroom Classic with over 730 pages of easy to follow, clearly written instructions.
Learn how to import and organize your photos, create beautiful printed books and websites, and become a Lightroom ninja in the Develop module.
You can buy the ebooks individually for $15 each or the bundle for just $29 (saving a whopping $16 over the individual prices!).
Black & White in Lightroom Classic
Discover how to make beautiful black and white photos in Lightroom Classic with our new video course The Art of Black & White in Lightroom Classic. Get 25% off if you buy before March 31 with the code march5!