Export to FTP with Lightroom

Written by on October 27, 2009 in News, Plugins - 47 Comments

When you’re making webgalleries in Lightroom you are able to upload your gallery directly to an FTP-server. But if you are a photographer who just wants to upload your files to an FTP-server, without the gallery files (html, flash etc.) you’re toast… until now.

Scott (Principal Photographer) mailed me and asked if I knew any good way to be able to just export the images to an FTP server.
He just needed a quick way to export his clients images into a folder on a server.

After some Googling without great results, I downloaded the Adobe Lightroom SDK and started to play around. Fortunately a sample plugin for FTP-uploads was available! So within a couple of hours I think I have saved, not only Scotts’ workflow-time in Lightroom, but a bunch of others who are looking for this feature in Lightroom. This is actually just a rip-off the sample plug-in that Adobe delivers with the Lightroom SDK. I’ve just put a logo on it and made it public to the rest of you!


PH FTP Upload plugin

PH FTP Upload plugin

PH FTP Upload plugin 3

Download the PH FTP Upload Plug-in and see the installation/usage video tutorial below:
Update (091031): Due to complaints from
Sean McCormack (see comment below) I have removed my PH logo in the plugin. If you want to have a “clean” plug-in you have to download the new one.

NEW: FTP Upload for Lightroom 3.0:
FTP Upload for Lightroom 3.0 (11763 downloads)

FTP Upload for Lightroom 2.0:
PH FTP-Upload (6524 downloads)

Please read:
In this video above I’ve just put my plugin on my desktop. You should put your plugins in a folder you won’t delete since Lightroom uses the plugin from that directory. If you delete the plugin from that directory, your plugin will be removed from Lightroom! Make a new folder called “Plugins” and place all of your plugins in it…

For LR2 users, you can place your plugins in this folder for convenient storage/usage (create the “plugin” folder):

Windows XP: %APPDATA%\Adobe\Lightroom\Plugins\
Windows Vista:  \Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Plugins\
Mac OSX: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Plugins/

Thx Jeffrey for the “Plugin”-folder tip.

About the Author

If you are a Lightroom lover like myself you probably going to adore this place. It's the paradise for all people who are looking for Lightroom presets. Make sure you subscribe to my posts to be first with the latest contributions. I wish you a very pleasant stay. Regards, Pierre

47 Comments on "Export to FTP with Lightroom"

  1. Joop Snijder October 27, 2009 at 9:59 pm ·

    Hi Pierre,

    Works great. Thanks for the effort. Do you test this plugin also against LR3? Keep up the good work!

  2. Pierre October 27, 2009 at 10:07 pm ·

    Hi Joop,
    Sure, I’ll check to see if it works in LR3, but since it still just a Beta release I think I wait.

  3. Daniel Mihai Condurachi - photographer from Iasi Romania October 28, 2009 at 7:59 am ·

    great little tool. Thank you!

  4. Sean McCormack October 31, 2009 at 3:00 am ·

    You added a PNG to the sample SDK code and you say it’s a new plugin?

  5. Pierre October 31, 2009 at 11:47 am ·

    Yes I added a PNG, but NO, I didn’t say it was a new plugin. I just made it visible/usable to all who doesn’t know what a SDK is. Most Lightroom users don’t even know what a plugin is, they just want their work flow to be faster and I think I helped them by revealing this plugin.
    Thanks for your comment.

  6. Sean McCormack October 31, 2009 at 4:47 pm ·

    You imply that by spending a few hours at it, you created a tool which was already available. I’m delighted that you have made this more readily available, because people are afraid of ‘SDK’s’ for no good reason. But by putting your logo into someone else’s work as the ‘Presets Heaven FTP plugin’ is, to me, fraudulent.

  7. Pierre October 31, 2009 at 9:13 pm ·

    Well Sean, since you think this is “fraudulent” I have removed the PH logo in the plug-in and replaced the download file with a new one. Case closed.

  8. Sean McCormack October 31, 2009 at 9:35 pm ·

    That absolutely was not what I was driving at. Having a PH branded plugin breaks no rules. My issues was that the text implied that your hard work led to the plugin based on the FTP sample, when you simply added a logo.
    I just think it would’ve better presented as ‘There was an FTP plugin with the SDK. With a little tweaking, I’m presenting you with a little gift, a Presets Heaven version of the FTP plugin’. No foul. That’s the height of it. Please, put back the PH version.

  9. Ian Worthington November 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm ·

    You turned a sample into a tool and were up front about it. Logo it.

  10. Joop Snijder November 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm ·


    May you can add some useful adjustments to the plugin. For instance during export the plugin shows the text Uploading x photo(s) by FTP. It would be nice to use the Preset name of the FTP settings. So as a user I’m sure I upload to the right site. I created a ShutterStock FTP Upload preset called ShutterStock and it would be nice to see during export Uploading x photo(s) to ShutterStock.

  11. Ruben Tavares February 6, 2010 at 10:39 pm ·

    Doesnt seem to work on Lightroom 2.5 64 Bits :(

  12. Pierre February 8, 2010 at 11:36 am ·

    Hi Ruben,
    What error do you get?
    Are you using Windows (version) or Mac (version)?

  13. Ruben Tavares February 8, 2010 at 12:34 pm ·

    Hi there, thanks for replying.

    Im using windows 7 64bits and Lightroom 2.5 (64bits)
    The plugin shows in the plugin manager but not on the export windows :S

  14. Pierre February 8, 2010 at 1:01 pm ·

    I think I know what the problem is…
    If you look at the second screenshot image above you’ll see that the FTP-plugin is chosen by the name of the title and my logo in the top. In the right corner you can also see 2 small arrows (one up and one down). Press this “button” and you’ll be able to chose the plugin.

    Did that solve your problem?

  15. Ruben Tavares February 8, 2010 at 1:12 pm ·

    Ok you got me there xD problem fixed :D thanks
    was looking for it on the user preset –‘

    Thanks :D

  16. Pierre February 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm ·

    Great! :-)

  17. Rob February 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm ·

    Hi Pierre,
    I am trying to use the plugin but am having problems. Every time I try to upload an image Lightroom says that it can’t create the directory. I am trying to place my images into an existing directory that the plugin can view from the setup screen. The priviliges are set to 777 and I am usind Lightroom 2.6 on Mac OS x 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


  18. Pierre February 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm ·

    Hi Rob,
    It’s hard to say what the problem might be.
    Have you tried to change the “passive mode” transfer setting under “custom settings”?
    See screenshot: http://img.skitch.com/20100209-m1ijju3hcrdcbybhi7rqf41aet.png


  19. Rob April 27, 2010 at 9:26 pm ·

    Hi Pierre,
    It took me a while to realise you had replied – sorry about that. I am using SFTP to log in to my server, so I don’t have the ability to change the passive mode. The plugin can access my server to get a directory listing, but when I try to export it still says that it can’t create the directory.

    Thanks for your help on the matter.

  20. Pierre April 27, 2010 at 10:32 pm ·

    You’re welcome Rob.
    Perhaps you can change the permissions on a folder via your ftp-client first, might work?

    Best regards,

  21. Rob April 28, 2010 at 8:52 am ·

    Hi Pierre,
    I set the folder up as 777 and tried to upload some images, but still no joy. I don’t have any access to the server’s logs so can’t look into that either. I guess I will have to keep uploading my images manually..


  22. Marc May 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm ·

    Windows 7 64bit
    Lightroom 2.7 64bit
    openSUSE 11.2 x86_64

    It also fails for me for SFTP on 64bit Win7. When editing the preset, I have an IP address, username and password set. If I browse I get an error dialog saying that “Cannot browse the FTP server, because invalid login.”. If I store a path, say for example “/tmp” and save the preset, then try to use it, I get an error saying “The specified FTP preset is incomplete and cannot be used.”

    In the plugin manager is says I have version “”

    I can log in to the server perfectly using putty ssh terminal.

  23. Eric June 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm ·

    With an FTP client I can create directory, but Lightroom 2 and 3 both fail (passive, non-passive, passive extended) to create directories. Once a directory created with the FTPclient, lightroom can ftp photos in that directory.

  24. Pierre June 28, 2010 at 11:47 pm ·

    Hi Eric,
    I’ve heard a couple of people have had problems with this plugin.
    Please check out the new version for LR 3.0 above and let me know if it works better for you.

  25. Eric September 11, 2010 at 9:12 pm ·

    Sorry for this late reaction, I’ve been to Venice on vacation :-)
    I installed the new version, but the problem persists.
    I read this on the net:

    It seems that the export plugin doesn’t like symbolic links. on my shared hosting, I have both a directory in my home called ‘www’ and “public_html”
    I used public_html instead of www as the full path and the plugin worked.
    so my full path (and I just typed this manually instead of browsing for it) is:
    That seems to work.

    I have just the IP adres and a personal folder/password for the FTP-server…


  26. Eric October 31, 2010 at 8:02 pm ·

    After replacing my router with a newer model, even uploading photos to an existing folder fails. Passive mode works fine with my website account, but a client uses an FTP-server that only accepts active mode (they say they can’t change this). I tried Aperture with Ãœberupload, but this also refuses to upload. Only a ftp-client seems to work with that FTP-server. I asked for the full path to the specific folder I need to upload my photos, but haven’t had an answer from them. I’ll contact the people from überupload to see if they know what’s going on…

  27. Radu November 17, 2010 at 6:19 pm ·

    Works great!
    You saved me a lot of clicking, thank you very much!


  28. Pierre November 17, 2010 at 7:53 pm ·

    Thanks Radu!

  29. cj December 16, 2010 at 7:25 am ·

    thanks worked great for me.

  30. Teff December 22, 2010 at 1:45 pm ·

    Doesn’t work with Lightroom 3.2. Plugin is ‘installed and running’ but it’s absent in Create New Publish Connection services list.

  31. amir January 8, 2011 at 10:07 am ·

    is there a way to upload a zip file that includes all the exported files? if not are there any plans to ad this feature to the next update?


  32. Pierre January 8, 2011 at 9:16 pm ·

    Hi Amir,
    No there is no function for that. Depending on what OS (win/mac) you’re running I think you could do a macro for that.
    Ex. Export images to a specific folder that is being scanned by a macro that executes a command to zip the files and finally upload them by FTP. Not sure how to do it but I think it’s possible. On mac… try searching Google for automator ftp scripts. Not sure what software to use for windows though.

  33. Peter January 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm ·

    I just installed this plugin into my LR 3 and I see it as option for “Export”.
    However, it would be nice if ftp is available also in Publish Connection
    services (like HardDrive or SmugMug or Flicker is). In that way LH
    manage the information about what pictures needs to be published or
    republished after beeing updated. Do you believe, you can extend this
    plugin for also this functionality?

  34. Pierre January 16, 2011 at 1:40 am ·

    Hi Peter,
    I understand your request. Timothy Armes is the Guru of Lightroom plugins. He has made the plugin you’re looking for. You can find it here: http://www.photographers-toolbox.com/products/ftppublisher.php

    Thanks!, Pierre

  35. Eric February 21, 2011 at 2:09 pm ·

    After half a year without ftp to an active/non passive ftp server, I finally found this solution:
    Using Transmit allows me to mount the mentioned ftp as a disk, and I can FTP by standard export function as if it was a physical hard drive. Works great!

  36. Hannu July 12, 2011 at 8:07 pm ·

    Just testing your plugin and othervise working great put it can not handle the “scandinavian” characters like Ã¥ ä ö. :(

    So having any of those non english chars in the folder name or in the file name will cause the transfer to fail. Anything you could do to fix that?

  37. Pierre July 13, 2011 at 12:53 am ·

    Hi Hannu.

    You shouldn’t use characters like space, Ã¥, ä, ö, comma etc, in your file- and folder names. This because not all web browsers (language specific OS) support them and therefor it might be impossible for a user to even see your images. This is probably the reason why the ftp plugin for LR won’t work. Name the folders and files and replace those characters with compatible ones… Ã… & Ä becomes A, Ö becomes O. “space” becomes _ and so on.

  38. Mark April 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm ·

    As pointed out earlier, if your FTP server has a symlink in the path, the export will fail. This is because the Lr SDK method ftpConnection.exists() returns “symlink” instead of “directory”. This is undocumented in the Lr SDK API spec, and the code does not support this return. You could try adding:

    elseif exists == ‘symlink’ then
    — Excellent, it exists, do nothing here.

    right after the check for “directory”.

    I also notice that the export fails if one of the components in the remote path has permissions set to deny directory listings. Unfortunately, I don’t have a suggestion for how to fix this.

  39. arthur April 5, 2012 at 11:19 am ·

    is this great plugin also available for LR4 yet?

  40. Andy April 30, 2012 at 10:51 pm ·

    Pierre, thanks for this great plugin. It was exactly what I needed, and was looking for. And it seems to work flawlessly with LR4.

  41. Evgeniy June 13, 2012 at 6:47 am ·

    Hello. Fine plugin, thank you. Tell me please how can I use FTP over explicit TLS/SSL with your plugin ?

  42. Luj August 17, 2012 at 11:37 am ·

    I’ve installed the plugin, it exports the picture properly to my FTP, however the picture exported doesn’t have the modifications I did with the develop mode (crop…)
    is it a normal behavior or something is going wrong ?

    thanks to advice


  43. Luj August 17, 2012 at 11:43 am ·

    sorry my mistake, it works just fine !

  44. Marco November 2, 2012 at 10:27 am ·

    I just downloaded this free plugin and installed it in Lightroom 4. Very easy to install and configure and it seems to work flawlessly too. It automagically finds the ftp settings (from Dreamweaver I think). Excellent plugin.

  45. iPhotoN June 12, 2014 at 11:11 pm ·

    thank you so much for this wonderful plug-in! Very easy and useful for me.

    Can you please make and update with passwords encryption for safety purposes?

  46. Andreas June 16, 2014 at 9:10 pm ·

    Hi Pierre!

    I am playing around with the plugin from the SDK but cannot find out how to get a logo on the top of the settings. Can you help me? (I just saw in the screenshots that you had the logo in your plugin before the complaints.)

    Thank you so much for an answer!


  47. Pierre June 24, 2014 at 1:27 pm ·

    Hi Andreas!
    It was way to long ago since I was playing with the SDK. Unfortunately I don’t remember how I did it :-/

    Best regards

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