I know I just wrote a post that talks about how to import photographs into Lightroom. The thing is, in that post, I kept things simple. I pretended that you had already taken all your photos off your camera and had them situated neatly on either your local hard drive or your external drive. Nowhere in that post did I discuss how to import your photos directly from your camera into Lightroom and then save those same photos on the hard drive of your choosing. I’m here today to correct that and let you in on all the details of how to accomplish this task. And the good part is, it’s really not all too difficult.
There’s a benefit to working directly from your camera. For starters, it’s efficient. At its core, Lightroom is about organization and optimization. If you’re removing all your recent photo shoot’s photos from your camera, storing them in a folder on your hard drive, looking through them to filter out the bad ones and then importing what’s left into Lightroom, you’re sort of bypassing a lot of Lightroom’s functionality. That’s what Lightroom is for – to organize and filter and all that. So why not use it for how it’s meant to be used?
In this post, I’m going to talk about how to find the photos you’d like to import from your camera, how to import them as working copies into Lightroom and then how to store them in a folder on your hard drive that you created right from the inside of Lightroom. For the sake of brevity, I’ll skip some of what I already covered in my previous post, so it may be beneficial to read both. You can find this post’s better half right here.
Locating Our Photos
If you’ve got Lightroom open on your computer and if you’ve got your camera plugged in or your memory card in the reader, after you hit the “Import” button in Lightroom, you should notice something like this image below.
NOTE: If you’d like to view the larger example image in this post, simply right click on it and choose “Open Image In New Tab.”
Inside the red circle, my camera drive is automatically displayed as the drive to import from. Lightroom figures that if you’ve got the camera plugged in, it’s the drive you want to work from. As you can see, if you’re not interested in pulling the files from your camera, you can easily choose from alternate hard drives below. In my case, my drive options are my local C: drive as well as my external E: drive.
Copying Our Files
Now that we’ve got our source defined, we need to turn our attention to the center box, right above the thumbnails. If you take a look up there, you should notice a few options. They are “Copy As DNG” or “Copy.” Whether you choose to copy over your images and change them to Adobe’s DNG format or simply copy them as they are is up to you. I’ll be writing posts later on that cover exactly what DNG files are and how they can be advantageous to your workflow. For the purposes of this post, I’ll be copying my files over as they are (which happen to be JPEGs).
As a side note – when you choose either Copy As DNG or Copy, all Lightroom is doing is making copies of the images you would like to use and placing them on the hard drive of your choosing. Lightroom doesn’t alter or remove the images that you’ve got stored inside your camera.
Sorting Our Images
If you’ve been shooting all day, you’ve probably got tons of images stored on your camera. If you attempted to view all those images in Lightroom without some sort of sorting option, you’d most likely have a tough time. Luckily, we do have a sort option available to us and it can be found right below the thumbnails. If we click on the “Sort” arrows, we can see a few choices. They are “Captured Time,” “Checked State,” “File Name,” “Media Type” and “Off.” The default value is off, but when I view my images, I like to sort them by File Name. This is simply because as I take photographs, my camera names each file in succession, meaning 1, 2, 3 and so on. So, when viewing my images, I can see then in the order I took them.
Filtering Our Files
Let’s say that you take a few shoots in one day and that, throughout the day, you run inside to your computer to check out what you’ve taken. Each time you come inside to see what you’ve done, you import your most recent photos. By the time the end of the day rolls around, you’ve got hundreds and hundreds of photos on your card. Obviously, this can be overwhelming to look at on a computer screen.
The nice thing is, Lightroom’s got a really neat feature that will allow us to filter through the photos on our card. If we’ve already imported a batch, or a few batches of photos, Lightroom can pick up on that.
Take a look at the three options that are located directly above the thumbnails.
These options include “All Photos,” “New Photos” and “Destination Folders.” So, as I mentioned above, if you’ve already imported some photos, you can move from the default “All Photos” and click on “New Photos” and have all those previous images filtered out. Like I said, this is a really neat feature. If you choose “Destination Folders,” you’re telling Lightroom to hide all images that you’ve already stored in the folder that you plan to import to.
Selecting Our Images
Remember when I told you I had already written a post on how to import photos to Lightroom? Well, this is one of those sections where I’m going to ask that you refer to that post. Since I already covered how to go about working with the thumbnails and how to select the images you’d like to use, please check out the “Selecting Thumbnails” section over there. Actually, while you’re at it, you might want to spend some time reading through the rest of the post. I’ve got some good information in it that I’m just dying to share with you.
Defining Our Destination
Moving over to the third column (are you sensing a flow to this yet?), we’ve got the area where we need to tell Lightroom what to do with the images we’ve chosen to import. The first thing we need to communicate is the destination we’d like to import to. And to do this, we look at the upper right area of Lightroom, next to the word, “To,” which is near the little picture of a hard drive.
In my case, I chose “Other Destination” because I already created a folder on my external hard drive for my “Star” pictures to live. Notice in the previous image that I’ve only got those specific pictures checked off. Only those images will be imported into this folder. The path to this folder is “My Passport (E:) > Jay Drive > Media > Photos > 2015 > 08-Stars.” If you’re wondering how I can up with this naming convention or why I’m storing my photos in an external drive, please refer to this post. I explain it all there.
Now, you have another alternative to select your destination folder. If you move down to the “Destination” dropdown in the third column and click the little arrow, you’ll see some options. You can use the first one called “Into Subfolder” if you haven’t created a folder for your photos yet. Simply check the box and create a name for the folder you’d like to import to. Beneath that, you’ll need to choose the drive where you’d like to store your pictures and then navigate all the way down to the folder you’d like Lightroom to create the sub folder you previously defined. Here’s what that dropdown panel looks like.
This is another case of when I’m going to ask you to refer to my previous post about importing photos into Lightroom. If you head over there and take a look at the “File Handling” section, you’ll see where I explain this panel and its options. I will let you know that I usually choose “Minimal” when importing photos. Also, one option that’s available to us now that we’re importing directly from a camera that we didn’t have before is called “Make a Second Copy To.” This is fairly self-explanatory. If you’d like to copy your images over to a second drive or folder, this is where you would define its location.
For now, I’m going to leave off explaining what the “File Renaming” and “Apply During Import” panels do. I plan on writing a more in-depth post that covers just those two panels in the future. For our purposes today and for the purposes of a good majority of folks, what I’ve already discussed should be enough to import photos into Lightroom and copy them to the destination of their choice. All that’s left to do is click the “Import” button at the bottom right of the screen.
And if you’ve done everything correctly, you should see Lightroom actively import the photos you’ve chosen. When that’s completed, go ahead and open the folder you’ve copied to and you should see your photographs waiting for you.
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