How to Upload Photos to Instagram With the LR/Instagram Plugin

How to Upload Photos to Instagram With the LR/Instagram Plugin

Instagram seems to be growing in popularity for photographers who want to share and promote their work. So, considering all the activity on the social networking site, wouldn’t it be great to upload photos to it directly from Lightroom? Up until recently you couldn’t – one of the quirks of Instagram is that you can only upload images from your mobile device.

Portrait of young Asian woman in Instagram

Earlier in the year I showed you how to upload photos from Lightroom to Instagram using Lightroom mobile. But now there’s an even quicker way to do it. All you need is the LR/Instagram plugin from Capture Monkey.

The LR/Instagram plug-in is a free download (the author asks for a $10 donation if you like it, which I think is fair considering how useful it is). Once you’ve installed the plugin it creates a permanent Published Collection to which you can add photos that you want to publish to Instagram.

LR/Instagram plugin website

What is a Published Collection?

If you’ve read my Mastering Lightroom books then you know that I’m a big fan of Collections. They let you organize your photos however you need to and access them from every Lightroom module.

Published Collections are similar to regular Collections, with these key differences.

1. Published Collections are for organizing photos that you intend to export to a hard drive or publish to a photo sharing website or social network (such as 500px, Flickr, Facebook or Instagram).

They have other uses too – for example, the Photosmith iPad app uses Publish Collections to synchronize between your desktop and iPad.

2. Published Collections are dynamic. They let you know which photos have been changed after they have been published, and give you the opportunity to re-publish them. This helps you see at a glance whether you have published the most up to date version of a photo. Note that photos will be marked as updated if you change metadata as well as make any changes in the Develop module.

These are some of the Published Collections I have in Lightroom.

Lightroom Published Collections

The LR/Instagram plugin

Follow these steps to install and use the plugin.

1. Install the LR/Instagram plugin using the Plugin Manager (go to File > Plugin Manager and click Add). You can download the plugin from this dedicated website.

The plug-in creates a new Publish Service called LR/Instagram and a Published Collection called Instagram photos.

2. Go to the Publish Service and click setup in order to enter the details of your Instagram account (you can create multiple Publish Services if you have more than one Instagram account).

3. Right-click on the Published Collection called Instagram photos and click Set as Target Collection. A plus sign appears next to the collection name to indicate that it’s now the Target Collection.

4. Go to the Metadata panel and select LR/Instagram from the menu. The LR/Instagram plugin has added a new panel where you can enter a caption and hashtags.

Lightroom metadata panel showing LR\Instagram plugin options

Tip: Keep a text file with your most commonly used hashtags so you can save time by copying and pasting them. Evernote is perfect for this as you can synch it with your mobile device for when you send photos to Instagram using the mobile app.

5. Press B to send the photo to the Instagram photos Published Collection (which you earlier set as the Target Collection). Repeat with other photos if required.

6. Go to the Instagram photos Published Collection, which will look something like this.

Lightroom Instagram Published Collection

Unpublished photos are displayed under the heading New Photos to Publish. Click the Publish button. Within 10 seconds or so Lightroom will send your photo to Instagram.

Street photo of girl sitting on a turtle in Shanghai, China displayed in Instagram

And that’s all there is to it! I’ve only just started using the LR/Instagram plugin but my first impressions are very favorable. It’s simple to use, easy to set up and (for me) works flawlessly. It simplifies the process of publishing photos to Instagram which will encourage me to use the social networking site much more.

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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. Great Article, but I find that LR Instagram doesn’t work currently. I asked the author about this, but he didn’t reply yet. There is a note on his website saying that because Instagram updated their protocol the plug-in doesn’t work and there will be an update, but I don’t know when…

    1. Author

      Hi Nick, you’re right, it’s not working at the moment. Just waiting to see if they come up with an update before changing or pulling the tutorial…

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