|Example of Lightroom plugin (JF data plot)|
If you’ve every said “I wish Lightroom would let me do X”, then you might be interested in a plug-in. These little packages provide a powerful way to extend the functionality and capabilities of Lightroom in a number of different areas. There are plug-ins for exporting images to other sites like Flickr, Facebook, or 500px; adding more options to the LIbrary Filter; managing and consolidating your keywords; adding new file types for exporting; and analyzing your catalog for camera, lens, and focal length usage. If you regularly send your images to retail stores for printing, there is likely an extension that will allow you to export directly from Lightroom to the store.
Finding Plug-Ins For Lightroom
A good place to start
your search is at the Adobe Plug-In Exchange. The Exchange has a combination of both free and pay plug-ins and presets. Some are for older versions of Lightroom and may not work or may no longer be necessary, and some may be only for Windows or Mac, so check the compatibility information before you download.
There are also a lot of offerings outside of the Exchange, so a Google search will also give you good results. Just use common sense to make sure what you are downloading is safe.
Once you find a plug-in that you want to install, you will need to download it. Even if you’re downloading it from a reputable site, it’s always a good idea to leverage your antivirus software to make sure the file that you downloaded is clean. Norton and common sense are your best friend here. If the file you downloaded is zipped, you’ll need to extract the plug-in file itself, which will have a .lrplugin extension. I recommend not leaving the file it in your Download folder because if you clean that folder out regularly, you’ll inadvertently delete your plug-in and have to re-download and reinstall it
Installing A Plug-In
To add a plug-in, open the Plug-in Manager by navigating to File > Plug-in Manager
The Plug-in Manager is your dashboard that lists all of the plug-ins that you have installed in Lightroom and whether each is enabled or disabled. Even if you haven’t installed any yourself, Lightroom ships with a handful that allow you to integrate in to popular photo-sharing sites and provide the tethering support for your camera.
To add a plug-in to Lightroom, click the Add button to open Finder or Windows Explorer. Navigate to the location of your .lrplugin file, and either double-click or select it and click Add Plug-in.