Join Mikkel Aaland for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing images, part of Getting Started with Lightroom 2.
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Let's take a look at importing images into Lightroom, in detail. There's several ways to import your images into Lightroom. They're also several things you can do on import, that will make your job easier when your ready to organize, edit, rate, and process your images in Lightroom. The most obvious way to start the import process is by clicking here on the Import button at the bottom of the left panel in the Library Module. When you click on this button you have a choice where to bring your pictures in from. In this case, I am navigating to my hard drive and picking folder with this date.
Select choose and now this will open up the import photos dialogue box. Here you're faced with several options via the import photos dialogue box and choosing the correct options here can make a big difference when you work with your images in light room later. Lets go through this process and see how to make appropriate choices. If you select Show Preview from the bottom left of the dialogue box, here, thumbnail versions of the files are viewable on the right side of the box. This slider here, allows you to change the size of the thumbnails, and here you can select or deselect thumbnails to bring into the import process. You can also select Check All or Uncheck All to select thumbnails as well. So the first decision you need to make is how Lightroom should handle your original files on import.
Here are your choices under file handling. If you select Add Photos to catalog without moving, Lightroom does not move your original files, regardless of where they reside. It creates a link to the file, which remains until you Move or Delete The File. If at a later point you move a file from its original location and Lightroom can't find the original file, you prompt Lightroom to search for the new location. Checking the box down here that says don't re-import suspected duplicates ensures that any duplicates of existing photos in the library are not imported.
The next option copy photos to a new location add to catalog when you do this, you choose any location you want to copy your images to by selecting choose right here. By default on the mac and in windows vista the image files are place in the pictures folder. Now, Lightroom will make a complete copy of your files and place them in folders organized by an option of your choice. The default organization choice is by original folders, but you can also choose to organize them all in one folder or by date as you can see here there are several options. If you've chose Copy Photos to a new location and add the catalog as an option, you'll notice here that you now have an option of applying a file name template.
This is not something that will appear if you have chosen to add photos to catalog without moving. The main drawback to using copy photos to a new location in, on import, is it seriously slows the import process. Especially, if your image files are large, or if you have a large number of files. The other option here, is Move Photos to a new location and add to catalog. If you select that, this is similar to the previous option, but it actually moves the original file and places it in a predetermined location on your hard drive.
Because it's not copying the file, only moving it, the process doesn't take as much time as the previous choice. Be aware, if you're using this option with a card reader or your digital camera as a source, Lightroom deletes the files from the card or the camera after moving them. The final option here under file handling is copy photos as digital negative DNG and add to catalog. This choice turns your original files into DNGs and places the DNG files into a predetermined folder on your hard drive.
The original files are left in their original locations. Digital negative or DNG is a standardized openly documented raw file format championed by Adobe. You can also convert a TIFF or a JPEG into DNG if you want. I'm going to leave file handling set to add photos to catalog without moving, which is the option I most often use. When this option is, selected down here under information to apply you can see now under develop settings. This gives you an option if you want to apply a developed preset to all your images on import.
What you see here are the standard out of the box presets that ship with the Lightroom. You've created your own presets which we'll certainly show you how to do in another video, they'll also show up here as well. So this is something that you can apply on import of you want. Here, under metadata, there's another way to apply a preset to your images on import. I find this one of the most useful features of the Import Photos dialogue box. So I'm going to walk you through setting up a metadata preset.
Edit presets brings up this dialog box you see here. I'm going to go ahead and just make a very general preset with my name under copyright, and copyright status is copyrighted. This is something I want to apply to all my images on import, and this saves me a lot of time later. I don't have to go back to my image individually and apply this information. I'm going to make this a very simple template, and just put my email address here, and let's type that in.
Just for the sake of time, I'll leave some of these other fields blank, but you certainly can fill in as much of this as you want. Now, when I select done, it's going to give me the option to save this and I'm going to call this generic oland preset. And now, you'll see this shows up here under the popup menu, and I can access this whenever I import images in the future into Lightroom. You can create as many of these metadata presets as you want by selecting new and then under the metadata dialog box just typing in new information into the field and then rename it, so you could have several metadata presets for several situations, you can also add keywords here in this field, that describe the content of your images on import on a one time basis. This is useful for shoots that contain common themes or content. Keep in mind that for many images you're going to want to add a content specific keyword on an image by image basis and that's something you might want to do more effectively in the light room library module. Here, under initial previews, you have four choices. Minimal means that Lightroom generates the previews in the most efficient way, often using preexisting preview files generated by your digital camera. The next choice, is embedded in SideCar, which depending on which data is associated with your image files, can result in quickly viewable previews, with a higher quality than those generated by the minimal setting. Select standard, and Lightroom generates a 1400x40 pixel preview by default, or a user set size determined in Lightroom preferences.
Select one to one and Lightroom generates a preview the same size as the original file. Both the standard and one to one options can increase the import time but save you time when you enlarge or work on a file. Generally, I keep this set at minimal. Okay, so now we're ready to import the 168 images I know there's that many because I'm looking up here and it tells me into Lightroom when I'm ready I select import and you'll see I'm immediately transported into Lightroom's library module.
And the thumbnails appear, almost instantaneously, I as I scroll down you see that not all of them are there, it's going to take a little while for them all to be brought in. I can look up in the upper left hand corner here and I can see a progress bar that's showing me the state of my progress. And that's very handy and very useful, it doesn't mean that I can't work on a file at this point as long as its there I can immediately start working on it, its going to now load and render a larger preview, and in the mean time in the background as you can see by this status bar Lightroom continues to import the rest of the images. Alright, so that's one of the simplest ways to get images into light room. Let's look at a couple other ways as well.
So we saw how clicking on the import button starts the import process. You can also select File > Import Photos from disk, and that'll start the process as well. I want to point out one other important aspect of importing images into Lightroom, and that has to do with Lightroom Preferences, which are found here. Under Import, you can see there's a couple options. I have selected here, Show Import Dialog when a memory card is detected.
That means, that when I hook up my camera, or memory card, Lightroom will automatically bring up the import dialog box to start the import process. If you do select that, which you may decide to do, it just ignores that and you'll have to navigate to the source as we did earlier. Ignore camera generated folder names when naming folders. This only applies if you're changing the file name on import, and I usually just keep that deselected. This here option, this only applies if you're shooting digital camera that allows you to shoot raw files and .jpg's at the same time. in which case if you want to bring in both the JPEG and the RAW file and have them reside in Lightroom next to each other, you want to select that. Generally, I don't want to clutter up my library with basically the same image twice, so I deselect that.
So these are other preferences that you should take into consideration having to do with importing your photos into light room.
- Importing images
- Customizing the workspace
- Renaming files
- Working with Photoshop Lightroom catalogs
- Using the Library module
- Using the Develop module
- Using the Slideshow and Web modules
- Printing and exporting images