How to Export RAW Files From Lightroom

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Lightroom is a versatile photo manipulation application that will allow you to import RAW files or shoot tethered, edit the RAW data and then export the files as JPEGs. Learning how to export RAW files from Lightroom will help you share the same original files and edits with other people.

How to Export RAW Files From Lightroom

A RAW file contains the unprocessed and uncompressed data captured by a digital camera. That means RAW images contain all the data you need to manipulate the exposure, white balance, and contrast, giving you greater control over the final image as you process it yourself.

However, many devices don’t support RAW images, so you won’t be able to share them on mobile devices, social media platforms, or even print them. The file sizes of RAW images are also considerably large, and they might fill up your hard drive space.

A RAW editor such as Lightroom allows you to import and edit the RAW files. You can then use the following methods to export them as the original RAW files with their corresponding .xmp files for further editing, or process and export them as JPEG images.

Exporting RAW Files From Lightroom Using the Export Dialog Box

Sometimes you might be working on the images as a team, and you may want to share them with someone else for further editing. Usually, you will want to share the images in RAW format so the person can have flexibility when editing.

However, if you copy the original RAW file you are working on in Lightroom, your edits will not be included in the shared copy. Instead, you will be sharing the original unedited file with your edits lost. You can avoid this by using the following export tips to share the original image with the edits included.

Select the Images

Keeping in mind that you might have a large collection of images, the first step is to select the images you want to export. Usually, you can view and sort the images you want to export from the Library Module using the following steps.

Selecting images from Lightroom
  1. Locate the photos you want to export by navigating to the Library Module at the top of the main window. Usually, the Library Module is the default module Lightroom will open once you launch it.
  2. Expand the folders in the Folders panel located on the left-hand side of the interface. The files in the folders will look the way they are in the drive, and you can use this panel to view and sort the images you want to export from the various folders and subfolders.
  3. If you want to export all the images, click on one of them and then hit the keyboard shortcut keys Ctrl + A if you’re using a Windows PC or Command + A if using a mac to highlight all of them.
  4. If you want to select one file, simply click on it. However, if you want to select multiple non-sequential images, hold down the Ctrl key if you are using a Windows PC or the Command key if using a Mac, and then click on the images.

Export the Selected Images

With the images selected, open the export dialog box by right-clicking on the highlighted photos and then choosing Export in the drop-down menu. Alternatively, you can go to File on the left-hand upper corner of the interface and select Export.

Selecting the Export tool in Lightroom
  1. Confirm that you have selected the right number of images and that the file extensions are correct before exporting. Usually, Lightroom will show the number of images to export below the Export To option.
  2. Lightroom will choose to export to Hard Drive by default. If you want to share the files using a flash drive, keep the Hard Drive option and in the Export location panel, choose Specific Folder and then click on Flash Drive.
Selecting where to export the photos from Lightroom
  1. Expand the File Settings panel by clicking on the small triangle on the right-hand side of the name.
  2. In the Image Format option, choose Original. Typically, this option will tell Lightroom to export the image as a RAW file. Keep in mind that the exported files won’t necessarily have a file extension of .RAW. Instead, the files will have the file extension that corresponds to the RAW format of the camera that shot the image, such as .ARW, .PEF, .CR2 or.NEF
  3. You can leave the other options in their default settings and then click on the Export button. Since Lightroom is a non-destructive photo-editing software and stores the edits in a separate file, your edits won’t be included in the exported file. Instead, you will find the original image and .xmp file that contains your edits in your export location.
Exporting files into a hard drive

Exporting RAW Files From Lightroom Using Presets

Keeping in mind that the export dialog box has many other settings such as Image Sizing, Output Sharpening, Metadata, and Watermarking, it can be challenging to remember the exact settings you used, especially if you change the default export settings and you still want uniformity in your exports.

It can also be tedious and time-consuming to enter the same settings over and over. You can speed up the export process by using the Lightroom built-in export presets, or use the following steps to create a custom export preset.

Enter the Preset Settings

Usually, you can create an export preset even before selecting the images to export. Simply launch the export dialog box by navigating to File on the left-hand upper corner of the interface and selecting Export

Adjusting the export preset settings

Expand the different panels by clicking on the small triangles on the left-hand side of their names and enter the settings of your choice. Since you want to export RAW images, remember to set the Image Format as Original.

Creating a new name for your preset settings

Instead of choosing the Export To location like in the above steps, it’s advisable to leave it as Choose folder later (useful for presets), so you can choose the export location when exporting. Click on the Add button, enter the name of the preset, choose the folder to put the preset, and then click on the Create button.

Export the RAW Images

Before exporting, you will need to select the images you want to export using any of the above selection methods. However, when you navigate to File, choose the Export with Preset option instead of Export.

Exporting the RAW images in Lightroom

Usually, you will only need to enter the file’s name and choose the folder you want to export to, and Lightroom will use the preset settings to populate the other settings. Note that you can edit some of the preset settings after choosing it before clicking on Export.

However, if you want to keep the modified settings as a new preset to use in future exports, click on Add, enter the name and location of the new preset, and click on Create. Usually, exporting RAW images using presets is faster and ensures uniformity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Export a RAW Image From Lightroom to Photoshop?

You can export a RAW image from Lightroom to Photoshop by selecting it from the Library Module, selecting Edit In, and then selecting Edit in Adobe Photoshop. Usually, this will launch Photoshop and open the exported image as the background layer.

Is Exporting JPEGs the Same as Exporting RAW Images?

Exporting JPEGs is the same as exporting RAW images from Lightroom, only that you will need to set the Image Format to JPEG instead of Original. That means you can export directly or use export presets.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to export RAW files from Lightroom will help you send the same RAW images to other people for further editing without losing your edits. You can export the images by selecting and exporting them as Original or using custom export presets.