Backup your Photos to Dropbox

2 mins read

For every one hundred photos I take only ten or so make it out of Lightroom. Photos are published on this blog, flickr, 500px and Facebook. The rest remain in Lightroom for review at a later date.

The photos I publish to the internet are generally 1200px wide and 70dpi and thus not ideal for printing. As a result I always like to create a print quality backup of these images ‘just in case’.

For extra reassurance these 600dpi full size jpg files are published and stored in a dropbox folder. Thankfully Adobe Lightroom makes this process easy with the built in publishing services.

Open Lightroom and make sure you are in the Library Module. On the left hand side library window you will see a “Publishing Services” tab. Click the + to load the ‘Publishing Services Manager’.

From here we are going to create a Harddrive publishing service.

Lightroom will default to publishing your photos to your “documents folder”. Click in the ‘Export Location’ tab to change this to your dropbox folder.

I have created a folder called “Photo Masters” within Dropbox and Lightroom will also create a subfolder for 2012 so I can update the service again in 2013 to separate the photos annually.

It is important that you check the export options to ensure your happy with the quality of the published images. I am retaining the dimensions of the original image in an 100% Quality 600dpi jpg image.

Once the service is set up you can drag images from your library onto the service. The number of images will increase but this doesn’t actually mean they are published.

To complete the process click the “Publish” button at the bottom of the window. Lightroom will then process and export the images do your Dropbox folder. Dropbox will do then sync this local folder with your online dropbox space.

If haven’t signed up for the Dropbox service then you really should. You can get 2GB of FREE space by signing up now.


David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is a former Official Fujifilm X Photographer.


  1. Can you then delete the images in the local Dropbox folder? Or do you need to keep them there also?

  2. @stuart Dropbox replicated whatever happens in the local folder. If you delete in the local folder the image will also be deleted on the remote location. Dropbox does save revisions so if you do delete an image accidentally it can be retrieved.

  3. If you do a full size, full quality export at 600dpi and a full size, full quality export at 72dpi from Lightroom are there any differences between the images…?

  4. @Dave. Interestingly 300dpi used to be the least resolution for printing yet I had a 70dpi appear in a newspaper a few months ago. The big thing is the dimensions though.

  5. DPI is just a meta tag – it won’t affect your output from Lightroom/Aperture etc.. (Photoshop is of course a different story as changing your DPI in Photoshop will usually cause an image to be resampled.)

    DPI matters to the person using your image, but then that person is the same one who’s setting the DPI, not you. (So when you see requests for 300 DPI images then you do have to wonder whether they really understand what they’re asking for…)

  6. I’m just tidying up my backup process and so this article is of great interest. Out of interest, what’s the reason (i) for selecting 600dpi and (ii) for not saving in a lossless format such as TIFF?

  7. Tom, I used to backup TIFF files but having seen how a 600 ;pi jog printed at Focus on Imaging I started saving space. I was blown away by the A0 prints. In one I spotted a stray tripod that wasn’t visible on screen. Remarkable.

  8. I thought I had worked out the perfect Lightroom/Dropbox backup setup, by having my catalogue and previews and all of my images stored inside my Dropbox folder. But I’m finding that it is taking forever to upload everything to Dropbox – I have gigabytes of images, and the catalogue file is continually updating and uploading. I don’t know what to do, but I really like the idea of an automatic process that doesn’t require manually exporting/publishing. Can you suggest something?

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