The New PhotoShelter Publish Service for Adobe Lightroom

The New PhotoShelter Publish Service for Adobe Lightroom

We’re very excited to announce an officially-supported PhotoShelter Publish Service for Adobe Lightroom. After the release of our first Lightroom plug-in earlier this year, we wanted to update it with features that would give Lightroom users much more control over their PhotoShelter accounts without leaving Lightroom. This update, which replaces our existing export plug-in, is a big step in that direction.

In addition to the normal export features, the new Publish Service tracks any changes you make to your original files in Lightroom and gives you the option of updating the version on PhotoShelter automatically – making it easier than ever to ensure that your PhotoShelter website stays up-to-date.

Watch the video below for a walk-through of some of the main features. To download your copy and see step-by-step installation instructions, visit our Support Center.

What’s new in this version? A wealth of features that let you make updates to your PhotoShelter account directly from Lightroom, including:

  • Option to upload to via the Publish Service feature
  • Create new published collections and galleries
  • Mark published images as searchable
  • List or unlist collections and galleries
  • Change visibility for collections and galleries
  • Rename collections and galleries
  • Edit collection or gallery description
  • Improved upload speed
  • Additional image sizing options
  • Added watermarking options
  • Automatic update detection when new version is available
  • Support for Multi-User accounts
  • Bug fixes and improvements to the export features

What if I use the Pact Software Plug-in?
This plug-in is officially supported by PhotoShelter’s Product and Development teams. As such, we’re committed to the release of new features and improvements on an ongoing basis. When you install the PhotoShelter plug-in, the Pact version will be disabled in the Lightroom plug-in manager but not deleted – you can re-enable it at any time. The PhotoShelter version will detect and make updates to any image previously published using the Pact plug-in.

If you have specific questions about the differences between the PhotoShelter and Pact Software versions, please visit our Support Center or email

CAUTION: Be sure to back up your Lightroom catalog before installing any new plug-ins.

A Word of Thanks
The entire PhotoShelter team would like to extend its extreme gratitude to Paul Kamphuis for his selfless dedication and support for the Pact Lightroom plug-in he originally built which many of our members use. An official PhotoShelter Publish Service would not have been possible without the foundation of the Pact Publish Service into which he poured years of development, improvements and support. Thank you Paul!

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There are 40 comments for this article
  1. wilfried feder at 5:59 am

    sounds great!
    one question though: the publish service settings (export size) apply to the all my images in the Photoshelter publisg service, right? Because i have some collections with small, watermarked images. Would be awesome, if we could select specific setting for collections/ galleries. thanks

    • Chris Owyoung Author at 5:45 pm

      Hi Wilfried,

      Yes, each publish service will use the same export settings for any image that you add to it. I always upload the high resolution files to PhotoShelter and use PhotoShelter’s watermarks (which are non-destructive) so that I have another backup copy of my work in the cloud.

      If you absolutely need to continue uploading watermarked low resolution images, you could create two separate PhotoShelter Publish Services and use one for high res files and the other for low res.

      To be clear, I’m not recommending this practice at all. That said, here’s how you do it –

  2. Patrick Cunningham at 8:05 am

    **Cross-posted on the Photoshelter forum**

    Andrew and all the team, and of course the redoubtable Paul Kamphuis:

    Thank you all. It took a while, but it is very much appreciated. Without in any way dismissing Paul’s unstinting work, it is a relief to have this vital tool in-house and fully supported by PhotoShelter.

    If possible I would like the next version to include the option to update metadata only. Ideally, the plugin would recognise images where the metadata has been changed but not the picture itself and do this automatically.

    The plugin installed faultlessly and took over my existing Pact plugin publish service seamlessly. I didn’t even have to go through the steps described to install it through the Plug-in Manager, I just put the extracted files in the default plug-ins folder and it did the rest.

    But I can’t work out how to change permissions, visibility etc. The Photoshelter metadata viewer preset is no longer available and the ‘All Plug-in Metadata’ preset doesn’t show the Photoshelter fields. Possibly I’m being dense, but…

    A little suggestion: could you add a ‘cancel’ button to the File>Plug-in Extras>Synchronise with PhotoShelter menu dialog? I selected this option but it seemed to hang and I had to cancel the operation.

    Is it now possible to add an image to an additional gallery without uploading a new copy of the pixel file? I haven’t tried this yet.

    Patrick Cunningham

    • Chris Owyoung Author at 2:28 pm

      Hi Patrick,

      Thanks for the feedback. We’re already planning the next round of updates.

      Update Metadata Only – This is absolutely something we’re looking into. I very much wanted to have this feature supported for this release but much to my dismay, Lightroom itself does not differentiate between Develop changes and Metadata changes. This omission essentially leaves us with 3 possible solutions:

      1) Re-upload every time (this is the current behavior)
      2) Ask the user to choose whether to update metadata or re-upload (the pact behavior)
      3) Build a separate system that can compare the LR version with the PhotoShelter version and intelligently determine what should happen

      We decided to release with solution #1 while we figure out if solution #3 will work reliably. I personally felt that it would be better to release something reliable now instead of spending an unforeseeable amount of time chasing a feature that Lightroom itself does not support.

      The PhotoShelter Metadata Viewer Preset – This feature was not included in this release. I have some questions about the value of this information. I’ll email you to clarify.

      Add a ‘cancel’ button to the Synchronize with PhotoShelter dialog – This is also a good suggestion. On the same note we’re also looking into adding a ‘progress bar’ to the Synchronize feature so that you always know if it’s ‘still going.’

      Add an image to an additional gallery without uploading a new copy of the pixel file – Yes. As long as the image was already published once you can add it other galleries without uploading a new pixel file.

      Separately, we are going to look into a reliable solution to the problem of images that exist in Lightroom but were uploaded to PhotoShelter outside of the publish service. Specifically: Is there some combination of EXIF or IPTC that will reliably “find” photos on PhotoShelter and link them to the original in Lightroom after the fact.

      • Patrick Cunningham at 9:11 pm


        Thanks; I suspected there might be a technical snag. Have you contacted (well, tried to contact) Adobe?

        When I clicked ‘synchronise’ a normal Lightroom progress bar appeared but didn’t show any progress! I cancelled it; not sure I need to synchronise – I’m not clear what it does, but I’ll do it and let it run tomorrow.

        Good news indeed about adding a photo to another gallery!

        For me, the last feature would be useful for synchronising after uploading images in the field instead of from the main computer. Of course it would be pretty essential for someone wanting to start using the publish service after having uploaded lots of images otherwise. Paul’s iteration of that worked great for me, but luckily my file naming convention was helpfully nearly unique, consistent and persistent – I decided to sacrifice the seo value of descriptive file names.

        I look forward to hearing from you re: metadata preset.

      • Jake Norton at 3:46 pm

        On your last point, Chris, I’d think the simplest way from (perhaps) a coding standpoint would be to allow us to drag photos that already exist on our PS site into their respective collections/galleries within the plugin and then, assuming they have the same filenames and extensions as the ones existing on PS, the plugin would then overwrite the server files with the LR version and keep a record. I’d think this would be a relatively easy way to do it – would require a bit of work for all of us, but still a workable solution.

        Thanks for all the efforts on this!

        • Chris Owyoung Author at 4:28 pm

          Hi Jake, that is a good idea however many of our members change their filenames (either on export or on PhotoShelter). To further complicate the matter, PhotoShelter supports images with the exact same file name. The solution will likely have to use multiple static datapoints to be effective (For example: Date/Time Captured + Sub-second Time + Camera Serial Number). Again, this problem is at the top of the list for future updates.

          • Ed Bacon at 10:49 am

            Perhaps storing a unique PhotoShelter id in the the LR metadata for the file would make this type of tracking easier. Though I imagine there might be a rather chatty dialog between plugin and server.

      • Ed Bacon at 10:41 am


        I greatly appreciate the renewed plugin, and a particular thanks to Paul.

        Regarding update metadata only: I wish you had implemented #2, while still working on #3. I got used to the prior mechanism in my workflow.

        Regarding the PhotoShelter metadata: please bring it back. While I did not often use the viewer, I do rely on the metadata field in a number of Smart Collections and in the Filter bar. For example I have a smart collection of images published to PhotoShelter but not yet registered with the Library of Congress. I use the filter bar to find images in a particular project that are (or are not yet) somewhere on PhotoShelter. I know that I can work around this with a dedicated keyword, but other publishing services use their own metadata field.


  3. Solvin at 3:23 pm

    Please include 2 – the pact behavior. Updating only metadata that is were the fun starts. That is what we need to save time! It works great in Pact plugin publish service.

    Thanks to everyone making it possible…

    • Chris Owyoung Author at 3:13 pm

      Hi Solvin,

      If we cannot find a fully automated way for the plug-in to know the difference between IPTC-only and Develop changes, we’ll most certainly consider bringing back the pact behavior.

  4. Simon Maxwell at 5:49 pm

    This is great news and I am looking forward to incorporating it into my workflow. Can I meanwhile also chime in with a big THANK YOU to Paul Kamphuis for his work on the PACT software which I have been using until now. His development of a method to mirror the Lightroom catalogue with Photoshelter collections was the reason I continued using Photoshelter: the saving in time (and disc space!) is invaluable, i.e. not having to export final versions and upload independently of Lightroom. Knowing that my commercial and personal shoots are safely backed up off site and kept up to date with adjustments helps me sleep easy at night! Automatic update promises to be an even more efficient feature. Good news!

  5. Steve Davey at 5:27 am

    In truth, without the ability to only update metadata, then this plug-in falls behind the PACT version. Often I am uploading images on the road, on a poor web connection. If I need to change metadata, I simply cannot re-upload the entire image.

    So way of globally updating all changes would be fantastic. Having to do it by collection is a drag.

    Ditto the thanks to Paul. Hope that his work has been reflected financially by Photoshelter as well as individual photographers.

  6. Michael at 11:41 pm

    Sorry if this is a silly question, but since most of us have mature galleries already established in Photoshelter, by starting now to use the publish function, we get the lists downloaded to our lightroom catalog, but our images (already uploaded into photo shelter) are disconnected from the publish service since they were loaded before its installation….. is there a way to either download images back from Photoshelter into Lightroom to establish a consistent starting point (not very efficient/duplicating images), or somehow link images from within lightroom into the publish collections so that there is a way to live in Lightroom and be aware of what currently exists in photo shelter….

    I guess the problem I am trying to solve is how do you get the benefits from this tool if you already have a photo shelter account already loaded with images (from lightroom).

    Thanks for any guidance….


    • Patrick Cunningham at 12:53 pm

      The original Pact plugin on which this is based had a function which attempted to connect your existing Phtoshelter archive to your Lightroom archive when you first set it up. It worked pretty well for me, but I think that many people had difficulties with it. If your images on Photoshelter use different filenames from their counterparts in Lightroom it makes matching the two archives difficult, and I think there are various other technical and organisational difficulties to achieving this automatically.

      I had to re-upload only a handful of image files when I originally set up the Pact plugin, because my workflow and file naming were already pretty disciplined, and the new, fully supported plugin has taken over the already connected archives, so I don’t have the problems others have experienced. Maybe I’ve just been lucky.

      I fully understand that if you have never used the Pact plugin and you want to connect your Lightroom archive to your Photoshelter archive, you have a major problem right now. I would suggest that you hold fire for a while to see if Photoshelter will come up with a solution. If you had the Pact plugin, I would imagine that you have the same outcome as me, so you should be OK.

      You might try installing the Pact plugin first to see if it will connect up your two archives, but I would very, very strongly advise that you do that on a copy of your Lightroom catalogue (or that you back up your catalog first and expect to have to revert to the backup if it doesn’t work, so treat it as an experimental catalog). If the outcome is good, you could then move over to the new plugin.

      The lack of any way to identify which images are on Photoshelter within Lightroom with the new plugin is a problem too, but I’m confident that they will fix that one soon.

      Patrick Cunningham

    • Chris Owyoung Author at 3:26 pm

      Hi Michael,

      I would suggest using the plug-in for new work-only. We are most definitely looking into a solution for the problem of how to get images that were previously uploaded to PhotoShelter linked back to the originals in Lightroom.

      As Patrick notes in his comment, since the image on PhotoShelter could have vastly different IPTC, size, filename, etc. from the original in Lightroom, it’s not as simple as “making the filenames match.” The solution (assuming we can find one that works reliably) is going to require the plug-in to check multiple pieces of data per image to try and find a match.

      I personally have ~50K images in my PhotoShelter account that are not linked back to Lightroom and I’m as eager for solution as you are.

  7. David Madison at 1:31 pm

    Could we please get back the ability to see the photoshelter metadata? This is how I can tell if something is on PS already. Why is this hidden? What is the question about the value of this information, Chris O? Please let us all in on this, not just the earlier poster

    • Chris Owyoung Author at 4:38 pm

      Hi David,

      Yes this feature is being considered for a future update. I upload close to 100% of my “keepers” to PhotoShelter but if you don’t, I certainly understand why this information would be useful.

  8. Steve at 4:32 pm

    So, am I the only one thinking that the Pact Plug-in just beats the current PS offering hands down, and why the hell couldn’t they have bought up Paul’s excellent plug-in and developed that? Instead, they seem to have tried to re-invent the wheel and come up with a lovely square design!

  9. Sam at 10:25 pm

    October 23, 2014 at 2:44 pm
    Please include version 2 – the pact behavior! That is were the speed starts! Re-uploding is not an option. Thanks!

    I have tried to update only metadata but it fails so have to update full image replacement. What version are you talking about, @Solvin? Where is PACT V2

  10. Mike H at 9:37 pm

    I agree with making sure metadata can be changed without re-uploading. When I used Pact Plug-in, don’t anymore because of other issues. I’d love to see in your update the matching of metadata items exactly as Lightroom has them. I use one that is overlooked on PS called “Copy Name” it helps with many naming problems. Also use “Headline” which is something else at PS. I know this is a lot, but it would simplify greatly.
    I’m going to wait for vers 2, Thanks for your hard work & great site.

  11. Peter at 6:56 am

    +1 on the metadata only update as the pact software – got to happen.
    Also I don’t see any function to add pricing profiles as part of the upload / sync so I still have to go the the PS site and do it there. Am I missing something?

  12. Gavin Gough at 4:51 am

    I’m pleased to see Photoshelter developing this functionality and would just like to chip-in with my own preferences for future development.

    1. The ability to update “Metadata Only” is a great time-saver, especially for those of us living with slower internet connections. When it can take several hours to upload a few hi-res files, needing to upload all the files again just to make simple data changes is frustrating.

    2. The “On Photoshelter” metadata field was really helpful. It was available when building Smart Collections and its absence has broken my carefully and somewhat elegantly-deigned workflow.
    It was a little surprising to see that the Photoshelter plug-in disabled the Pact plug-in, which, in turn, corrupted any Smart Collections where that Metadata criteria was included .

    These two features made the Pact plug-in one of those rare additions which really saved time and streamlined the workflow process. For me, a plug-in without these two functions doesn’t really give me many benefits. I’m failing to see what real use the plug-in is until these options have been restored.

  13. Jacques-Jean Tiziou at 12:12 pm

    Hi Chris, and happy new year!

    I’m excited about this plugin and have high hopes for the next incarnation.

    As you mentioned, it’s great to be able to have PhotoShelter as a cloud based backup of our archive.

    To that end, I’m really still waiting for this thing to be able to sync up our local archives with what’s on PhotoShelter. Ideally, I’d have a mirror of my local archive up on PhotoShelter, with matching folders and filenames. From there, of course, some folders would be made public, others kept private, and some images also linked into other galleries for public ‘portfolio’ consumption.

    I already basically have this mirroring setup, as I sent you guys drives a while back with medium res versions of absolutely everything. I literally have a million images in my archive, which makes changing stuff manually somewhat unwieldy. There should be an automated way to figure this stuff out.

    I recognize that it’s more complex for users who change filenames all over the place, but for those of us who want to have a mirror of our archives, could you build in a simple way where we could say “hey this year 2004 folder on PhotoShelter corresponds to this 2004 folder in Lighroom, and so do all of the subfolders, so please sync them all up?”

    I’ve got a pretty simple and consistent archive structure that looks like this:

    YYYY / YYYYMM / YYYYMMDDx_keyword / YYYYMMDDx_keyword_0123.nef

    – Given that it’s consistent and the filename bases are unchanged, it should be so easy for some software to make all of those links between the files, right?

    Right now, I have Paul’s older plugin installed, and it’s replicated all of the folder structures, but leaves a lot of galleries seeming empty in the Lightroom publish service, whereas they’ve got versions already live in PhotoShelter. If I want to upload higher res versions of images in a gallery without breaking previous links to that gallery, right now that means going into the gallery in Photoshelter, deleting all of the images, and then manually dragging them in Lightroom back into the publish service to reupload them into the same gallery… after that, it works well as a publish service. But obviously with hundreds of older galleries, that’s a riotous pain in the butt that should be automated.

    Any chance of this happening?

    Many thanks,

    • Patrick Cunningham at 7:13 pm

      It strikes me that the problem really only lies with folks who have existing Lightroom and Photoshelter archives which are not connected. Someone starting from scratch using the new publish service should never need to re-connect his/her archives. And someone who has an already connected setup (which is my situation) will also not need to.

      So it may be that the effort needed to develop a foolproof tool to make the connection may be greater than developing a less robust semi-automatic tool and ‘holding our hands’ through the process of making the connection on a one-by-one basis. I reckon most people would be OK spending a bit of time on a one-off setup, so something which does a decent job of finding the majority of matches and has the ability for the user to match up and connect the others should be good enough.

      If the tool is going to be used only a dozen times that’s one thing. If it will be required two hundred times that is different. Do you (Photoshelter) know how many users need it?

      It has been a long wait from version 1.0. It would be great to have at least a 1.1 version which puts back the essentials which were stripped out of the Pact version (ie update metadata only, display of Photoshelter Image ID and status in Lightroom), even if only on a temporary-fix basis.

      It’s one thing to stagger on for a week or two with substantial defects. it is something else if that situation continues for three months – which is coming up fast.

      Patrick Cunningham

      • Jacques-Jean Tiziou at 3:04 pm

        Agreed -> Even if it takes some manual assigning of corresponding folders, it shouldn’t be *too* hard, given that my stuff is really consistently named and structured. Something that matches by filenames and folders and drills down to include subfolders should be plenty fine and relatively easy to automate, right?

  14. Patrick Cunningham at 5:10 pm

    Nothing but a deafening silence on this. It has been well over FOUR MONTHS since this first release, which cannot be viewed as other than a beta release. Why the lack of progress? Can we EVER expect any progress?

  15. Ali Erhan at 9:36 am


    I love the way LR plug-in works in sync with my galleries. Integration is very easy to work with.

    Few options for future releases will be useful, in particular for photo journalists.

    1) The behaviour of “TARGET COLLECTION”
    Once a target collection is selected, an option to publish immediately as images are added to the target gallery.

    As I’m covering a football game, I have Auto import enabled, which allows me to import images as I shoot. Once imported and re-located to final directory, most images are ready for upload after minor editing and tagging. I have been using export to PhotoShelter option once the image is ready for upload.
    If the image gets uploaded once it goes into target collection, my workflow will be much faster than exporting in small batches.
    Also this will lead to a queuing mechanism to prevent multiple uploads literally over-heating my laptop.

    2) What to do if a file with the same name exists.
    Similar to export to PhotoShelter an option of overwriting, metadata only or skipping the file will be very handy indeed.
    I’ve seen discussions regarding how to identify if an image is already uploaded, for my narrow view, file name is good enough as I do not upload files with same name (and in the same collection). As long as you restrict identification to the file names in the current collection it should work fine for most situations, might not suit if the same image exists in multiple collections though.

    Well done guys, it can only get better from here. Love your work.

  16. Kostadin Luchansky at 6:10 am

    Hello PhotoShelter,

    What is taking so long to implement the ability to update “Metadata Only” in the PS Publish Service for LR? That is a great time-saver, especially for those of us living with slower internet connections (Angola, Africa). Here it can take several hours to upload a few hi-res files. I had to update the keywords in 1336 images with Portuguese translation to the current keywords in English…and I had to upload all the files again…! I can’t describe how frustrating that was.

    Please, hurry up.


  17. Kostadin Luchansky at 8:31 am

    Thanks, Gavin. I reverted to the Pact Software plugin.

    The process was far from flawless 😉 However, all is OK now.

    Now that I’m back to Pact, I can’t see what are the advantages of the Photoshelter version of the plugin, if any?

      • Kostadin Luchansky at 8:17 am

        Hi James C. The moment you turn on the Pact plugin, the Photoshelter one is turned automatically off. In my case I had problems, because most of my galeries have Portuguese names and use special characters like “ã, õ, ê, ó, ç, etc.” and the Phtoshelter plugin had “renamed” those letters in the words into something like “uuuio, kjhg, etc.” (only on the LR side. On PS the words were OK and those special letter too). But Pact couldn’t match some galeries and I had a few hours of work to organise everithing. But if your photos and galery names don’t have special characters, you will be OK.

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