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If you're anything like me, once you've captured new images, you can't wait to get them into Lightroom to review them. Let's take a look at the process of importing images directly from the digital media cards that you use to capture those images with your digital camera. I'll go ahead and click the Import button at the bottom of the left panel in the Library module which will bring up the import dialog. Because I've already inserted a Digital Media Card into my card reader, Lightroom recognizes that and sets the import source as that location.
If for any reason that doesn't happen for you. You can Click the pop up at the top-left of the import dialoge, and then either choose an existing device or navigate to a particular location by choosing other source. You can also use the navigation tools in the source section over on the left-hand side to navigate to that source. Note that when we're using removable media we also have the option to eject that media after import. Having this option turned on means that once the import operation is complete, you can simply remove that device from the computer.
Not having to worry about the safe remove process, that you typically would use with removable media. You can see that the source has been selected and I have all of the images previewed in the central area here. If I wanted to I can review images at this point and turn off images that I feel should not be imported. But I prefer to get the images imported and copied over to my hard drive right away. I can always delete outtakes later if I determine that, that's necessary. When initially I want to make sure that the images are safely copied on my computer's hard drive. And speaking of copy, the option that I use what I am importing images that just been captured.
Importing them directly off the digital media, cards for example is the Copy option. I don't make use of the Copy as DNG, because I'm perfectly comfortable with my raw captures, rather than Digital Negative conversions. And I don't want to use the Move or Add options either. If I use the move option, I'm taking a chance that something might go wrong during the operation, causing me to lose my images. And the Add option wouldn't make sense in this scenario because the digital media card is going to be removed and put back in the camera so I can use it again.
So those images would no longer be accessible to Lightroom. So Copy is the option that makes the most sense. I can then specify a destination. And in this case, at the top-right of the import, I'm simply going to choose the top-level location where I save my photos. For me, at the moment, that's the Pictures folder on my computer in a Tim Gray Photos folder. All of my images will be imported into that location. This might also be an external hard drive or a particular location on the hard drive inside your computer.
I am just using this pictures folder as an example. I can also specify the previews that I want rendered, and I generally use the standard preview. Which doesn't consume too much hard drive space, but also makes the browsing experience a little bit faster within Lightroom. I'll make sure to turn on the option to Not Import Suspected Duplicates. Any duplicate images would be shown faded back to a darker version of the image which makes it fairly obvious when you're scrolling through those thumbnails.
I also like to take advantage of the Backup feature during the Import operation. I'll turn the Make a Second Copy To check box. And then you can click the link and specify where you'd like the back up stored. Obviously it's best to make the back up on a seperate physical hard drive. So, generally I would have one hard drive as my primary storage location And another hard drive for backing up. In this case, I'm simply going to put the duplicates on the desktop. So I'll choose the desktop and click the Select Folder button so that the backups during this import operation will be stored on the desktop. If I'd like, I can also rename the images, I'll turn on the Rename checkbox, and then I can specify a template.
I generally use a custom name and sequence option for file renaming. I can then specify the basic structure of that file name. So, these images were captured in Austria. So I'll indicate that the custom text should be Austria, and we'll start with the number 1. The file name extension I'll just leave as is. In this case, it happens to be lowercase, but I'm not concerned whether it's upper or lower. You can see then that I have a preview. These images will be called Austria, dash, and a number, starting with the number one.
I'll scroll down to the apply during import section. I can apply a Develop Settings preset if I'd like to change the appearance of the images. But I generally don't do that because I don't want to change all of the images to a particular appearance, so I'll leave that set to none. I'll specify my copyright information metadata preset, I had previously made a preset that contains just my basic copyright information, and I want that applied to all of the images... And I can also assign keywords to these images. I'll go ahead and scroll through to review and make sure, and in this case all of the images were captured in Austria.
Austria is in Europe, so Austria and Europe seem like good keywords. But otherwise there's a lot of variety and so I dont think there are any other keywords that really apply to all of these images. I'll go ahead and add Austria, and Europe, both as keywords. I'll then scroll down into the destination section. I'm going to place all of these images into a sub-folder, that happens to be Austria, May 2010. These images were all captured in Austria, in May 2010. So that's how I think of these images, an therefore that's what I want to call this folder.
I'm also going to organize all of the images into a single folder. I don't like to divide my images up, by date, because then I have individual folders for each day of the trip for example. I'd rather have all of them in a single folder. So, I'll go ahead and make sure the Into One Folder option is selected. And I can take a look at the preview of the file structure, notice, that Austria, May 2010, is in italics. That indicates, that that folder does not currently exist, but it's about to be created for me, in this import operation.
Most of these settings are sticky. What that means is, next time I'm importing images from a Digital Media Card there are only a few things that I'm going to need to change. I'll still be importing to the same basic location and I want the same file handling settings. If I'm importing images from a different photo trip I can change the custom text for file renaming. I can also add new or different keywords and of course I might change the sub folder that I'm creating for the images.
What that means is that for future imports, I probably only need to change a few things and so the process can go very, very quickly. I'm all set for this import though. So I'll go ahead and click the Import button and Lightroom will start copying the images from my digital media card onto my hard drive, making a backup copy of those images in the process. And also renaming the images, updating the meta data with my copyright information and adding keywords. So I'm taking care of a variety of tasks, all in one simple process. And once that import operation is complete, I can start reviewing the imagaes right away.
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