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When you launch Lightroom for the first time you'll see something like this, and you might be wondering where all of your images are or how to get to your photos. And that's because Lightroom is not a browser, it's a catalog. In order to manage and work with your images in Lightroom you need to import those images so Lightroom knows where they are and that you actually want Lightroom to work with those photos. Let's take a look at how we can import existing photos, photos that we already have on our hard drive and that we're ready to start managing with Light Room. To get started we can click the Import button at the bottom of the left panel in the library module in Light Room.
When you click the Import button, the import dialog will appear. The first step is to select a source of images that we want to import into Lightroom. I have a couple of folders with images that I put in my pictures folder, and I'd like to import those. I'll go ahead and click on the select a source pop-up, and then choose my pictures. Since that's the primary location where I have my photos stored. Within my pictures you can see that I have a Tin Gray Photos Folder. And the Tin Gray Photos Folder is where all of my folders where the individual photos are actually stored. I could turn on the include sub folder check box. But first I want to expand the list so I can see the folders that are contained there.
You can see that I have images from the California photo festival. As well as some images from Ottawa, Canada. I can select an individual folder, and Import only those images. But in this case, since I have a couple of folders that I want to Import, and they're located in the same primary folder, my Tim Gray's Photos folder. I might as well import all of them at once. And the great part is that Lightroom will keep track of which folder the images are actually stored in. So I'll go ahead and choose the Tim Gray photos folder. And then I'll turn on the include subfolders check box. Now, all of the images contained in both of those folders will be part of this import process.
Because I'm importing images that are already in the proper location, that are already stored on the hard drive where I want them to stay, I can use the add option. That means that the images will be imported and Lightroom will start managing those images, but Lightroom won't move them or copy them to a new location. They'll be managed from right where they are. Next I can go over to the right panel and specify a few additional options under file handling I can determine which size previews should be generated. I can choose minimal previews or only embedded and side car previews.
If I want to minimize the amount of processing that Light Room needs to do. I can also use the Standard preview size, that will generate previews that are good for browsing through individual images with the Loop view. Or, I can choose the One-to-One option, which means all of the images will be cached, so that even if I zoom in, to get a closer look, I'll still have quick performance in Light Room. I consider the standard option to be a great compromise, and so that's the option I generally select for my images. I also leave the don't import suspected duplicates check box turned on.
If Lightroom thinks that any of the images I'm currently trying to import are duplicates of images already contained within the catalog it will not import them. It will still show me the photos, but they will be dimmed out which gives me a rather obvious indication. That a particular photo will not be imported. Of course, at the moment I don't have any images in this catalog. And so none of these images could possibly be duplicates. Since I'm not copying my images, I'm simply adding them from their current location, I don't have the option to make a second copy because I'm not making a first copy. I can then move down to the Apply During Import section. If I wanted to I could apply Develop settings, allowing me to change the appearance of all of the images as they're being imported. I generally don't like to change the appearance of a large group of images at once, and so I'll usually leave this set to none. I can also designate metadata that I want to add to all of these images. But I can go into edit presets to either create a new preset or modify an existing preset.
I've already created a Tim Gray copyright preset, but I can also create a new preset. If I click the new option from the popup, the new metadata preset dialog will appear. And I can enter new values. For example, I'll add some copyright information here. I'll enter my name. I'll set the Copyright Status to Copyrighted. I'll set my Website Address as the Info URL. And I can also take a look at Additional Details. For example, there's the Creator Email Address.
I can add my email address so if somebody finds one of my images and wants to contact me they'll be able to actually find me through my email address. And I can put my website here as well. It's important to keep in mind that this preset will be used to add information to a large number of images from a variety of different photographic shoots. And so you want to make sure that it's relatively generic, that all of the details you add will apply to all images. That generally means copyright and contact information for the photographer for example, but there may be some other options you'd like to add as well.
Once you're happy with the preset, you can give it a name. I'll just call this Tim Grey copyright and contact info, an then I'll click the create button. I could then choose that option from the popup. So I have my thin gray copyright and contact info preset. And now all images will have that information added to the metadata. I can also add keywords to all of the images. It's important to keep in mind, though, once again, that you need to think about which keywords will apply to every single image that you're importing.
Since I'm importing images from two photo shoots in two completely different locations, chances are there aren't really many keywords that I could apply to all of them. Perhaps North America, for example, since some of the images were captured in California, and some in Ottawa, Canada, but I would want to think carefully about those keywords before I add them for a large group of images. That takes care fo the settings that I need to think about for adding these existing images to my catalogue, so ill go ahead and click the import button. Light removal then import all of those images into the catalogue and then render previews based on the settings that I used.
Note by the way that if I scrol down on teh left panel we can see a ten greys photos folder. And below that, the individual folders that contain the images that I just imported. I don't think it could be much easier to import a large group of images that you already have stored on your computer.
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