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Lightroom > Workflow >

2 - Import

Importing Isn't What

You May Think It Is

The term importing implies that your photographs are moved into Lightroom.

Nope.

Lightroom does move your photographs from your memory card to Pictures or somewhere else on your computer.

But—the photographs are not moved into Lightroom.

Lightroom only links to the location of the files in Pictures or elsewhere on your computer.

Lightroom does move the metadata and previews (thumbnails) of the files into Lightroom.

Not in Lightroom       In Lightroom
Photographs       Metadata
Previews

Warning

You're probably used to going to the location of your photographs to delete, rename, use folders, and so forth.

If the photographs have been imported into Lightroom, don't change the photographs in Pictures or wherever they're located on your computer.

You must go to Lightroom to delete, rename, use folders, and so forth.

For example, let's say you have a folder called Glaciers.

You've imported the glacier photographs into Lightroom.

You want to rename the folder from Glaciers to Glaciers - Europe.

Don't navigate to Pictures > Glaciers to rename the folder.

Instead, do the following.

1) Go to Lightroom.

2) Press g to go to the Library module.

3) In the Folders panel, on the left side of your screen, navigate to the Glaciers folder.

4) Right click on the folder and click Rename.

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What Can Go Wrong

Let's say you went to Pictures and changed the Glaciers folder name to Glaciers - Europe.

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Then, you went to Lightroom to edit a photograph in the Glaciers - Europe folder.

The folder and photograph are missing.

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Review

When in Pictures—or wherever your photographs are located on your computer—look but don't touch.

You can look at your photographs there—but don't do anything to them or to their folders.

Make any changes in Lightroom.

Both Raw & JPEG Files

If you're saving both raw and JPEG files on your camera, Lightroom will import the raw file only.

Lightroom adds +JPEG to the raw file name.

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If you want to import both the raw file and the JPEG file into Lightroom, do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Lightroom > Preferences (Mac).

Or, press Ctrl + ,.

2) Click the General tab.

3) In the Import Options section, in the middle, select Treat JPEG files next to raw files as separate photos.

Connection

Connect your camera or its memory card to your computer.

Import Window

By default, Lightroom will open the Import window.

If it doesn't, go to the Library module.

Press g on your keyboard or click Library at the top of your screen.

Then, click Import in the lower-left corner of your screen.

Is the Import Window Tiny?

If the Import window doesn't fill most of your screen, click the Show More Options button in the lower-left corner of the Import window.

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We're going to "walk around" the Import window.

We'll stop at five locations, starting at Stop #1 on the left side.

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Stop #1: Source of the Photographs

On the left side of the Import window, Lightroom selects the memory card.

If not, click on the memory card under Files on the left side of your screen.

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Stop #2: Your Photographs

In the middle of your screen, Lightroom displays the photographs on your memory card.

Photographs that have already been imported are grayed out.

They won't be imported.

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You can block the importation of some of your photographs.

Do the following.

1) Press and hold the Ctrl key (Windows) or Cmd key (Mac).

2) Click on the previews (thumbnails) that you don't want to import.

3) Release the Ctrl or Cmd key.

4) Deselect the white checkmark in the upper-left corner of one of the dud previews.

All of the selected photographs are now unchecked and won't be imported.

There's another method that's done after you import your photographs.

Stop #3: Copy

At the top of your screen, in the middle, Copy is selected by default.

If you were importing photographs already on your computer, then you would click Add.

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Stop #4: Destination of the Photographs

Click the upper-right corner on your screen where you see To.

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The destination menu will open.

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Click Other Destination and navigate to the Lightroom Photos folder.

Try the paths below.

Windows

C: > Users > You > Pictures or My Pictures > Lightroom Photos

Mac

Users > You > Desktop > Lightroom Photos

If you're not using folders, skip ahead.

Folder Users

If you're going to continue organizing your photographs with folders, discussed previously here, read on.

Instead of navigating to a Lightroom Photos folder, navigate to your existing folder for the photographs.

Click the upper-right corner on your screen where you see To.

The destination menu will open.

Click Other Destination and navigate to your existing folder.

If you need to create a new folder, click Other Destination and navigate to where you want to create the folder.

Create the folder, click on it, and click Select Folder.

Stop #5: Panels

Check the settings in the panels on the right side of your screen.

Once you've done so, you probably won't have to check again.

File Handling Panel

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Make sure Minimal is selected in the Render Previews menu.

Otherwise, the import may take a long time.

If your your photographs are located on an external hard drive, select Build Smart Previews.

You'll be able to edit the photographs without the external hard drive being attached to your computer.

Don't Import Suspected Duplicates is selected by default.

File Renaming Panel

You can ignore this panel.

Apply During Import Panel

A convenient feature is the ability to put your photographs into a collection (album) during the import.

Select Add to Collection.

Collections are discussed below.

You can also add a keyword (tag) to the photographs.

Keywords are discussed in detail here.

Destination Panel

Deselect Into Subfolder if it's selected

In the Organize menu, select Into one folder.

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If you're not using folders, skip ahead.

Folder Users

If you're going to continue organizing your photographs with folders, discussed previously here, read on.

You can use the Destination panel to create new subfolders to fit into your folder hierarchy.

Do the following.

1) In the To: section (upper-right corner), click Other Destination, and navigate to a folder in your folder hierarchy.

Let's say it's Africa.

You have many trips there.

You want to import new photographs taken in South Africa.

2) In the Destination panel, select Into Subfolder.

3) Enter the name for your last trip, South Africa.

4) In the Organize menu, you can:

a) Keep the original folder hierarchy of the source folder.

b) Create subfolders by date.

c) Put all photos into one folder.

If you select b, Create subfolders by date, the Date Format menu appears.

You can choose a format for the dates.

You're Ready to Import

Click Import in the lower-right corner of your screen.

A timeline appears in the top-left corner showing the progress of the import.

By default, Lightroom displays the imported photographs.

The memory card is ejected automatically.

Don't format the memory card until after you've looked at some of the photographs enlarged in Loupe view.

Click on a preview (thumbnail).

Then, click the Loupe-view icon below the previews or press e.

To go back to the previews, click the grid-view icon below the previews or press g.

Catalog Panel

As mentioned, after importing, Lightroom displays only the imported photographs.

To see all of your photographs, go to the Catalog panel on the left side of your screen.

Click All Photographs.

Click Previous Import to see only the photographs you imported.

Two Other Import Methods

Import by Dragging

You can import a folder or photographs by dragging them on the work area in the Library module.

You can also drag a folder or photographs on the Lightroom icon on the Desktop (windows) or on the Lightroom icon in the Dock (Mac).

Import Automatically (Watch Folder)

After you create a watch folder—Lightroom will "watch" the folder.

When you add photographs to the folder, Lightroom will import them automatically.

For example, when you download a photograph into your Downloads folder, Lightroom will import the photograph automatically.

If Lightroom isn't open, the photograph will be imported when the program is opened.

Do the following.

If you're using your Downloads folder as the source, it must be empty initially.

1) In the Library module, go to File > Auto Import Settings.

2) Select Enable Auto Import.

The Auto Import Settings window opens.

3) In the Watched Folder section:

a) Click Choose.

b) Navigate to your Downloads folder (or another folder).

c) Click Select Folder.

4) In the Destination section:

a) Click Choose.

b) Navigate to Pictures (Windows) or Desktop (Mac).

c) Click Select Folder.

d) In the Subfolder Name box, enter Imported from Downloads (or other appropriate name).

5) Enter a keyword, such as Imported from Downloads, in the Keyword box.

6) Click OK.

7) In the Library module, create a Smart collection called Imported from Downloads.

Set up the search criteria as follows.

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When you download a photograph into your Downloads folder:

• It's moved to your Imported from Downloads folder in Pictures (Windows) or on your Desktop (Mac).

• The photograph is automatically placed in a Smart collection called Imported from Downloads.