Lightroom has the ability to export your files with either the adjustments you have made, or original files from the application. Some users are ok with this workflow, however, some Photographers would like to export the files to PDF and have more control of the output. The export of PDF is available in a few different ways, one is to use the Print module and “save as PDF”, the other is to use the Blurb book module and save as PDF. There is however another way, and this will give you more control of the files that are included in the final PDF.
If we examine the Export dialog we see that there is a Post Processing option on the Hard Drive export option.
The Post Processing option provides a way to open another application after all of the files have been exported from Lightroom. The default options are to open with Photoshop or show the images using the operating system file browser (Finder in this case, Explorer on Windows). You can also see that there is an option for “Open in Other Application” that can be used as well.
When you are using Adobe Creative Cloud (or are maybe not using the Creative Cloud but have access to Acrobat) you are able to call Adobe Acrobat as part of this process (as well as other applications). You can create an export preset for this setting or the same settings will be used in subsequent “Exports” (when selected in an export process).To associate the opening of images within another application, choose the “Open in Other Application” option and select “Adobe Acrobat” within your Applications (MAC) or Program Files (Windows). Also, the main factor here is the flexibility of the output settings controllable from this interface.
In the example below, three images have been chosen
Then choose “File / Export” and set up the Post Processing options to call Adobe Acrobat once the image export has finished.
When Adobe Acrobat is used in the Post Processing application and the Export button is pressed the following screen is displayed.
Pressing “Yes” will enable Acrobat to join all exported files together, otherwise, they will open in individual PDF files.
During the assemble process Acrobat will update you and will look like the following
The benefit of creating PDF’s this way from Lightroom, is that you will have complete control of the quality and size of the PDF’s within the final PDF (controllable on the export settings), as well as the water marking and other options.
To demonstrate this I have created 2 example PDF’s (available for view using the links below) of the two exported files. You can see from the file size of two outputs (one full size PDF and one that contains images with 1500px on the long edge)
The files are viewable here
Once you are in Acrobat you can then do anything you like to the PDF document.
i.e.1 Add simple password protection to the document
i.e.2 – Add Bleed and Crop marks
First increase the size of the size of the pages by choosing the “Output Preview” under the Print Production menu.
Set the new document size under the “Change Page Size”, then apply the page size changes to either all or some of the pages within the document under the “Apply to” field.
Once the page size has been increased choose “Add Printer Marks” from under the “Print Production” menu.