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#1 2016-05-11 19:04:09

From: San Francisco, CA
Registered: 2012-09-24
Posts: 5,795

Custom Thumbnails for Albums & Album Sets

There are a variety of limiting factors when it comes to setting a thumbnail image for an album or album set. Among them:

  • Album Sets in Lightroom's Publish Services cannot contain thumbnails.

  • Your template for album sets may use thumbnails size differently than your albums, so pulling thumbnails from albums is less than ideal.

While Backlight supports all the same methods of supplying and selecting custom thumbnails that were available in CE4, we've built in a new method that's probably the best option of all. Let me walk you through it.


In short, we're going to use Lightroom to publish a hidden "Custom Thumbnails" album. You will then be able to select custom thumbnails for your albums and album sets from the contents of this album. This album will contain both Thumbnail and Photo renditions of your custom thumbnail, which also allows us to pull the larger image for use on social media when your album is shared.

Here's how to get it done:

In Backlight, create a new album template named "Custom Thumbnails", or something equally informative for your reference. The overall design or appearance of this album is unimportant. What matters, under Image Settings, make sure that:

  • Thumbnail Width & Height settings are sufficient for your desired album set template.

  • Photo Width & Height is adequate for whatever social media use.

On that latter point, Facebook's Best Practices guide suggests the following:

Facebook wrote:

Use images that are at least 1200 x 630 pixels for the best display on high resolution devices. At the minimum, you should use images that are 600 x 315 pixels to display link page posts with larger images. Images can be up to 8MB in size.

With your album template made, switch to Lightroom. In Publish Services, create a new album.

For Album, I use the name "_Custom Thumbnails". The underscore keeps it at the top of my albums list, easy to find.

The most important thing, the Slug needs to be "custom-thumbnails" (without quotation marks); for Template, select the Custom Thumbnails template you made in step 1; and under the Features tab, enable the options "Hide from Album Set" and "Hide from Search".

Add whatever images you want to use as custom thumbnails to this new album, then publish.

Edit any album or album set for which you would like to set a custom thumbnail. In the album settings, select the desired image from the Cover Image selector. You will be able to choose from any of the images in your new Custom Thumbnails album!


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