Importing photos from your camera

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Importing photos from your camera

There are lots of ways to get your photos out of your digital camera and into your computer. You can do that using your Windows or Mac operating systems. You can do it using the importing software that you'll often find bundled with your camera. But you as an Elements user have the option of using the Adobe Photo Downloader which comes with Elements to get your photos and videos from your camera into your computer and I highly recommend this option because the Adobe Photo Downloader integrates so nicely with Elements Organizer. The Downloader will not only get your photos into your computer, it will also begin the process of keeping track of them in Elements Organizer.

Here is how it works. I've gone ahead and removed the memory card for my digital camera, and inserted it into an inexpensive card reader that's attached to a USB port on my computer. That's the way I like to do it rather than directly attaching my digital camera to my computer, because if I do have the camera attached to the computer with a cable and the camera's battery happens to die while I am importing photos, I risk losing my original photos. So once I've got the memory card into the card reader and plugged into my computer, the next thing I do is to close any other applications or alerts that may pop up.

On the Mac, that might be iPhoto, on Windows, my AutoPlay dialog box may appear when I insert my memory card. Now, I could launch Elements Organizer from right here in the Windows AutoPlay dialog box, or I could close this dialog boxe as I am going to do now and open my Organizer the usual way and then in Elements Organizer, go to the File menu, choose Get Photos and Videos, and go over to From Camera or Card Reader.

That opens the Adobe Photo Downloader that comes with Elements and it opens the Downloader to its Standard view rather than to the Advanced dialog that I can access from down here. My first stop in the Photo Downloader is the Source field. From this menu I'm going to choose my card reader or camera. If you don't see your camera or card reader listed here, try choosing Refresh List. As soon as I choose my camera or card reader, the Photo Downloader reads the card and tells me information here about the photos on the card.

Next, I am going to tell the Photo Downloader where I want to store the photos that it's going to import. To do that, I will go to the Location path here. The default location is inside my Pictures folder, in a couple of subfolders that the Photo Downloader is going to make for me. If I want to store the photos somewhere else on my computer, I'll click the Browse button and navigate to another location. But I'll just leave this at its default. Next, I will tell the Photo Downloader what subfolders to make, in which to store my photos. By default, the subfolders will divide the photos by the date on which they were shot, organized by year, then month, then day.

But if I want, I can make another choice from this menu. I can have no subfolders, I could use subfolders for which I provide a custom name like the subject of the photos or I could choose Today's Date or variations on the Shot Date. So I'll leave this at its default. Next, I'll choose whether to rename my photos as I import them. I prefer not to rename my photos because I don't want to end up with duplicate photos taking up extra space on my computer. By leaving the photo names unchanged, if I later try to import the same photos again by mistake, the organizer will recognize them and prevent me from importing duplicates.

But if you decide to go ahead and rename your photos on import, do check this box Preserve Current Filename in XMP, so that Elements will remember the original file names under the hood if you ever need those names. Next, I strongly recommend leaving the Delete options at the default which is After Copying, Do Not Delete Originals. That way, the original photos will remain on my memory card until I get a chance to make sure that they're all safely in my computer.

Then later, I'll put the memory card back in the camera and use the camera's menus to delete photos from the card. Next, I have an option that appears only on Windows, not on Mac and that is the option for Automatic Download. I suggest leaving this unchecked. If I were to check this option, then the next time I attach a camera or a card reader, the Photo Downloader will automatically start up and import my photos without giving me the chance to choose the options that I want in this dialog box. So I am going to leave this unchecked.

Now, at this point, I could click Get Media, but I am not going to do that yet, because I want to hop over and show you some options in the Advanced View of the Photo Downloader. So I will click this button, Advanced Dialog box, and that switches me over to this Advanced View of the Photo Downloader. Here, I really like the fact that I can see a Thumbnail Preview of each image that's on my memory card. That way, if there are some duds or some photos that I just don't like very well, I can uncheck those to prevent them from being imported into my computer.

So I'll come up here and uncheck this first photo for example, and then that one will not be imported. Now, please be careful if you do this with your own photos, because the files that you uncheck here will not be copied to your computer and if you later reformat your memory card, you'll lose the photos completely. Another useful feature in this Advanced View of the Photo Downloader is down here; Apply Metadata. Here, I can add Copyright Information to all the imported photos automatically. Now, this Copyright Information won't be visible on the face of the photos, but it will be added to their metadata under the hood.

So in addition to the basic metadata or information about the photos that's coming in with the photos from the digital camera, I'm going to add my name here as the creator and next I'll click in the Copyright field and I will type my last name and the year in which I took the photo. I am going to leave all of the other fields at their defaults. Some of this information came in from the Standard View of this dialog box. Then there are these Advanced Options that I prefer to leave unchecked. Now, I'll start the import of the checked photos by clicking the Get Media button here at the bottom-right of the dialog box and I get this Progress Bar that reports the progress of the import of the photos to my computer.

When the import is done, I get this message telling me that the Photo Downloader has successfully copied my photos from my card reader into my computer and that it's now going to do the second part of its job which is to import these files into my Organizer catalog. Now, the word import isn't exactly right, because as I've explained, including photos in the Organizer doesn't mean moving them or copying them or really doing anything else to them. It just means that the Organizer will keep a record of each photo that includes a pointer to where the photo is located in my computer's file and folder structure, a thumbnail preview of the photo, and metadata about the photo like the date the photo was taken, and the copyright information I just added.

So to close this alert, I am just going to click Yes. Now, I can see a Thumbnail View of each of the imported photos here in my Elements Organizer. Again, I have the usual alert that the only items I can see at the moment are those I just imported, and I am going to click OK. Actually, right now I can only see some of the photos that I imported, those that were taken on September 10th, 2010 which were automatically put into a subfolder that the Downloader created for me for that date.

If you remember, I imported some other photos as well, and those were taken on a different date, so they were put into this automatically created subfolder, for September 6th, 2010. If I click on that subfolder here in the Organizer, I will see those photos of this fire in my hometown Boulder, Colorado. So now I'm done using the Photo Downloader to both import the photos from my card reader into my computer and begin the process of organizing them here in my Elements Organizer catalog. Now, you don't have to use the Adobe Photo Downloader that comes with Elements to get your photos and videos off your camera and into your computer.

You are perfectly free to use some other method and you don't have to use the Photo Downloader to include the imported photos in the Organizer. If you get your photos into your computer by some other method, you could include them in your Organizer as I've already shown you how to do with any other media files on your computer, by going up to the top of the Organizer, and from the File menu, choosing Get Photos and Videos, From Files and Folders. But using Elements Photo Downloader to both import photos from your camera and get them indexed here in the Organizer is a great way to kill two big birds with one stone in Elements.

Importing photos from your camera
Video duration: 8m 57s 11h 20m Beginner


Importing photos from your camera provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Jan Kabili as part of the Photoshop Elements 9 Essential Training

Photoshop Elements
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