I'd like to share photos from my Lightroom catalog on a home network via a web server. Browsers can only understand JPGs, but my photos are mostly in RAW. I'd like to find a solution where I don't have to export my whole catalog as JPGs and update the exported copy whenever I add new photos or change existing ones.

I'm happy to write new software to do this. If Lightroom has a way to export individual photos from the command line, I could write a web server that takes requests for file.jpg, exports it on-demand from the RAW foo.dng, and returns the JPG version. That way, the file served would always be up-to-date and it wouldn't require a second copy of the whole catalog.

I don't want to use other libraries for converting RAW files because I want to use the develop settings I've already tweaked in Lightroom.

Is it possible to do this?

Looks like someone else tried to do this last year, with no luck: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/428398

  • \$\begingroup\$ From that link it sounds like an Adobe employee said it is not an option at this time. I would try asking on the Adobe forums to see if they have any updates. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 0:10

2 Answers 2


Long story short, NO.

The current stable release of Lightroom does not support command line usage and therefore can not be used from any external tools. Lightroom does provide a SDK for developers but that's mostly for writing plugins, not for utilizing its internal functionality. May be in future versions Adobe will incorporate this feature.

If you want to convert RAW files to JPEG without any human involvement, there are other engines available for this purpose, for example DCRAW which is open source and supports command line usage in linux, mac and windows.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Can such tools use the develop settings I've already tweaked in Lightroom? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 5:04
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm afraid they don't. But you should be able to tweak the settings there to match your Lightroom settings closely if not completely. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 10, 2011 at 9:28

As an alternative, I'm using Rawtherapee for that very purpose. It has a quite complete CLI allowing you to override the default profile using yours. You can also stack multiple partial profiles together, and they will override the default profile values in the calling order.

I'm for instance using stacked together the following profiles: a base Neutral profile, a custom white balance profile, a custom lens distortion profile.

The command looks something like that:

/Applications/RawTherapee.app/Contents/MacOS/rawtherapee -o outputFile.tif -t1 -Y -p Neutral.pp3 -p WhiteBalance.pp3 -p LensProfile.pp3 -c rawFile.CR2

So you have the best of both world, a quite good raw developer where you can define your development settings and the ability to process all that with a CLI.


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