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Organizing your existing files before importing

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 4

Video: Organizing your existing files before importing

There are two sources of photos that you might bring into Lightroom; new items from your digital camera, which I'll cover later in this chapter or existing ones from a computer drive. Let's talk about how to organize your existing photos and videos on a drive for import into Lightroom. In this movie we're not going to be using Exercise Files, instead I want to show you how to bring files of your own into your main Lightroom catalog when it's time for you to do that with your personal photos. Before you import anything into Lightroom, I strongly suggest that you go out to all of your various computer drives and gather your photos, the photos that you want to bring into Lightroom as well as your video clips and put all of those into one folder.

Organizing your existing files before importing

There are two sources of photos that you might bring into Lightroom; new items from your digital camera, which I'll cover later in this chapter or existing ones from a computer drive. Let's talk about how to organize your existing photos and videos on a drive for import into Lightroom. In this movie we're not going to be using Exercise Files, instead I want to show you how to bring files of your own into your main Lightroom catalog when it's time for you to do that with your personal photos. Before you import anything into Lightroom, I strongly suggest that you go out to all of your various computer drives and gather your photos, the photos that you want to bring into Lightroom as well as your video clips and put all of those into one folder.

You may not want to take the time to do that now but believe me it will save you time later. Because if the drive on which you put that one single folder with all of your assets gets full, you're going to have to move those assets to another drive and it's a lot easier to do when you're using Lightroom if all those photos and video files are in one single folder. So here you can see that I have made a single folder like that. I call it Lightroom Photos Main, you can call it whatever you want. How you organize your photos inside that one folder is up to you.

I found it helpful to organize them by year and then inside of a year, I organize with one sub-folder for every shoot, which I named by the date and then I usually add a word or two that helps me remember what's in that folder. It might be the location of the shoot or the event or the people in it or something that's meaningful to me. Then inside of each of those shoot folders are the actual files from that shoot. For me, all of those are usually raw files but I wanted to show you the various kinds of formats that you can import into Lightroom.

And those include TIFF, DNG which is Adobe's universal raw format. JPEG, PSD which is the Photoshop document format and proprietary raw files like these NEF files from my Nikon camera and those usually come with what's called sidecar files like this to contain the Metadata for that raw file. And you also can bring in most formats of video clips. So, I've got all my photos and video assets tucked away inside my Lightroom photos main folder.

The question is where to put that folder. One solution is to put that folder with all your assets in the same place as the Lightroom catalog files. When you first launch Lightroom, the program makes these two Catalog files inside of a folder that it calls Lightroom and then it places inside the Pictures folder in your Operating System. If you're going to store your main folder, the one I've called Lightroom Photos Main that contains all your actual photo and video files on your main computer, then it makes sense to put that folder along side this Lightroom folder that contains your Catalog files. But if you plan to shoot lots of photos and videos and your computer drive doesn't have a lot of free space on it then your computer drive is going to fill up sooner than you think.

At that point, you'll have to move your folder of photos and videos to a larger drive and if you have already imported those items into Lightroom, that kind of a move, while possible, can be challenging. So, here's another solution to consider. Before you import any of your photos or videos into Lightroom, you might go out and purchase a big external drive that has as much storage spaces you can afford. And put the folder containing all your photos and videos on that drive right from the start. That will give you more room to grow and you don't have to worry about moving anything that you have already imported to Lightroom for a while.

By the way, it's perfectly okay to store your Lightroom Catalog files on your main computer and store the folder with your actual photos and videos on another drive. Lightroom can keep track of your photos and videos even in that case. And even if that drive is offline, Lightroom will still be able to display the image previews. Just make sure that you have that external drive connected to your computer if you want to process your files in Lightroom. So, those are some ideas about how to organize your existing photos and videos before importing them into Lightroom.

In the very next movie, I'm going to show you how to do that.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Up and Running with Lightroom 4
Up and Running with Lightroom 4

34 video lessons · 19050 viewers

Jan Kabili
Author

 
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  1. 4m 21s
    1. Welcome
      1m 24s
    2. What is Lightroom used for?
      2m 57s
  2. 29m 45s
    1. What is a Lightroom catalog?
      5m 55s
    2. Importing the exercise files
      4m 41s
    3. Organizing your existing files before importing
      4m 8s
    4. Importing from a drive
      5m 31s
    5. Importing from a camera
      9m 30s
  3. 41m 32s
    1. Touring the Library module
      4m 56s
    2. Viewing and selecting photos and video
      5m 21s
    3. Reviewing and rating items from a shoot
      5m 33s
    4. Organizing your library with collections
      5m 10s
    5. Using keywords to organize your library
      6m 49s
    6. Finding photos with filters
      5m 37s
    7. Moving and renaming items
      8m 6s
  4. 1h 0m
    1. Touring the Develop module
      6m 35s
    2. Cropping and straightening
      4m 33s
    3. Setting white balance in the Basic panel
      6m 51s
    4. Using the Histogram to evaluate tones
      2m 37s
    5. Adjusting tonal values in the Basic panel
      8m 28s
    6. Controlling color intensity in the Basic panel
      3m 10s
    7. Reducing digital noise
      6m 37s
    8. Sharpening
      8m 15s
    9. Working with video
      6m 3s
    10. Enhancing video
      7m 32s
  5. 17m 11s
    1. Making local adjustments with the Adjustment Brush
      8m 14s
    2. Making variable adjustments with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 13s
    3. Removing spots
      4m 44s
  6. 39m 16s
    1. Setting up a connection to Facebook
      6m 50s
    2. Sharing photos and video on Facebook
      5m 34s
    3. Printing photos
      6m 6s
    4. Creating a photo book
      5m 50s
    5. Customizing a photo book
      8m 6s
    6. Exporting photos
      6m 50s
  7. 33s
    1. Next steps
      33s

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