Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing photos from a camera, part of Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training.
When you're finished shooting and you're ready to bring photos out of your digital camera and into your computer, you can use the Adobe Photo Downloader that you can access from Elements and its companion program, Bridge CS4. You could import photos directly from your camera into your computer, but I don't like to do that, because there is always a possibility of damaging the originals, if the camera battery happens to die in the middle of transferring the photos. So I prefer to use an inexpensive USB photo memory card reader. When you purchase one of those, just make sure that you get one that will read the type of card that your camera uses: an SD card, a CompactFlash Card, or a proprietary card like a Sony Memory Stick.
Once you've got the USB card reader, take the memory card out of your camera and insert it into the card reader, and then just plug the card reader directly into the USB port on your computer. I'm going to do that right now. That immediately launches Bridge CS4 along with the Photo Downloader. That's because earlier, in the movie about the Welcome screen, I chose to activate a Bridge preference to launch Adobe Photo Downloader whenever a camera or a card reader is connected to my computer. If you haven't already done that, then you have two choices at this point.
I'm going to go ahead and close the Adobe Photo Downloader to show you what those choices are. So I'll click the red button here, and now I'm just looking at Adobe Bridge. So if you haven't already activated the Bridge preference to launch Adobe Photo Downloader, then you can do that from right here inside Bridge by going up to Adobe Bridge CS4 in the menu bar, choosing Preferences, and in the General category of Preferences, clicking in this check box to add a check mark there, so that when a camera or a card reader is connected, Adobe Photo Downloader will automatically launch, and then click OK.
I also suggest, if you go this route, that you don't bother installing your camera's proprietary importing software, but if you've already installed it, then go ahead and look in its commands or its preferences for a way to disable that software from launching automatically, so that it doesn't conflict with the Adobe Photo Downloader. So that's one choice. Now let's say that you don't want Bridge and Adobe Photo Downloader to open automatically every time that you attach a camera or a card reader. Although, I think that's really the easiest way to go. Well, even if you don't enable the preference I just showed you, you can still use Photo Downloader on a case-by- case basis directly from Elements.
Here's how you do that. I'm going to go back to Elements by holding the Command key on my computer and tapping the Tab key to bring up the Application Switcher and then I'll use the Tab key to get to the Adobe Photoshop Elements icon, and release. That will switch me back to Adobe Photoshop Elements if it's already open. From here in Elements, I can invoke the Photo Downloader at any time, by going up to the File menu, and choosing Adobe Photo Downloader. So using one of those methods, I've now opened Adobe Photo Downloader. Let's take a look at what's here in the standard window of the Photo Downloader.
The Get Photos from menu lists all of the potential sources of photos that are currently plugged into my computer. I only have one right now, which is my memory card reader. So I'll select that. The downloader tells me the number of files on the card reader, their total file size, and the date the files were created. The Location field is where I can choose the destination to which I'm going to import the files. By default, that's a subfolder inside of the Pictures folder that comes with the Mac OS. I suggest leaving it set to the Pictures folder, so that you always know where your photos are on your hard drive.
By default, the name of the subfolder to which my files are going to be imported is the date on which the pictures were taken. That information comes from the metadata that my camera appended to the photos. If I want, I can change the label on that subfolder to a different configuration of the shot date to today's date or to a custom name. I'll choose Custom Name. I'm going to name the destination folder by its subject matter. Since these are pictures of antique cars that I'm bringing in, I'll type in this field: 'antique cars'.
In the next field, Rename Files, I could change the name of the files as they come in from my computer using any of these options: Today's Date, Shot Date, Custom Name or a combination. But I actually like to import my files with the same name as they have on the memory card. The reason that I do that is that sometimes I forget that I've imported files from a particular memory card. If I do try to import the same files again, I run the risk of getting two copies of the files on my computer, if I've changed the name of the files on the computer.
But if I leave the names of the files the same, then the Photo Downloader won't mistakenly download a second copy of the files. If you do decide to change the filenames when you import your photos, I suggest that you go to this field, Preserve Current Filename in XMP, and put a check mark there. That will cause the Photo Downloader to remember under the hood, the original filename as it came out of your camera. There are a few other options here. I leave Open Adobe Bridge checked, so that after the photos are imported, I'll be able to see them in Adobe Bridge.
Convert to DNG is relevant only if you've shot RAW files, and that's a relatively advanced topic that I'll address in a later movie. But just to summarize, if you do shoot RAW files, you may want to convert them upon importing into your computer, from your camera manufacturer's proprietary RAW format like .NEF or Nikon files to a more universal open-source RAW format, DNG, so that theoretically, you'd be able to open those files in the future with software other than the camera manufacturer's software.
I always leave Delete Original Files unchecked, because I don't want to run the risk of deleting the originals before I'm absolutely sure that they've been transferred over to my computer. So after the transfer from the card or the camera to the computer is complete, then I'll take the memory card, put it back into my camera and use the camera's menus to delete the photos from the card, so that there's room to shoot more. 'Save Copies to' comes in handy, if you have an external hard drive attached to your computer and turned on, because this will automatically make a backup copy of all the photos that you're importing to your computer, and store it on that external hard drive.
You can navigate to an external drive here using the Choose button. At this point, I could click Get Photos, but I'm not going to do that yet. Instead, I want to click the Advanced Dialog button, because I want to show you what other options are available there. Keep in mind that you don't have to use this Advanced Dialog box at all. But there is one feature here that I really like that sometimes causes me to use this Advanced Dialog box rather than the Standard Dialog box I just showed you, and that is that over here on the left, I can see a thumbnail of every single photo that's on my memory card before I've imported those.
So I can choose which of these to import and which not to. If I have some photos that I think are really bad or uninteresting shots, then I'll uncheck those here in this Advanced Dialog box. So I can just come in and uncheck the photos that I don't want, one by one, or I could click UnCheck All, and then check the photos that I do want. So I might pick this one to bring in and this one and this one and this one and this one and not bother bringing in the others. But you do want to be careful about this, because if you don't import a particular photo, you're going to lose it forever, if and when you erase the memory card in your camera.
Over on the right side of the Advanced Dialog box, are settings very similar to those that I just showed you in the Standard Dialog box, with the addition of the Apply Metadata area down here. Metadata means information about photos, like the date on which they were taken, the camera settings used, and a lot more, information that your camera adds to the photos. Here I can add even more information to my photos when I import them into my computer. For example, I might want to add some copyright information. I'm going to click in the Copyright field, and then I'll hold the Option key down, as I tap the G key on my keyboard to add a Copyright symbol.
Then I'm going to type my name, because I'm the photographer, and the date. That information will be appended to the photos under the hood on my computer. Now that I'm all done with this Advanced Dialog, I'm going to click the Get Photos button and the Photo Downloader will begin bringing the photos in from the memory card to my computer. When the Photo Downloader is done, it closes and in Bridge I can see a thumbnail of each of the photos that was imported into my computer. From here, I can open one or more of these files into Elements for editing, making photo creations, and sharing with family and friends.
At this point in the process, I would eject the memory card reader, put the memory card back in my camera, and use the camera's controls to erase or reformat the card, so it's ready for me to take more photos.
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