Comparing the Automattic Lightroom Plugin to Imagely Lightroom Plugin for WordPress

Comparing the Automattic Lightroom Plugin to Imagely Lightroom PluginAutomattic, the company behind WordPress.com and the original developer of the WordPress software, has created a Lightroom plugin.

It's about time, as many content management system competitors have their Lightroom plugins already.

The interesting part is that their plugin was announced and released hours after we did the same to ours WordPress Lightroom Plugin.

Before you go wondering if you should use one versus the other, I wanted to compare the two, so you have more of an understanding.

Automattic's Lightroom Plugin

See the plugin here.

Really Awesome

  • It's 100% Free
  • It's easy to setup with only a couple clicks
  • There is now an official Lightroom plugin for WordPress!

Awesome

  • It requires Jetpack or a site on WordPress.com
  • It is an export plugin
  • It uses XML-RPC (sorry, I know that's technical), which is prone to security blocks
  • Many photographers will think this is the ultimate solution for their problems when it's not

Imagely's Lightroom Plugin

See the plugin here.

Really Awesome

  • It will never be blocked
  • It's a publishing service
  • It comes with a desktop application which talks to NextGEN Gallery for guaranteed success

Awesome

  • Requires site credentials and FTP or SFTP credentials to use
  • Requires NextGEN Gallery
  • Paid, but comes with NextGEN Pro, Themes & Plugins or Lifetime plans

Lightroom Plugins

Now that you see a breakdown, let's dig in a bit more, shall we?

In Lightroom, there are two ways you can export images. One is a simple export which is a one-time thing. Think of it like going into Photoshop and clicking Save As.

When exporting from Lightroom, you specify where you want it to go, like a Hard Drive.  You then specify your compression, resizing, if you want it sharpened, metadata included and much more. You can add things like the JPEGMini Pro module.

Export Plugin

Exports are once and done.

And the Automattic Lightroom plugin is an export plugin. Which means instead of picking a Hard Drive to export to, you are picking a WordPress website.

As mentioned in the list above, if you have a self-hosted WordPress website, then Jetpack is required. Even if you do not use Jetpack on your site, you would have to install it just to use the plugin. That's not the end of the world, as Jetpack includes many great features like the ability to use the WordPress desktop app for Mac and Windows.  It also has its own analytics, related posts and much more.

Publishing Service

A publishing service is like an enhanced export plugin. With a publishing service, you can publish, edit, republish, and even delete images from a location. Publishing services also offer the ability to organize the content.

Here are some examples:

  • The Facebook plugin allows you to upload to Facebook Photo Albums using Collections
  • The 500px plugin allows you to upload to 500px Galleries or your public profile, using Collections
  • The SmugMug plugin allows you to upload to SmugMug Galleries using Collections.

We took the same approach as these, for the Imagely Lightroom plugin, and we did it because NextGEN Gallery can handle the organization. And we know photographers prefer full control over their photographs. So we did not want to offer a limitation with basic exports.

  • A NextGEN Gallery is the same as a Lightroom Collection
  • A NextGEN Gallery Album is the same as a Lightroom Collection Set

The final benefit of a publishing service is the potential for 2-way sync. This is something we're working on for the future. But currently, we do not offer it.  2-way sync is the idea that any galleries that are on your WordPress site within NextGEN Gallery will eventually become a Collection within the publishing service in your Lightroom catalog.

Optimize Your Photos

I know many photographers have some concerns about Lightroom plugins for WordPress, so let me address some of them here.

  • Uploading from Lightroom to some slower performing hosts could be problematic. Shared hosting has a tendency to lock up when large chunks of data are sent to it. The Imagely Lightroom plugin addresses this issue and does not slow down. It also does not slow down your website while a transfer is in process. This is thanks to the intelligent application we built with our plugin.
  • When uploading to your website you still need to think about image SEO.  So think about adding descriptions and titles ahead of time. Remember to use correct filenames for your images. And don't forget to use JPEGMini Pro, so your images are compressed.
  • Check out The Ultimate Social Image Template for a bonus mini-course on image optimization.

Complimentary Lightroom Plugins

We think it's important to make it understood that the Automattic Lightroom plugin can be complimentary to the Imagely Lightroom plugin. Here's why.

The Imagely plugin works as a publishing service, as previously stated.  The Automattic plugin works as a simple export. Use the two together and you have an easy way to manage your portfolios, proofing galleries and even quick exports to the Media Library.  They won't butt heads, and they both have their place.

Lightroom Plugins for WordPress

To wrap up this article, we thought it would be good to share some of the many Lightroom plugins for WordPress.

This is just a handful of the plugins available.  Just keep in mind what we shared here, and the importance of publishing services over simple exports.

Share this with other photographers

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Great article i will dig in and try understand why i need a publishing service, i think my theme does that. My theme uses wp/lr but seems very complicated.

    1. WP/LR is another Lightroom and WordPress plugin. You may not need a publishing service. But we’ve compared export and publishing services, so you’ll need to figure out for yourself what’s best for your photography website.

  2. Will this work with a wordpress.com hosted site? If so, it sounds great, publishing is better than simple exporting, at least for me.

    1. NextGEN Gallery is only available on self-hosted WordPress sites, which means the Lightroom plugin can only be used with the same. We recommend switching from a WordPress.com site to a self-hosted site so you have more control over your site.

  3. So the Imagely Lightroom Plugin will have control (such as republishing edits, deleting, sorting) over galleries and images that were initially published using the plugin, but (at this point) does not take over control of pre-existing NEXTGen Galleries that were created outside of lightroom?

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    1. Right now the plugin does not offer 2-way sync so it will only allow editing and new galleries and albums created within the Lightroom plugin. Down the road we want to add 2-way sync for control over existing galleries and albums.

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