Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tutorial / Lightroom: importing files

It seems such a simple thing: importing your files into Lightroom. It is. But you can do much more than just hit the Import button. This tutorial was written to give you some tips and tricks to have an even smoother import of files into Lightroom. 

I hope you'll find this workflow useful. 

1. Select a source
Attach your camera or card reader to your computer. Click on the Import button in de library module. If by chance your pictures are already on your computer, you select the appropriate folder at this point. 

2. Select the images
Now you'll get to see the thumbnails of all the images on your camera or card (or in the designated folder). 

This is where you can deselect the images that you don't want to import into Lightroom. 

3. File handling
The right side of the 'import screen', offers several really handy options. First up is 'File handling'. 

It start with the option to build Smart Preview.

When you check that box, Lightroom will actually make copies of your images: editable preview images. Such a preview is normally used when you're using removable drives whilst working with Lightroom. 
Lightroom can only work with images that have been imported into its catalogue. When you import your images, Lightroom notes where the images are on your disk so it can access them if and when you want to edit them.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind:
- As Lightroom doesn’t store the actual images you will encounter problems when you try to edit images and your removable drive with images isn't connected to your computerIn this case, you will see a preview of the image in the Library module. If you then select the image and open it in the Develop module, you will see a message saying “The folder could not be found”. The editing tools are all disabled and you can’t proceed.
- I
t's also smart to use Lightroom when you (re)move pictures on or from your disk. If you only do it in Explorer, Lightroom has no clue where your files are.

Conclusion is that it can be helpful build Smart previews, but it does take up (extra) space on your disk. 

Another useful option upon importing is to create a collection for your (new) images.

I consider Collections in Lightroom as a key tool for organizing images. Working with collections you'll have the best overview of all your images in Lightroom. 

You can choose to add your images to an existing collection or to create a new collection. 

4. File renaming
This is where you have the option to rename your images to a name that makes (more) sense to you and that makes it easier to organize. 

5. Apply during import
So after you've followed the workflow til here, there's still more things Lightroom can do for you. To make importing, organizing and editing your files even easier. 

First there is the developing settings. Lightroom can add a preset to all your images you want to import. For example give all the images a little more contrast. Click on the preset you want to use or choose None if you prefer to proceed without presets. 

The next options is to add metadata to all your images. This data contains all the information about the photographer/owner of the images. Instead of having a mega watermark blasted all over my images, I prefer to use the metadata feature. 

Next step is to add keywords to all your images.

6. Destination
So, upon importing you should also decide where the files should be stored in Lightroom. This can be either in an existing folder or you can create a new folder. 

Right mouse click gives you the option to Create New Folder

7. File type

When you choose Copy, Lightroom will import CR2 files (Raw File). I always choose the option Copy as DNG (Digital Negative). This is the RAW format of Adobe. This is my preferred choice as the imported files are a bit bit smaller.

When your images are already on your computer you've just got Add option.

8. Import
Last but most certainly not least: click the Import Button. Whilst importing your images, Lightroom shows the status of the import. 

If you choose Copy as DNG, Lightroom will convert your images to DNG after the import. 

That's it! Good to go for the next fun part: editing your great images.


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