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Getting Started with Lightroom 4
Illustration by John Hersey

Importing existing images


From:

Getting Started with Lightroom 4

with Tim Grey

Video: Importing existing images

Lightroom is not simply a browser for your images, but rather utilizes a central catalog to actually manage your images. What that means is that you can't simply look at your images when you first launch lightroom. Instead, you'll see no images at all. Therefore, before you can actually work with any images, you need to import those images into the lightroom catalog. Essentially letting lightroom know that those photos exist, and that you want lightroom to manage those particular images.

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Getting Started with Lightroom 4
3h 22m Beginner Mar 06, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Whether you're completely new to Adobe Lightroom or have been using it from the start, this course from author and digital imaging expert Tim Grey will help you get up to speed quickly with Lightroom 4. He provides a complete overview of the Lightroom interface and workflow and shows how to set up Lightroom to best suit your needs. Along the way, learn the basics of importing, managing, optimizing, and sharing your images. Plus, discover how to use features like auto-advance, Smart Collections, the Library Filter, the Map module, and more.

Topics include:
  • Getting to know the Lightroom interface
  • Establishing Lightroom preferences
  • Using catalogs
  • Importing images
  • Image review
  • Identifying and locating images
  • Optimizing and sharing images
Subjects:
Photography Raw Processing video2brain
Software:
Lightroom
Author:
Tim Grey

Importing existing images

Lightroom is not simply a browser for your images, but rather utilizes a central catalog to actually manage your images. What that means is that you can't simply look at your images when you first launch lightroom. Instead, you'll see no images at all. Therefore, before you can actually work with any images, you need to import those images into the lightroom catalog. Essentially letting lightroom know that those photos exist, and that you want lightroom to manage those particular images.

Chances are you already have a number of digital photos on your hard drive, so let's take a look at how we can import those existing photos. I'll go ahead and click the Import button. And that will bring up the import dialog. I can then navigate to the location where my photos are stored. I can use the folder structure display or I can get started by clicking the, Select the source, pop up and choosing the location where my photos are stored. In this case I've put all my images in ,My Pictures, so I could choose, My Pictures, from the list.

And that will get me close to my starting point. For this particular lesson I just want to import the images in a single folder. So I'm going to choose that folder from the list over on the left. Note that I can choose whether or not I want to include subfolders in my import. That makes it possible for example, to choose the Tim Grey photos folder. The parent folder that contains all of my images. In order to import all of the images in all of the folders that are contained within that folder. And I'll even be able to maintain that folder structure in the process. Let's go ahead and take a look at how that works by importing both of these folders.

The Europe Road Trip and the Grand Central Terminal folder at the same time. And this could be a large number of images, in fact I can use this process to import all of the images I've take up until this point in one process. So, I've selected the primary location, where my photos are stored, and specified that I want to include sub folders. You'll notice, that I have Thumbnail previews, showing me all of the images that are about to be imported. The images with a check mark will be imported, those with no check mark will not be imported. I can check all of the images, or uncheck all of the images. I can also change the sort order for my images, or adjust the thumbnails. But I generally don't review the images at this point. I just want to get all of the images into my lightroom catalog, and then I can use lightroom to manage those images.

Perhaps deleting some of them, or assigning additional metadata, etcetera. But for now I just want all of my images available within lightroom. At the top center of the Import dialog, we have some options for how we're going to handle the images that we're importing. We can make a copy of the images as a DNG, a digital negative. But I don't find that option to especially helpful in the context of light Room, I simply import the original images. I could copy the images, but I don't really want to copy these particular image to a new location. I already have them where I want them, so I don't need to copy them again. This, is the option I would use when importing images directly from my camera, for example.

I also have the option to move the images from one location to another, but I prefer not to use this option. Because there's some risk, in moving image from one place to another, that they'll get lost along the way. In situations where I might otherwise use the Move option, I'll instead copy and then simply delete the originals later. In this case though, I have images that are already where they belong. All I want to do is add them to the lightroom catalog. And so I'll use the Add option.

I can then take a look at the settings over on the right panel. Under file handling for example, I can specify what size preview I'd like to generate. My options include Minimal, Embedded and Sidecar, Standard, or 1 to 1. These are listed in the order of the size and amount of processing that's necessary. I generally use the Standard option. This way, I don't have to wait later when I'm navigating among my images for those previews to be generated. Choosing this option does require a little bit of extra time for processing.

But I think that's a good investment in terms of the overall experience of viewing my images. I can also specify that I don't want to import suspected duplicates, and I always leave this option turned on. At the moment, of course, I'm importing images for the first time. There aren't any images in the lightroom catalogue. And therefore there is no chance of duplicates. If there were duplicates, they would appear dimmed out in this display. Since I'm using the Add option, I don't have the option to make a second copy. I am not making a first copy. And so there is no need to make a backup in a separate location. I'm simply adding my images to the lightroom catalogue. I'll also expand the Apply During Import pop up, and here I can specify some additional settings that I want to apply to my images. I can apply a Develop preset if I'd like to change the appearance of all of the images as I'm importing them.

I generally don't use this option, because I want to work with my images individually in terms of changing their appearance. But if you want all of the images you're importing to be black and white, for example, you could choose a preset to accomplish that. We can also specify some metadata to be added to the image. I've not yet created a metadata preset, so I'll go ahead and click the new option from the metadata pop up. I'll then type a name for the preset that I'm creating, I'll just call this Tim Gray copyright.

Becuase I'm going to add my copyright information to the image, and then I'll just specify the copyright text. I'll set the status to copyrighted. And the copyright info URL, I'll just simply specify my own website. This is obviously just basic information. I could add additional details. The thing to keep in mind is that I probably want a single preset with metadata that I can apply to every single image.

For example, I wouldn't want to apply an image headline here because the headline for each image is going to be different. But of course as the photographer, my information will stay relatively unchanged. Perhaps I'll change my contact information or other details. But generally speaking, I'll want the same information added to all images. So now that I've updated my metadata preset with some copyright information and I've given it a name. I'll go ahead and click the Create button and now or in the future I can simply choose Tim Gray copyright from the pop up.

And that information will be added to all of the images being imported. I can also add keywords at the time of import, but this can be a little bit tricky. And especially in this case, because I'm importing a variety of different images. Obviously I can't be too specific. For example, this image contains umbrellas. So I might want to put a keyword umbrellas for that image. But that's the only image that contains umbrellas and so I dont want to add that keyword here. Because these keywords will be applied to every single image I'm importing. At first glance, I might assume that in this case keywords such as Grand Central Terminal or New York might be appropriate.

However remember that I'm actually importing images from Europe, as well as images from New York. So in this case I don't think I can add any keywords, because there aren't any keywords that I can think of that would apply to every single image. If I were only importing my Grand Central Terminal images, I could add Grand Central Terminal, New York, Manhattan, and other keywords. Or if I were only importing images from the Europe trip I could add keywords such as Europe. The key is to make sure that all of the keywords that you are adding are equally applicable to all of the images currently being imported.

So in this particular case I'm not going to add any keywords at all. That takes care of all of the settings that I need to concern myself with in terms of adding these images to my lightroom catalog. So, I 'll go ahead and click the Import button. Lightroom then, imports all of those images and generates the previews for the images. This can take a little bit of time to process but once that process is complete. I'll be able to navigate among my images very quickly and easily.

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