Skip to main content

Importing Images into Lightroom Classic

Lesson 3 from: Editing and Organizing your Photography in Lightroom Classic

Jared Platt

Importing Images into Lightroom Classic

Lesson 3 from: Editing and Organizing your Photography in Lightroom Classic

Jared Platt

trending photo & video

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

3. Importing Images into Lightroom Classic

<b>A comprehensive lesson on importing your images into Lightroom Classic, where your images should be saved and why.&#160;&#160;</b>


Class Trailer



A Tour of Lightroom Classic


Importing Images into Lightroom Classic


Selecting Images in Lightroom Classic


Importing Metadata and Catalogs into A Catalog


Organizing Images in Lightroom Classic


Adding Metadata to Your Images in Lightroom Classic


Bonus: Impossible Things AI Plugin


Lesson Info

Importing Images into Lightroom Classic

1 So let's start the workflow 2 where we would normally start, 3 which is you've just shot some images 4 and you have taken those images 5 and you've put them into the hard drive 6 where they're going to exist. 7 Now, Lightroom as a normal course 8 wants to organize your images by folders. 9 And you can, when you go to the import dialogue box 10 down here at the bottom left hand corner, 11 you can copy in images. 12 So, there's different options up at the top middle. 13 Copy is D and G, copy, move and add. 14 So you could put in your card and it would pop 15 Lightroom's import dialogue box up, and it would say, 16 do you want to import these images? 17 And you'd say, yes, and it will copy them 18 from the card to some location. 19 And that's fine, you can do that. 20 But every person that I have ever talked to 21 that has called me in a panic, 22 not knowing where their photos is. 23 Photos are, not photos is, photos are. 24 Anybody who's ever called me in a panic 25 and wondered whe...

re their photos are is a person 26 who has stuck the card in and let Lightroom put the photos 27 where it wants to put them. 28 And because you are not doing it, 29 you tend to lose your photos. 30 Plus, if you're shooting more than one card, 31 then you have to babysit Lightroom, 32 'cause you have to put a card in 33 and then you have to wait for it to import that card, 34 then you have to put another card in 35 and wait for it to import that card. 36 And so instead of doing that, my preference 37 is to take the photos off the card, 38 copy them to the place that they're going to be. 39 So in the actual folder, 40 and I'm going to hide Lightroom right now and show you that. 41 So, I'm gonna go to the working drive. 42 In it you see I have a jobs folder. 43 And in the jobs folder I'm gonna go down 44 to this Day Family Portrait. 45 And you can see that it's 2003 11, November, zero, zero, 46 'cause I didn't remember what day I'd shot it, 47 but it was towards the beginning of the month, 48 so I just put zero, zero. 49 Usually I'll put the exact day that it was shot. 50 So Day Family Portrait, and inside there is a raw folder. 51 And that's where I put all of the photos 52 that I shot for the job. 53 I just drag them all into the raw folder. 54 So there's a whole bunch of images in there. 55 That's what we're going to import. 56 So I am always going to take my images 57 from the card on the camera, 58 and I'm going to copy them in to the hard drive 59 where they're going to exist. 60 And then I go into Lightroom 61 and I click on the Import button. 62 So, I click on the Import button. 63 And when the import dialogue box opens up, 64 I'm going use the option to add the photos 65 because I don't wanna copy them. 66 They're already where they're supposed to be. 67 So I'm just gonna point at them and add them to our catalog. 68 That's all I'm doing. 69 Now in the import dialogue box, 70 besides the options to copy, add, move, et cetera, 71 we have on the left hand side the actual source, 72 where are these images coming from? 73 And then on the right hand side, we have what we're going 74 to do with or to the images as they get imported. 75 So over here, I'm gonna go to the working drive SSD, 76 and I'm going to open up the jobs folder 77 and I'm gonna go down to that Day Family Portrait, 78 and I'm gonna click on the entire job. 79 I'm not gonna open it up and just click on the raw 80 because it's going to, that would just bring in 81 a folder called, Raw. 82 I want to bring in the entire portrait folder. 83 Now the first time you do it this way 84 where you're importing a folder that has a sub folder, 85 you might not see all these images 86 because it only sees that there's a folder in there. 87 But then if that's the case, 88 there would be a little icon in the middle of a blank screen 89 that says, show sub folders. 90 Click on that. 91 Then it'll show everything 92 that's inside that main parent folder. 93 So, I click on the main parent folder for this job. 94 Once I've done that, now I go over here. 95 Remember, I'm gonna add these photos, 96 so I'm not moving them, I'm not copying them, 97 I am just pointing to them and saying, import those photos. 98 Then I'm gonna go over to the right hand side 99 in the file handling, and this is where we're gonna choose 100 what kind of things we do to these images on the way in. 101 So, here are the things that I need to do. 102 First, what previews do I want to build? 103 There are several different types. 104 If you are going to import these 105 and wait for say a day or two days 106 before you ever look at them, then build the one 107 for one previews because it's going 108 to build every pixel of every image. 109 So if you have a 40 megapixel file, 110 it's gonna build a 40 megapixel JPEG preview, 111 so that you can zoom in and out really quickly 112 and see if they're focused. 113 It brings you all the way in. 114 It's just the best possible preview you can have. 115 But it takes a while to make that. 116 So if you're doing a wedding or if you went on a trip 117 and have thousands of photos, it's gonna take an hour 118 or two hours maybe to build that 119 depending on how fast your computer is. 120 If you build a standard preview, 121 it's building a smaller preview. 122 And in the end, if you zoom in or zoom out, 123 it's gonna still want to build the full preview. 124 So, standard is kind of a waste of time. 125 There's no reason to build a standard preview 126 because it's gonna have to try 127 and build something else later. 128 So you're gonna build one for one, 129 or I suggest embedded and sidecar. 130 The embedded and sidecar 131 what it does is it doesn't have to build anything, 132 it just imports them, makes reference to the photos 133 and it uses the embedded preview that's in the photo 134 as it was taken. 135 It's the thing you saw in the back of your camera 136 when you took the picture, and so it's already there. 137 So if you use the embedded and sidecar, 138 it's just going to use what's already there. 139 That's the fastest way to bring things in. 140 In fact, if you're used to something like Photo Mechanic, 141 which people usually say is so much faster 142 at looking at photos than it is in Lightroom 143 It's because people are comparing Photo Mechanic, 144 which uses this concept of embedded previews 145 and sidecar files to Lightroom, 146 who's building one for one previews. 147 But if you do the embedded and sidecar file, 148 this will operate just as fast. 149 Like it's fast, super fast. 150 You're automatically looking at the images as quickly 151 as they can come in and they zoom in and out. 152 You can see whether your images are sharp. 153 It's basically the same experience 154 that you would have in Photo Mechanic. 155 So, this is the fastest way to view your images. 156 And this is the cleanest, clearest, 157 crispest way to look at your images. 158 You just have to wait a little while. 159 So, let's choose embedded and sidecar for now 160 because we wanna see our images. 161 If you have time when you're importing your images, 162 you should also build the smart previews. 163 The reason you want to build the smart previews 164 is that this allows you to do two things. 165 Remember in the preferences we said tell it 166 to prefer working on the smart previews. 167 So what it does is it looks at the smaller version 168 of the raw file instead of the big raw file 169 that's back in the hard drive. 170 And so, it's gonna operate faster. 171 So if you build smart previews 172 every time you import something, 173 it's going to operate faster 174 working on those images 175 because it doesn't have to keep looking 176 at the full huge raw file. 177 It's looking at a much smaller version. 178 So, that's one reason. 179 The other reason is that the smart preview allows you 180 to take your laptop with you and leave the files at home. 181 So you don't necessarily have to have those files present 182 and you can still edit them and adjust them 183 and add keywords to them and all that kind of stuff 184 because you have the smart preview 185 with you with the catalog. 186 So my laptop is what has all of my catalog on it, 187 but it doesn't contain any of the images. 188 But the catalog has mostly all of the images 189 have smart previews on them or associated with them. 190 And so as I leave the house or as I leave the studio, 191 I can walk around with my laptop 192 and I can work on any images I want 193 because everything is there in my laptop. 194 And you saw that I have 400,000 images in my catalog, 195 but none of them are on my laptop. 196 So I can work on 400,000 images, I can search through 'em, 197 I can play with them, but I don't have to have them with me. 198 That's another reason to build the smart previews. 199 You can also click on, Don't Import Suspected Duplicates. 200 If you think you're importing images 201 that you already have in there, all you have to do 202 is click that button and it will then not import anything 203 that it already knows it has. 204 We don't necessarily need to do that. 205 And then the next thing that I'm gonna do 206 is I'm gonna add it to a collection. 207 Now you might ask why we're doing that. 208 If I'm putting them in a particular folder, 209 they're already in a folder and I'm importing that folder, 210 that's where they're organized. 211 Why would I make another collection 212 that's just a virtual folder with the same set of images? 213 And the answer is that collections is where we synchronize 214 to the cloud, and I want everything that I have 215 in my catalog that I'm currently working on 216 to be in the cloud as well, because that makes my ability 217 to edit photos wherever I happen to be easier. 218 I don't have to then later put it on the cloud. 219 I just do it all at once. 220 So, I've got the images where I want them 221 over on my working hard drive, 222 I'm importing them into Lightroom. 223 They're being stored in the same folder 224 that they already exist in. 225 And then I'm telling Lightroom to create another collection. 226 So I add to a collection and I hit the plus button 227 next to this panel. 228 So I click on that plus button and my options are name it. 229 So I'm gonna name this the same thing 230 as the actual job itself. 231 So this is 2023 11 OO Day Family Portrait. 232 Okay, so that's the name of the collection itself. 233 I'm gonna put it in a sub-folder just so we can find it, 234 and it's nice and organized. 235 I'm gonna put it in Creative Live Lightroom Classic 2024. 236 That's what I'm storing all of the files 237 for this web or workshop in. 238 So, I'm gonna put it in that just to keep it organized. 239 And then I'm going to click on this Sync with Lightroom. 240 Sync with Lightroom means that it's going 241 to turn on the synchronization 242 of that collection only up to the cloud. 243 So, I've got this checked, sync with Lightroom. 244 I'm gonna hit, Create. 245 And now you can see over here 246 at the bottom of this collection set inside of 247 the Creative Live Lightroom Classic 2024 Collection Set 248 is the Day Family Portrait. 249 Great, so now I know I have a collection, 250 and then at the bottom of the right hand panel 251 is what to apply during import. 252 So, I can apply developed settings. 253 So, I could go into any of my presets 254 and add a preset on the way in, 255 or I could add metadata on the way in. 256 Let me show you how that works. 257 So if you've never done anything before, 258 this is kind of what it's gonna look like 259 and you're going to hit, New. 260 So now it's gonna give you a panel 261 and you're gonna name this preset for your metadata. 262 And let's just call this Copyright 2024 263 because I haven't made a Copyright 2024 264 because it's just barely 2024. 265 And so, Copyright 2024 is the name of my preset. 266 And what I want to have the metadata do on the way in, 267 I don't need to do anything with the camera info. 268 All I want to do is change the IPTC copyright information, 269 and I'm gonna type in 2024, Jared Platt. 270 So, that's the copyright notice. 271 And then I'm gonna say this is a copyrighted work. 272 Rights and terms of the copyright, 273 I'm going to say contact photographer. 274 If you knew specific rights, you could type 'em in there, 275 but I want them to contact me and then, 276 So, now they know where to contact me. 277 Then I could also type in all of this creator information. 278 So the creator is Jared Platt, 279 and I'm going to put in my email, 280 which is 281 The website is,, 282 and creator's title is photographer. 283 Okay, so you can put in as much information as you like, 284 even down to your address, phone number, 285 all that kind of stuff. 286 But this is what I want in there. 287 You can see that the check marks 288 are what are going to be synchronized in 289 to every photo that comes into Lightroom. 290 So then I'm gonna come up to the top where it says preset. 291 I'm gonna click on that. 292 I'm gonna come down and hit, Save Current Settings 293 as a New Preset, which is going to be called, 294 Copyright 2024. 295 And I'm gonna hit, Create. 296 So now a preset called Copyright 2024. 297 I can just cancel this out now. 298 And now when I go back down in here, 299 you see this metadata drop down now has Copyright 2024. 300 So now everything that gets added in 2024 301 is gonna get that copyright information into the photograph. 302 Also, I can add keywords. 303 So, I know this is a portrait session. 304 I know this is a family portrait. 305 So notice how I'm putting portrait, 306 but also family portrait. 307 These are key phrases, and this is a key word. 308 So if I was searching for a portrait, 309 it would give me this and this 310 because portrait is here, portrait is there. 311 But if I was looking for specifically only family portraits, 312 then I could search for a family portrait 313 and it would give me just this. 314 Does that make sense? 315 I'm only looking for that. 316 I can also type in outdoor because I teach, 317 I'm going to also say it is a lighting compare, 318 no, a lighting example. 319 And I think that will work. 320 So, I have added a bunch of keywords 321 that will help me find this set of images. 322 Remember that I can also find them in the folder 323 that has the client's name on it. 324 So I don't need to necessarily add their name as a keyword. 325 And now I'm ready to import these files. 326 Also, if you do settings 327 for importing files the same every single time, 328 you can also come right down here 329 to this bottom little panel here that says import preset. 330 Click on that little dropdown menu 331 and you can save it as a current preset. 332 So now you could actually just always use the same settings 333 every time you import something. 334 Now, because we're doing a workshop 335 and I don't want to have to wait for all these new presets 336 or these new smart previews to build, 337 I'm actually gonna turn this off and then I'll show you 338 how to build them later if you forgot to build them here. 339 So, I've turned those off. 340 Remember, it's still adding to the collection, 341 and I'm gonna click the Import button. 342 So when we started, I gave you a tour 343 and I told you that this catalog area changes 344 based on what you're doing in the catalog. 345 And this is a prime example. 346 So see how the previous import now has 1,221 images 347 in this little kind of temporary collection. 348 And that temporary collection 349 is pointing to all of the images 350 that I just previously imported. 351 And those images that it's currently fetching 352 all the previews for those images are actually down 353 in this folder towards the bottom here. 354 That is this folder here. 355 So this Day Family Portrait is the folder, 356 but there is a collection up here in the catalog area 357 that says previous import. 358 It's the same set of images. 359 But also notice that if I go down into the collections area 360 inside of the Creative Live 2024 folder, 361 you'll see that there is a collection 362 that has got the same images in it. 363 That doesn't mean that there are three 364 different versions of these images. 365 There's one in a virtual collection of previous import. 366 There's one in a collection that I created 367 while I was making the import, 368 and then the original files are still in their folder 369 that I put them in when I copied them off the camera card. 370 Now that the images have been imported, 371 and we have all of the previews brought in from the previews 372 that were created on the camera itself, 373 if I click the E key for Edward, then I will see loop, 374 the loop view, which is the entire image. 375 So G is for grid, and E is for loop. 376 And if I hit the Z key for zoom, 377 I will zoom in to see if it's sharp. 378 And you can see down at the bottom right hand corner 379 that there is a little tag that says embedded preview. 380 That tells me that the preview I'm looking at 381 is not the full size preview, it is just the little preview 382 that was made by the camera at the time I took the picture. 383 And so, that's what I'm looking at. 384 I can see that the image is sharp, 385 and so I don't need to waste any time 386 building a one for one preview. 387 I can then just pick this file by hitting the P key. 388 And now I know this is an image I'm going to keep. 389 If I wanted for some reason to see that embedded preview 390 turn into a one for one preview, 391 all I have to do is actually click the Embedded Preview 392 and it would build the one for one preview for me. 393 Also, I want you to notice that over in the right hand side 394 in the metadata itself is the copyright information 395 that we put in inside of the import dialogue box 396 when we created our metadata preset. 397 So that's on every file that comes into Lightroom now. 398 So that's it, that's the process of importing. 399 Remember that we don't use Lightroom 400 to import and copy the images in. 401 We take the images off the card 402 and put them where we want them to be, 403 so that we are in control of the location 404 and we don't misplace them. 405 We don't want to not know where they are 406 because we let someone else do the job. 407 We are gonna put those images in the folder 408 in the hard drive, we want them to stay in. 409 And then we'll go to the import dialogue box, 410 point to that folder, and we will tell it 411 to build our smart previews 412 and create a collection and put it in that collection. 413 And I use the same name as the folder. 414 So the folder has got a name. 415 I'm gonna name that collection exactly the same thing, 416 so that I can find it really easily when I search for it. 417 Once I've done that, I'm going to make sure 418 that I add any metadata that I want to the file 419 and hit, Import. 420 Now, I did promise that I would show you what to do 421 if you forgot to build the smart previews 422 and you want them in the files, 423 which I suggest you always do. 424 I'm going to just highlight everything 425 by hitting, Command + A. 426 So, I've got the entire collection of images highlighted. 427 I'm gonna go up to the library menu, 428 go down to the previews portion of that menu, 429 and I'm going to click on Build Smart Previews. 430 And now it's going to start building the smart previews 431 for every single one of these files. 432 And I would argue that the smart preview 433 and the embedded and sidecar previews are the only things 434 you pretty much need nowadays. 435 A one for one preview 436 is only necessary occasionally. 437 And so if I need it, 438 I will click on this little Embedded Preview button 439 when I need it, and it will build it for me at that time. 440 But in most cases, the embedded preview 441 that already exists in the camera is good enough 442 to figure out whether it's sharp enough, 443 whether there eyes are open, et cetera. 444 Anything you're zooming in for can generally done be done 445 just because of that embedded preview. 446 And that's it. 447 That is the process of importing your images. 448 And we will now move on to selecting our images.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Ratings and Reviews


This is a good class, which includes the most recent Lightroom updates. I've watched plenty of videos on YouTube, but this class is much more thorough and is useful to learn more quickly than other options. I recommend it.

Scott Hicks

Just finished watching the entire course. This is filled with a lot of information and Jared takes his time, and goes into detail for you to understand the process of turning great pictures into fantastic pictures. I look forward to watching the other courses in this series.

Student Work