If you are struggling to find Lightroom’s resize button, you are not alone. There actually isn’t a “resize” button in Lightroom! You may think this is an oversight on the part of Lightroom’s developers, but it is actually because instead of the basic resize option you are probably looking for, Lightroom has a much more powerful and flexible way for you to resize your images. Just like any other edit you make in Lightroom, resizing is non-destructive. Instead of permanently resizing the original image, you will create a new copy with a combination of cropping and exporting that ends up the size you want. Unless you are trying really hard, you won’t be able to accidentally overwrite your original image with a lower-resolution or resized version. Your master version will always be preserved!
How to Resize Images in Lightroom
The resize options in Lightroom can be found in the Export dialogue. To get there, go to your top toolbar, select “File”, and then “Export” from that menu.
The Export dialogue will then open up. Scroll down until you see “Image Sizing”, and then select “Resize to Fit”. At this point, you will be presented with several options for resizing.
The options for resizing can be selected through a drop-down menu in the “Image Sizing” box in the Export dialogue:
Option 1: Width and Height
In this option, you can select your dimensions in either pixels, inches, or centimetres, as well as select your resolution. This is the quick and easy way to set your pixels and resolution. If you will be sharing your photo online, a good resolution to go with is around 72 ppi (pixels per inch), but if you will be printing your photo, you will want a much higher resolution! For print, a resolution of around 240-300 ppi is ideal.
Option 2: Dimensions
You can also set your image to a specific dimension. For example, if you are printing your photo, you may want to set it to dimensions such as 8 inches by 10 inches, or any other standard photo size.
With this option though, it is important to keep in mind that resizing is not the same as cropping your image! If you have not cropped your image in Lightroom previous to exporting and resizing using this method, Lightroom will simply resize your image as close as it can get to the dimensions you entered, but it may not be exact. The best way to make sure you are getting the right aspect ratio is to crop your image to that ratio first.
Option 3: Long Edge and Short Edge
With this feature, you can choose to edit either the long or short edge of your image, and then Lightroom will automatically adjust the rest of the dimensions for you. This can be a handy way of resizing images if you are editing your photo to be shared online, as many websites and blogs require a specific pixel measurement on one edge of each image.
Option 4: Megapixels
Sometimes it is not the actual dimensions of your photo that matters, but the size of the actual file. In this case, it can be useful to resize by megapixels. This may come in handy if you will be emailing your photos, or if you don’t want your photos to take up too much space on your blog or website.
Create Sizing Presets
There may be a certain size or way of exporting your photos that you use often, in which case it will be very beneficial to you to save these settings as a preset. To do this, simply set your export and resizing settings as you desire, and then in the export dialogue, select “Add” (this can be found in the lower left side of the box).
After naming your preset, simply click “Create” and your settings will be saved! When you go to export photos in the future, all of your sizing presets can be found under “User Presets”.
Resizing without Overwriting the Original
One of the greatest benefits of Lightroom is its non-destructive editing. You can make drastic changes to your photo without actually changing anything on the original preserving your master image. The same principle applies to resizing. You can rest assured that you can resize your images in Lightroom without accidentally overwriting your original image with a smaller version. It is possible to overwrite your original file, but it is honestly very difficult and you would have to put real effort in to make it happen! To be on the safe side, always make sure you select “Use Unique Name” when exporting your photos.
Why Resize an Image?
The large images your camera takes are great for printing your images, but most websites won’t let you upload high resolution images, meaning you will have to resize your images to fit properly. When you upload photos to Facebook, Facebook will automatically down-size, the image, but will do so in a way that degrades the quality of the image. It is better to resize your images yourself; that way, you are in full control of how your photo will look in the end and you can ensure the quality of the image is retained.