How to import photos into Lightroom – When adding images to your Lightroom catalog you can designate a specific drive and folder in which to physically import your files.
This means you always know where your new material is going and it makes life a lot easier when organising the images later on.
This example demonstrates the simple process to point your imports to a folder on an external hard drive, but you can use the same method to point new imports wherever you want.
First thing to do is set your Lightroom preferences.
- From the Lightroom main menu choose Edit> Preferences (on a PC) or Lightroom> Preferences if working on a Mac.
- In the General Preferences tab select the following options: Show import dialog when a memory card is detected. This automatically opens up the import dialog box when a memory card is inserted or a camera/smartphone is connected. Select the current/previous import collection during import. This opens the completed import in a collection when importing is done. Ignore camera-generated folder names when naming folders. Lightroom ignores any folder names created by your camera. Treat JPEG files next to RAW files as separate photos. If you capture RAW +JPEG photos, Lightroom imports both as individual files. If deselected the JPEG is treated as a sidecar file and the RAW files are given a RAW file extension +jpg.
- In the External Editing tab set edit options to suit your own requirements.
- In the File Handling tab select the following options: Import DNG Creation. Choose file extension dng or DNG as preferred, the Camera RAW compatibility level and JPEG preview size for imported DNG files. Embed Fast Load Data allows images to load faster when opened up in the Develop section. Embed Original RAW File includes all the original RAW data in the DNG file. Reading Metadata. choose whether you want a dot (.) or forward slash (/) to be recognised as keyword separators. File Name Generation. Decide which characters and spaces in imported images are illegal and specify how Lightroom should replace them.
Now it’s time to import your photos into Lightroom.
Next thing is to launch Lightroom and open the catalog you want to work with Lightroom> File> Open Catalog> and navigate to your desired catalog if different to the one you have set as the default in Lightroom> Catalog Settings.
- Insert a memory card or connect your camera to the computer and click the Import button, bottom left of the Lightroom screen.
- On the left of the screen is a list of Sources and devices from which you can import photos or video to your Lightroom catalog. You set the device you want to use top left of the panel.
- In the centre it shows that you are copying the original file across as DNGs.
- On the right is where you designate the destination of the photos. Choose your preferred destination top right.
- Click on the import button at the bottom of the right hand panel.
- Lightroom will create a folder named by current year (you can change that later) and if your import contains photos captured over a range of dates, it will automatically create subfolders, one for each day images were captured and nest them inside the main folder. Click on any of those folders and you will see only the images taken on that specific day. Click on the main folder and you will see all photos you have just imported.
It’s worth spending a little bit of time arranging the folders to suit your own organisational preferences. Here’s a short video demonstrating how I make a few simple changes to this import to make it fit my own cataloging system.