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Let's walk through the steps for importing into Lightroom existing photo and video files that you've offloaded from your camera or gotten from some other source and are storing on a computer drive. There are no exercise files for this movie because I want to show you how to import your own files into Lightroom when you're ready to do that. As I explained in the last movie, before importing from a drive into Lightroom, it's a good idea to organize all your photos and video clips into subfolders inside one top-level folder. I did that in the folder I called Lightroom Photos Main which I opted to put in my pictures folder then I went ahead and launched Lightroom 4.
When I launched Lightroom it opened the last catalog that I had opened and that was my Lightroom 4 catalog. And I can confirm that, by looking at the very top of Lightroom where it says, Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat. If you're following along and you see something different there at the top of Lightroom, you can get to your Lightroom 4 catalog by going to the File menu and choosing Open Catalog and navigating to your Pictures folder into the Lightroom folder and right to that Lightroom 4 Catalog.lrcat file then Lightroom will re-launch with your Lightroom 4 catalog open.
My Lightroom 4 catalog is empty. I want to bring in those photos and the video that I showed you that are out on my hard drive, so here's how to do that. I'll go to the File menu and I'll choose Import Photos and Video or you can click the big Import button at the bottom left of the interface. That opens the Import dialog box. Here, I'll start over on the left in the Source panel and I'll navigate in this list of folders to my Pictures folder that contains that big single folder in which I told you that I keep my photos and video files.
Yours maybe named something different, mine is named Lightroom Photos Main. I'll select Lightroom Photos Main and over here in the Image window, I see that Lightroom isn't finding any photos there. Well that's because, I haven't told Lightroom to include Sub-folders. So if that happens to you, then click Include Sub-folders and then click Okay. And then, you should see in this Main window thumbnails of all the photos and video files that are in that source folder. By default, each of these thumbnails is checked which means that I'll be bringing all of them into Lightroom.
If there is a photo here that I don't want. I might take a closer look at it by selecting it and then clicking the Loupe View icon and if I decide that I don't want it, I'll just uncheck, Include and Import and now I'll go back to Grid view. And you can see that, that thumbnail is unchecked. Now this is really important. Up at the top of the Import window I'm going to tell Lightroom what I want it to do with these photos. Because I've already moved them into the place where I want to store them, there is no reason to move them again or to copy them anywhere else.
What I want to do is leave them where they are and just add information about them to the Lightroom catalog and so it's important that I choose Add here. Over on the right, Lightroom is telling me where it's going to put information about these files and I don't have any choice, it just says, To My Catalog because I've chosen Add. Next I'll go down through the panels on the right. In the File Handling panel. I'll specify the size of the previews that I want Lightroom to create as it's importing these files. For the fastest import I'll choose Minimal.
That's particularly important if you're importing lots of files because if you have Lightroom render one-to-one previews then the import can take really a lot of time if you have a lot of files. So I'll go with Minimal here and then later when I actually use the files in Lightroom I will have to wait a few seconds while they render to larger previews but that's okay I'd rather put the time in then. I'll leave Don't Import Suspected Duplicates checked if Lightroom found a file with the same file name as another file that I've already imported into the same catalog, then that thumbnail would be greyed out over here and I wouldn't be able to import the file, so this is a way to avoid getting duplicates in my catalog.
I'm not going to apply any Develop settings or Metadata or keywords to these files during import because in the scenario that I gave you, I've gathered these files from lots of different places and they really don't have Develop Metadata or Keyword setting in common. Now that I'm done setting up the way I'm going to import these files. I may want to save all these settings as a preset so that next time I can just come down here and choose my preset. You can see that I already have one preset made. If I want to save these settings as a new preset, I'd select Save Current Settings as new preset from this menu and now I'm ready to click the Import button and Lightroom goes ahead importing all of these photos into my catalog.
It just took a few seconds because I don't have very many files and because I ask for only minimal previews. Lightroom switch me over to my Library module, which displays a thumbnail of all the imported files here. And over on the left in the Folders panel I can see my Lightroom photos main folder and if I expand that folder, my year folders, and the folders for the individual shoots. You may remember that I also had a folder for the year 2009. That doesn't appear here because they weren't any photos in it.
So that's how to import into Lightroom. Information about your photo and video files that live on a computer drive. You may have realized that this process is a lot like the one I showed you for importing the exercise files as I explained in the last movie. Importing from a camera or a camera memory card is almost the same but with a few tweaks as we'll see in the very next movie.
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