Last week I published an open letter to Adobe Lightroom written from the perspective of photographers that use the web gallery feature in Lightroom. It generated a decent amount of feedback both positive and negative. Many people told me that this couldn't be done and that Adobe would never offer something like this. Then I read a comment from a reader that was doing exactly what I wanted. Problem solved!
First let's have a quick recap of my problem, or opportunity, that I thought Adobe could address. After a photo shoot, I build web galleries in Adobe Lightroom and upload the gallery to my server and send a private link to the client. They go through the photos, then manually write down and e-mail me the photo numbers they would like me to retouch and deliver. This is the best Adobe Lightroom can offer for client interaction by using their web galleries. This was not an optimal scenario for me, or my clients, and I felt I was wasting time finding photos one by one from a list generated by my clients. The experience could be better on both ends. Yeah there are other options out there for web galleries but I don't want other options or web services to pay for. I want Adobe to tackle this issue and be on the forefront of awesome innovations.
One reader, Ben, kindly suggested that I try a plugin for Lightroom called TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery from The Turning Gate. This $25 plugin for Lightroom does (almost exactly) what I wanted it to do and it took me 30 minutes to set up. It's glorious and already saved my over an hour of time on the first job. I couldn't be happier with how much better the experience is for both my client and myself. I already got a note from an repeat client saying how much more enjoyable it was to peruse the new web gallery.
Solution via a Plugin
So this is basically how the plugin works:
1.) I build a web gallery exactly how I normally would using the Web Gallery feature in Adobe Lightroom but with the TTG CE3 option.
2.) I export the Lightroom Gallery.
3.) I upload the Lightroom Gallery to my server at Bluehost.
4.) I send the custom link to the client.
5.) The client has the option to check the photos they like, and filter the page by photos that they have checked.
6.) They have the option to write custom notes for photos on the website.
7.) Once they have checked all of the photos they approve, they fill out their Name, E-Mail, and any additional comments. Then they press send.
8.) I get an e-mail, which also copies them, with a list of the photos they like separated by commas.
9.) I copy this list of photo names and paste into the text feature of Lightroom.
10.) Lightroom searches and finds all of the photos in my list and presents them to me.
11.) I highlight all of the photos and create a "Selections" folder in my Lightroom catalogue.
What an amazingly simple, yet awesome plugin for Lightroom! Definitely worth the $25. I hope Adobe is listening and implements something like this in their future update. I would really like to say thanks to Ben, the reader that suggested I try this plugin. What an awesome constructive comment! Below is an example of the web gallery. Clients are able to check the top right box to indicate which they like, filter by photos they've selected, then easily submit their selection in an e-mail to me.
Here are the features via The Turning Gate website:
TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery facilitates communication between the photographer and client following a shoot. The photographer publishes a web photo gallery of images from the shoot, and the client marks images as selects by ticking a checkbox for each image to be kept. Selected images are then submitted to the photographer's email address as a comma-separated list, which may be copy-and-pasted into Lightroom's filters to quickly isolate images in the catalog for processing.
Optionally, the gallery also allows the photographer to display image EXIF and IPTC metadata, and allows the client to rate images, specify a number of custom options (such as output or delivery parameters), and leave comments for images, all of which are included in the email to the photographer.
Our latest CE3 iteration of the plugin brings many refinements and improvements, making this the definitive version of the Client Response Gallery.
- Allow clients to easily make image selects online.
- Quickly and easily process the clients selects by copy-and-pasting from email into Lightroom's Library filters.
- Accept additional client feedback, including ratings, custom options and comments.
- Allow clients to enlarge multiple images for side-by-side comparison.
- Responsive galleries scale to fit devices of any size, providing fantastic viewing for desktop and laptop displays, tablets and mobile phones.
- Fully customize your gallery’s branding and colors, page layout and gallery behavior.
- Easily create and manage galleries using Lightroom’s Publish Services and our TTG CE3 Publisher plugin (sold separately).
- Create galleries using traditionally framed thumbnails, large iconic thumbnails, or the new masonry-style layout.
- Galleries make intelligent use of your content for fantastic, honest search engine optimization (SEO).
- Social networking features include dedicated links for your Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter profiles, and Open Graph Protocol implementation so that Facebook and Twitter will recognize your pages when shared.
- Password protect your image galleries.
- Integrate your galleries with Google Maps and Google Analytics.
- No Flash!
- Optionally, allow images to be downloaded, display color labels, utilize image permalinks, and more ...
System & Hosting Requirements
TTG CE3 Client Response Gallery runs in Lightroom's Web module, and requires Lightroom 3 or newer; this is not standalone software. Exported galleries should be published to the Web, requiring a domain and web hosting. Some features require a web server running PHP 5.2.6 or newer.
Gary, thanks for your Initial post which was really interesting and we are, i am sure, all in the same boat regarding that (some would use Zenfolio, or photoshelter or any other host which can provide selection process... but it's still not convenient for wedding and high-quantity delivery workflow).
This new post on TTG CE3 is just brilliant, and thanks for sharing once again. Very much appreciated as all content on Fstoppers, thanks for your time, effort to research, write and provide content.
Will be part of my monthly investment i think, for future shoots i is just perfect. I used to deliver contact sheets for selections, but problem was the same. Problem now solved.
I'm not sure if I misread your intent, but how is the Zenfolio plug-in and gallery use / client favs not appropriate for high quantity workflow?
I have multiple galleries on Zen - with 600+ images that I let multiple clients (30+ usually) goto and select their favs. Zen then sends me their selections and the Zen plugin can read them and filter them in LR per client.
you're right, i didn't use the correct wording. let me explain my thoughts better.
I agree that ZenFolio or Photoshelter and other platforms have systems and plugins ready for LR.
However, I have a website with unlimited hosting space + bandwidth, and as many subdomains necessary to do the trick for each wedding, a new subdomain for example. with this plugin, i can use my website and draw more visitors to my site, helping my ranking and growing my brand awareness.
In the case of ZenFolio, it means i have multiple locations, and no it's not a real problem, but IMHO, if i can have everything in the same place, and not dilute my work, I prefer to do so.
Moreover, Zenfolio, being in the US and various locations, has slower bandwidth on the upload than my provider which is locally based, which to me is important when considering my time and the machine time (and clients will have it be a tad slower to view them too).
This doesn't mean that i won't have a 500px, or other account to have some of my work on it, but not a whole batch.
I hope I clarified, and this is obviously only my personal opinion, and certainly one of many different ones on the topic :)
Glad you picked up Turning Gate's product! It really is the best client proofing gallery I found while banging my head against the wall looking for the same answers! Hopefully thtis will help them reach more photographers. Great article!
Wow, very cool. Glad I could help Gary! I make heavy use of their TTG Gallery plugin for my client's final galleries as well as the portfolios on my site. Maybe not up your alley but worth a look as well.
In case anyone is wondering I have zero affiliation with The Turning Gate. I just really like their products and I'm a bit of a workflow nut ;)
I've been using the Turning Gate Client Response plug in for over a year now... It's greatly helped me to efficiently build galleries and get feedback from my clients too. 5 stars!
Just an FYI, this does NOT work with Livebooks. Unless you know all that website jargon, and understand the inner workings of LIvebooks, you have no way of knowing that it doesn't work because turning gate doesn't mention it.
Crap, I bought it before I read your post, Grr! I had a support email in to LB because the response wasn't working. Now I know why. That sucks! I bet I cant get my $25 back either?
If you couple this with the awesome 'Client Selects' plugin which is found on Adobe's Lightroom Exchange, it would work even better.
Paste that comma list to a text file, and import with the client selects plugin. You can then apply the rating and colour selections to a selected set of photos only, rather than any matching filenames (which might be from a different set)
How would you couple them together ? i am trying to understand what you mean, and that seems like an interesting complement to push it further.
Hi Olivier, i've actually just done a quick test and the lightroom search function works better than I thought it did. I wasn't sure if you could restrict the search results to a particular collection, thus avoiding file name clashes with other unrelated collections, but it seems that you can do this easily.
So, it seems that pasting the comma list from the email is a very quick way to do these selections as well.
Currently i'm using Pixieset to do the selections and get a csv file, then the client selects plugin to mark them in lightroom.
I'll still keep the client selects plugin, because it works very well, but i'm going to look into the TTG gallery now because it provides a bit more of a custom solution that can sit on my server. Thanks for posting this, it's been good to see.
Purchased, installed. Take the time to read the documentation, as the options are massive and it can really be messy... but it's an amazing tool.
Once my edit was done, i uploaded 200+ images in approx 5mn to my provider with the gallery option for TTG plugin. logo, password protected, multiple options. From there i received files from 7 members of the team to test it.
to check the matching what i did was :
- copy the text into textbox to get selection.
- Add teamMember name in the keywords
- Go to next team Member and repeate both previous steps.
Once all complete, i used the keywords of all the team members together... as that would be the common denominator, i had the ones that everyone added to submit for editorial purposes.
Why didn't I use the colour coding ? Only 6 colours, we were 7 to submit feedback.
Great tool, 25$ well invested... Thanks Fstoppers + TTG + Ben + whoever should take credit, love the post & stuff :D
It's wonderful that you found something that really gels with your workflow; I'd like to suggest that, despite your desire that Adobe tackle this head on, the current situation is actually better overall.
What Adobe has done is create a framework for plugins that allows something that gels with your workflow to be built, where "your" really means every different kind of person/workflow for which some company or developer makes a plugin.
It benefits many more people more richly for Adobe to invest time in this framework rather than invest time in adding remote site X to the list.... they already did Flickr, SmugMug, and Facebook, and clearly that didn't at all address the needs of folks like you. Had they spent time adding other remote sites instead of building the general framework, you might have gotten lucky and found that one fit your needs, but probably not. (It's like the App Store... an iPhone or iPad would be substantially less compelling if it could run only apps that Apple chose to offer.)
I'm a developer of plugins for Lightroom, but I'd *love* it if Lightroom was such a complete solution that none of my plugins are necessary. I love photography much more than plugin development. But that being said, I know that Adobe doesn't have the resources to do this, so a big part in the future of workflow innovation lies with plugins, so I keep toiling, pushing the limits of the current limited infrastructure well beyond their design envelope.
If anything, the plugin infrastructure could use more attention (a lot more attention), extending what plugins can do. That attention would come at the expense of other things in Lightroom, perhaps to a short-term detriment, but I think in the long term it would pay off greatly.
you can check out also the fontogallery - http://fonto.pl/fontogallery.html
it doesn't have all the features but it is quite useful even in the freeware light version
You might be interested by Evlaa (https://evlaa.com) as it speeds up the process of photos selection and it is based on a Lightroom publishing service.
Modern, easy to use and very efficient...
Check it out and let me know what do you think so far (firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions / remarks)