One of the new features to appear in the new version of Lightroom 4 is the ability to email directly out of the Lightroom program. The new feature allows you to send email containing your photos from Lightroom or use your default email application. Lightroom is set up to use email providers like AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, or your own provider.
To email a photo or collection of photos, select them in any module then go to the menu File>Email Photos. The email window will open and allow you to choose your recipients, subject and any message you want to type in. You can add names and email address's to your address book inside Lightroom so you can grab them from a list later. (I have a better option I will mention further down.) You can format your text with some light formatting tools and also check the box at the bottom labeled Include caption metadata as a description label if you would like the captions added to your email below each image inside the email message.
To choose the size of the images you want to send, click on the Preset drop down menu at the bottom left where you can choose from a collection of presets already created or create your own by selecting Create new Preset.
If this is the first time emailing out of Lightroom you will have to add an email account first. To add your first email account, click on the From drop down menu and select Go to Email Account Manager. In the Lightroom Email Account Manager you can add your new account by clicking on the Add button at the bottom left and fill in your server details. Name your account and choose your provider. If you are using one of the common email providers like Gmail, Lightroom will automatically fill in the SMTP sever, port settings and authentication options for you. Once you have all your information entered you can click on the Validate button to the bottom right of the Credential Settings and make sure everything works. Once you have the green light next to your account name you're ready to go. Click on the Done button to go back to your email. The new account will now be available in the From drop down menu. Now you can send the email with the Send button.
When I first saw this feature I thought it would be a good time saver allowing me to do these tasks within Lightroom. When I first tried it however, I was very upset to find now way to import my contact list in to Lightroom. Seems like Adobe missed that one didn't they. Instead of entering in each of my contacts one at a time, just for Lightroom, I found an easier approach. I mean really, this is not 2001.
Leave the To box empty for any recipients. You can change any of the email size parameters and enter a subject if you want. In the From drop down menu choose your default email application instead of one of the created setups from the list. Then hit Send. Lightroom will go through the same process but then opens it in your default email application ready to send. With this approach yo can now access your usual contact list as well as use any signatures you have set up. Far easier than entering a bunch of names and emails manually. Yes, its another step, but I guess we'll just have to wait for the next version to import our contact list and signatures.