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Importing Photos To Lightroom

My Workflow: Stage 1

By David Fleet

importing photos to lightroom

Importing photos into Lightroom is the first step in my post-processing workflow. This is something that Lightroom really makes a piece of cake, but if you're used to using different software a little step-by-step guide is always handy. So here it is!


1. Setting Up Photo Folders On Your Computer

Lightroom has a really cool library function, which is arguably one of its best features. It allows you to organise your photos into easily manageable folders and catalogues. So, to get things moving, you need to choose where you'll actually be storing your photos. Now, the default option is to store them on your local hard drive, usually C: drive, but I'd suggest storing photos on another internal drive if you have one.

Why? Well, you'll run out space quickly if everything is stored on your main hardrive, and things can become very messy and disorganized. So having a dedicated hardrive for your photos is a really great idea. What I do is to store all my pictures on the D: drive, and then back them up to several external hardrive (something you can tell Lightroom to do automatically for you when importing images).

importing photos to lightroom

You don't need to ultra-organized about it all; 1 simple back-up should suffice for most people. I suppose I'm just extra cautious because as a professional, my photos are my livlihood. I have 1 main folder in my computer's D: drive, called 'My Lightroom Photos', which has sub-folders within it.

importing photos to lightroom

Final quick note: It's worth moving any existing photos on your computer into your new Lightroom folder. All you have to do is drag and drop them into the folder, and the software will manage them.

2. Importing Photos To Lightroom

To import pictures already in your computer simply press Import ('ctrl+shift+I') when in Lightroom's Library module. You'll be taken to the photo import screen. Now just select the folder with the images in that you want to import. If there are some that you want to leave out, just uncheck the checkbox in the top left of the image thumbnail.

importing photos to lightroom

You also have the options to: Move files, copy them, or simply add them to Lightroom's catalogue whilst leaving them in their existing position. If you have already dragged and dropped your images, as previously explained, then you can simply choose the 'add' option.

Here's a handy tip: When importing photos into lightroom I always leave the checkbox ticked for 'don't import suspected duplicates'. This way I never end up importig several copies of the same file accidentally.


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3. Applying Keywords and Meta-Data

I love the fact that you automatically apply keywords and/or copyright statements when importing photos to Lightroom. It's an epic time-saver for me personally! All you have to do is click on 'edit pre-sets' in the 'Apply During Import' menu, and specify the settings and meta-data you want to apply.

In the image below you can see that I've added a copyright notice plus contact information. So should someone come across this image on the web and wish to use it, there is no excuse for doing so illegally without getting in touch and requesting permission. A great safeguard, very easily achieved.

importing photos to lightroom

4. Importing Photos To Lightroom From A Camera

Right, this is a very simple thing, similar to the above process. Just choose to import photos from a 'device' rather than a 'folder'. In my case the device is called 'g:\EOS DIGITAL'.

importing photos to lightroom

Lightroom will recognize your memory card as soon as it is attached to the computer and give you the option to import its contents. It's easy to decide on your 'keepers' with this system; just double click on a particular file to have a look at its sharpness, composition etc. If you choose to ditch it, uncheck the the box in the top left of the thumbnail, and Lightroom will darken the image to show it's not being imported.

importing photos to lightroom


5. Creating Back-Ups

Importing photos to Lightroom makes creating back-ups a snap. In the file handling section (top right), choose the location of your back-up folder and Lightroom will automatically save the images there. Simple as that.

I would also tend to add a name in the custom text field (to help me remember which shoot the images are from), then specify location and time of day, i.e 'Luskentyre, sunset'.


So that's about it for importing photos to lightroom guys! You should now be able to set up easily manageable folders and import images with the setting you want. Next up, I'll be talking you through phase 2 of my workflow: organizing photos in Lightroom with 'Collections'.

The Lightroom Series:

1. Lightroom Tutorials Home
2. Lightroom Review

1. Importing Photos to Lightroom
2. Organizing Photos in Lightroom
3. The Lightroom Develop Module
4. Editing Photos in Lightroom 1
5. Editing Photos in Lightroom 2


Have Your Say and Share Your Photos

Photoshop v Lightroom: Your opinion. So which of Adobe's post-processing options takes the prize for you, and why?

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