Import photos into a catalog

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The Lightroom 3 import window
Source panel

Toggle Minimal import

Preview area

Options and Destination panels

When you import photos into Lightroom, you work from left to right the import window. First, on the left, identify what photos you want to import (the source photos). Then, in the middle of the window, choose how you want to import them into the catalog (add, move, or copy them). Finally, on the right, specify where you want the photos to be stored (the destination folder) and other options for the imported files.

When importing photos for the first time, it helps to think through how you want to organize your photos and where you plan to store them before you import. This can help minimize the need to move photos later and possibly lose track of them in your catalog.
  1. In the Library module, do one of the following:

    • Click the Import button.

    • From the main menu, choose File > Import Photos.

    • Drag a folder with photos or individual photos into the Grid view.

  2. Click Select A Source or From in the upper-left corner of the import window, or use the Source panel on the left side of the import window to navigate to the photos you want to import.

    Note: You can import photos from a networked drive. Connected networks appear in the Source panel. To add a network location, click From or Select A Source, choose Other Source, and navigate to the networked folder. On Windows, click the Plus button to the right of the Source panel name and choose Add Network Volume.
  3. In the top center of the import window, specify how you want to add the photos to the catalog:

    Copy As DNG
    Copies camera raw files to the folder you choose and converts them to the Digital Negative (DNG) format.

    Copies the photo files to the folder you choose, including any sidecar files.

    Moves the photo files to the folder you choose, including any sidecar files. Files are removed from their current location.

    Keeps the photo files in their current location.

    Note: The Move and Add options are not available when importing from a camera card.
  4. Select the photos that you want to import from the preview area in the center of the import window. A check mark in the upper-left corner of the thumbnail indicates that the photo is selected for import.

    • To filter photos in the preview, select one of the following:

      New Photos
      Excludes suspected duplicates and previously imported photos.

      Destination Folders
      (Available only when copying or moving photos into a catalog) Groups photos by their destination folder.

      Select All Photos
      Removes all filters.

    • Click the Loupe View button  in the toolbar to zoom in to a single photo.

    • Click Check All or Uncheck All in the toolbar to globally select or deselect all photos in the folder.

    • Click the Sort pop-up menu in the toolbar to sort photos by Capture Time, Checked State, File Name, or Media Type (image or video file).

    • Drag the Thumbnails slider to adjust the size of the thumbnails in the grid.

    • To select or deselect specific photos in a folder, click the box in the upper-left corner of the previews. Or, Alt-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac OS) anywhere on the thumbnail to select and deselect photos.

  5. If you are importing photos by moving or copying them, specify where to put them: In the upper-right corner of the window, click To and choose a location for the photos. Specify further options in the Destination panel:

    The Destination panel shows a preview of the folder(s) where you are putting the images. Use the preview to help ensure that you are importing the photos to your intended location.
    Into Subfolder
    Copies or moves the imported photos into a new folder. Type the name of the new folder in the text field.

    Organize the photos in the new subfolder in one of three ways: preserve the original folder hierarchy of the source folder; create subfolders by date; or put all photos into one folder.

    Date Format
    Choose a format for the dates.

  6. Specify other options for the imported files using the panels on the right side of the window. See Specify import options.

  7. Click Import.

Adobe recommends

Importing with Add in Adobe Photohop Lightroom 3 from David Marx on Vimeo.

Importing with Add in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3

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If your photos are already located where you want them on a hard drive, use the Add option in the Import window to bring them into your catalog.

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