Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Importing photos from a drive, part of Learning Lightroom 6 and Lightroom Classic CC.
- In order to work with any photo or video clip in Lightroom, you have to first import it into the program. Importing is a little different for photos that are on a computer drive versus photos that are on a digital camera's memory card. I suggest you start by importing the photos already on your drives after you've organized them outside of Lightroom as I recommended in the last movie. That way, you'll have an organizational system in place that's all ready for importing new photos from your camera every time you shoot. So in this movie, I'm going to walk you through importing photos from a drive.
And then in the next movie, I'll show you how to import photos from your camera's memory card. The most important thing to know about importing photos from a drive into Lightroom is that we're not using the word import in its everyday sense. The purpose of importing is not to put photos inside a container called Lightroom, rather it's to record a record of your photos in the database that's your Lightroom catalog. So I'm working here in Lightroom's empty default catalog that's made automatically the first time you launch Lightroom. And I'm going to import some of my personal photos rather than exercise files to simulate what you'll do when you first import your own photos to Lightroom.
By the way, if you made an exercise files catalog earlier in the course, and you want to get back to this default catalog to follow along, in Lightroom, go up to the File menu, choose Open Catalog, and navigate to the Pictures folder on your computer and inside that to the Lightroom folder, and tap the file named Lightroom6catalog.lrcat. Now to start the import process to this catalog, you can either click the big Import button at the bottom left of the Library module or go up to the File menu and choose Import Photos and Video, a command that you can access from other modules too.
That opens the big Lightroom import window. There are lots of options in this window. To make it less intimidating, you might think of it as having just three sections, and work through those sections from left to right. Here on the left is where you'll select the source of photos to import into Lightroom. In the center, you'll choose the method for importing into Lightroom, and over on the right, you'll find some additional options for your import. So let's start over on the left, choosing the photos that I want to import. There are two ways to do this. You could go to the Select a Source menu at the top of this column and then navigate through your finder or your explorer to the folder that contains the photos you want to import, or, and this is what I usually do, you can use the folder hierarchy in the Source panel here on the left to do the same thing.
The wide bars in this panel represent drives, so here's the drive in my computer and here's an external drive that I use as the storage drive for my Lightroom photos. I'll click the arrow to the left of the external drive and you can see the folders inside the drive. And I'll open this folder called My Lightroom Photos. And you can see that I have yearly photos and then folders for each shoot, as I explained in an earlier movie about organizing your photos outside of Lightroom before you import them. I'd like to import all of the photos in all of the Lightroom photos subfolders, so I'm going to select the top level folder that I use for my Lightroom photos.
I've called that My Lightroom Photos, and here in the center of the screen, I now see thumbnails of all of the photos in all of the subfolders under My Lightroom Photos. Now if you don't see your photos there, it's because Include Subfolders hasn't been activated. So in that case, just come up to the top of the Source column and check Include Subfolders. Notice that each of the photos in the center has a checkmark next to it, which means that that photo is going to be imported. Now you could go through here and try to uncheck any photos you don't want to import.
You also have some options for viewing and sorting your photos down here at the bottom of the import window, but I usually forgo viewing and sorting and unchecking photos here in the Import window. Instead I import them all and then I cull through them later in Lightroom's library module where I have better options for doing that sort of work. Now let's move up to the top center section of the Import window, which is where you tell Lightroom what you want it to do with the actual photographs during the import process. I suggest that when you're importing photos located on a drive, you usually leave this set to Add.
Let me explain why. If you've already got your photos where you want them to be, in this case on my external drive where I store my Lightroom photos, then there's really no reason to move or copy those photos again during import, so I like to leave this set to Add rather than Move or Copy or Copy as DNG, and that will basically add these photos in place to my Lightroom catalog. It'll leave the photos where they are and will just create a record of them in Lightroom. All that's left to do is move over to the column on the right and take a look at the File Handling and Apply During Import Options.
In the File Handling panel, which you can open by clicking the File Handling title, you can tell Lightroom what size previews you'd like it to build during import. All the images that you see on the face of Lightroom are just previews of your actual original photos, and here you can choose to build a particular size preview. Minimal and Embedded and Sidecar will build small previews during import so that later when you're browsing your photos in Lightroom, you'll have to wait for Lightroom to build larger previews at that time. And that can be frustrating when you're trying to browse through your photos, so I usually choose Standard instead.
When you choose Standard, by default, Lightroom 6 will build previews during import that match the pixel resolution of your monitor, and that can really save you time later when you're browsing your photos in Lightroom. You also have the option here to choose 1:1 which will cause Lightroom to build full-resolution previews during import. This could come in handy if you often zoom into 1:1 view of your photos in the library module, which you might do if you're checking sharpness or noise. If you don't build these 1:1 previews during import, then if you do zoom into a photo later in the library module, you'll have to wait while Lightroom builds a 1:1 preview then, but the tradeoff is that choosing 1:1 during import will slow down the import process.
So I'm going to set this option to Standard. If you already have some photos in your catalog, it's a good idea to leave this option, Don't Import Suspected Dupliates checked. This will cause Lightroom to look through your entire catalog for possible duplicates to the ones you're importing now. If it finds a match, the thumbnail of that photo here in the center of the Import window will turn grey, and the photo won't be imported. I'm not going to make a second copy or build smart previews at this time, but I do want to show you the Add to Collection option in Lightroom 6.
Later in the course, we'll learn more about collections, and you'll see that a collection is a virtual grouping of photos which means that putting a photo in a collection doesn't move the actual photo or change the folder it's located in. The collection just lets you see a group of photos all together. So let's say I want to see all the photos that I bring into Lightroom that I've pre-organized out on my hard drive no matter which folder those photos are located in. Here I can check Add to Collection and I'll see a list of all the collections I currently have, and choose from that list. I can even make a new collection from right here in the Import window by clicking this plus symbol.
I'll give my new collection a name. I'll call it pre-organized. I'll leave the other options as their defaults and click Create. And that creates a new collection which we'll see after we import these photos, and it will put all the imported photos into that collection. Now of course, you also can make collections later in the library module as we'll see later in the course. Let's take a look at the Apply During Import options by clicking that title bar. From here, you can apply preset develop settings, metadata, which could be anything from captions to copyright, and keywords to all the photos that you're importing.
But in this case, because I'm importing lots of different photos, there really aren't any develop settings, metadata, or keywords that would apply to all of them, so I'll leave all of this set to None or blank. Now one more thing, if the choices that you've made here in the Import dialog box are ones that you think you'll use again in the future for other imports, you can set those up as an import preset. To do that, I'll come down to the black bar at the bottom of the Import window, I'll click this menu, and I'll choose Save Current Settings as New Preset.
And that'll save all the settings in the column on the right as well as the import method at the top of the screen in a new preset which I'm going to name import from drive, and I might make a new preset if I were importing from another source like from a camera, but for now, we'll go with import from drive, and click Create, and now if I wanted to use all of these same settings in the future, I would just come down to this menu at the bottom of the Import window and choose import from drive. So now I'm ready to apply all these settings and import all these photos by clicking the Import button at the bottom of the Import window.
That closes the Import window and takes me back to my Lightroom library module. Here at the top left, you can see progress bars that tell you what Lightroom is doing importing those photos and building the standard previews I asked for. When it's done, I can see thumbnail sized previews of all of the photos that I just imported. And down here in the Folders panel, I can see the folder hierarchy that includes the folders and subfolders for all the photos that I just imported. And down here in the Collections panel, I can see that collection that I created in the Import window and clicking on that collection displays all the photos that are in that collection.
So that's the import process you'll use whenever you're importing photos from your computer or from an external drive into Lightroom. Now when you're importing photos from your camera, you can either offload those from your camera onto your computer and then use the procedure I just showed you, or you have another option which is to have Lightroom offload the photos from the camera's memory card for you at the same time that it imports them into Lightroom, and that's what I'll show you how to do in the next movie.
- Understanding the Lightroom catalogs
- Importing photos from multiple sources
- Organizing photos in the Library module
- Reviewing and rating photos
- Creating collections
- Tagging faces
- Making basic corrections in the Develop module
- Making local photo edits with the adjustment tools
- Stitching together panoramas
- Fixing perspective
- Converting to black and white
- Printing and exporting edited photos
- Fixing missing photos