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Bringing Photos Into Lightroom Classic

Chapter Description

Learn how to import photos into Lightroom with this sample chapter from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic Classroom in a Book (2021 release) by Rafael Concepcion. You will discover how to organize folders, add keywords and metadata to make your photos easier to find, make backup copies, and even apply editing presets.

Importing images from a hard disk

When you import photos from your hard disk or from external drives, Lightroom Classic offers you more options for organizing your image files than are available when importing from a camera.

You can still choose to copy your images to a new location during the import process, as you did in the previous exercise, but you also have the option to add them to your catalog without moving them from their current location. You might choose to do this if the images you wish to import are already well organized in a folder structure on your drive.

For images that are already located on your hard disk, you have an extra option: to move them to a new location and remove them from their original location at the same time as they are added to your catalog. This option might appeal if the images on your hard disk are not already well organized.

  1. To import the images for this exercise from your computer hard disk, either choose File > Import Photos And Video, press Shift+Command+I/Shift+Ctrl+I, click the Import button below the left panel group in the Library module, or drag the folder onto Lightroom’s Library module.

  2. In the Source panel at the left of the Import dialog box, navigate to the Lessons folder inside the LRClassicCIB folder on your hard disk. Click the lesson02 folder and select Include Subfolders at the upper right of the panel (it’s best to leave this on unless you have some images you don’t want to import).

    An image count in the lower-left corner of the Import dialog box shows that the lesson02 folder contains a total of 16 photos with a combined file size of 874 MB.

  3. From the import type options in the center of the top panel, choose Add so that your photos will be added to your catalog without being moved—an option that is not available when importing images from a camera. Do not click Import yet!

  4. Use the scrollbar at the right of the Preview pane to view all of the images in the lesson02 folder. Drag the Thumbnail slider below the Preview pane to the left to reduce the size of the thumbnails so that you can see as many of the images as possible in the Preview area.

  5. In the Source panel, deselect the Include Subfolders option. The Preview area now displays only 16 images in the lesson02 root folder and the image count in the lower-left corner of the Import dialog box reads: 16 photos/874 MB.

    Before we go any further, let’s review each of the import type options above the Preview area.

  6. Click each of the import type options in turn, from left to right:

    • Copy As DNG will have Lightroom make copies of your images in DNG (digital negative) file format, which will be stored in a new location and then added to your catalog. You’ll notice that for the Copy As DNG, Copy, and Move options, the right panel group offers the same suite of panels—File Handling, File Renaming, Apply During Import, and Destination.

    • Click Copy to have Lightroom create copies of your images in a new location, and then add them to your catalog, leaving the originals in their current locations. You can set a destination for your copies in the Destination panel, as you did in the previous exercise. Expand the Destination panel and click the Organize menu. When you use either the Copy As DNG, Copy, or Move option to import images from your hard disk or from external storage media, the Organize menu offers you the option to copy your photos into a single folder, into subfolders based on the capture dates, or into a folder structure that replicates the original arrangement.

    • Click Move to have the images moved to a new location on your hard disk, arranged in whatever folder structure you choose from the Organize menu, and then deleted from their original locations.

    • Click the Add option to have Lightroom add the images to your catalog without moving or copying them from their current locations or altering the folder structure in which they are stored. For the Add option, the right panel group offers only the File Handling and Apply During Import panels; you cannot rename the original source images during import, and there’s no need to specify a destination because the files will remain where they are.

Applying metadata

Lightroom uses information attached to files to enable you to quickly find and organize your photos. This information is known as metadata. Some of this metadata is automatically added to the file at the point of creation (shutter speed, ISO, camera type, and so on), and some of it can be added after the fact (keywords, your name, and so on).

You can search your image library and filter the results by all of this metadata, as well as things like flag status, color label, shooting settings, or any combination of a wide range of other criteria.

You can also choose specific information about your images from this metadata and have Lightroom display it as a text overlay applied to each image in a slideshow, web gallery, or print layout.

Let’s add some important information into our files quickly, and make sure we don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. For this, we’ll use metadata presets.

  1. In the Apply During Import panel, choose New from the Metadata menu.

  2. Let’s create a metadata preset that includes your copyright information in each file. In the New Metadata Preset dialog box, for Preset Name, type Copyright Info 2021. Then, enter your copyright information into the IPTC Copyright fields and contact information into the IPTC Creator fields. This should give anyone online enough information to get a hold of you should someone find your image interesting and want to use it. It does happen at times.

  3. Click Done/Create to close the New Metadata Preset dialog box, and then confirm that your new metadata preset is selected in the Metadata menu.

  4. Also in the Apply During Import panel, choose None from the Develop Settings menu and type Lesson 02, Portland in the Keywords text box.

  5. In the File Handling panel, choose Minimal from the Build Previews menu. Check that your settings are the same as those shown in the illustration here, and then click Import.

    The images from the lesson02 folder are imported into your library catalog, and thumbnails of the images appear in both the Grid view and the Filmstrip in the Library module.

  6. Right-click the lesson02-0012 image in the Grid view and choose Go To Folder In Library from the menu.


In the Folders panel in the left panel group, the lesson02 folder is highlighted, and the image count indicates that it contains 16 photos.

Right-clicking the folder at this point gives you options to update folder locations, or even find the folder of images inside of Finder (on macOS) or Explorer (on Windows). This comes in handy when you are missing folders, but we’ll talk more about that later in the book. For now, choose Show In Finder/Show In Explorer to see the folder.

6. Importing via drag and drop | Next Section Previous Section

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