This is part two in our Lightroom 101 series. In part 1,  you were introduced to Adobe Lightroom and learned why this is a software that can take your photography to the next level. You also learned the importance of organizing your files and how to do that before installing Lightroom.

In part two you’ll learn how to import images to Lightroom and prepare them for processing. Let’s jump straight into it and begin by finding the import menu at File > Import Photos and Video… 

Choose Source

Adobe Lightroom allows you to import images from various sources such as your HDD, external hard drive or directly from your camera. The process is almost identical regardless of the source you import from but there’s a slight difference between importing images from your hard drive and your memory card.

Import from Hard Drive or External Hard Drive

If you’ve been photographing for a while, the chances are big that you have a large library of images stored on either your computer’s hard drive or an external hard drive. After reading the first part you might have organized the files into folders and subfolders but if you still haven’t done this, I strongly recommend that you take some time to organize your images before continuing to read. You’ll be grateful that you took the time to do so in the future.

When your images are organized, it’s time to import them into Adobe Lightroom.

When pressing the import button a new window appears. To the left, there’s a list of sources to import images from. Normally, this is either your internal hard drive, external hard drive(s) and your camera or smartphone.

Select the hard drive which accommodates the images you wish to import. From here you find the folders and subfolders you have created earlier. If you wish to import all the images, select the main folder (my top folder is “Photography” as you learned in part one).

Import Source Lightroom

From the top section in the import menu select “Add” This lets you add images to a Lightroom catalog without moving them in your computer’s file system.

Th next step is to select the images you wish to import from the folder. In this case, you wish to import all images inside the folder. When you open a folder, all images are automatically selected but if they for some reason are not, select the “check all” button below the image grid.

You can manually select the images you wish to import by clicking on them if you don’t want to import all. Make sure that you clicked the “uncheck all” button first.

Press Import when all the images you want to import have been selected.

Import From Memory Card

Lightroom’s import menu pops up automatically when inserting the camera’s memory card to the computer. There are a few different ways to import images from the camera’s memory card but the easiest and quickest is to do it directly in Lightroom.

Instead of using the Add option from the header menu you’ll use the Copy method instead when you’re importing images directly from the memory card. This option copies images to a new location on your computer and adds them to the selected catalog.

Just like in the previous example, you select the images you wish to import, and simply press the import button afterward. It is as simple as that, you have now imported your images.

Global Settings

Regardless of the source you import from, there are a few options you should take notice of in the File Handling window.

Before importing the images consider selecting the Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates option. By doing so, you avoid having your Lightroom catalog filled up with duplicate images.

The next option you have is to Add to Collection. We will look further into collections in another chapter but a quickly explained, a collection is a folder you can save a series of images to that you want to easily access later. As an example, I have a collection of the images I have processed and optimized for web.

People use collections differently and some people don’t use it at all. Personally, I do not import images directly to a collection but I rather add them to a collection at a later stage of the workflow.

Another option you have is to Build Smart Previews. This is a great option when you import large numbers of images and want to quickly browse through them and choose which ones to keep. I know there are many wedding, portrait and event photographers who use this option. Without building smart previews you may find that the image takes a while to load, especially when photographing in RAW formats.

None of these options are crucial for the workflow but I suggest that you familiarize yourself with them in order to know what fits your needs best.

In the next part of this series, we will look closer at the Library Module and begin to fully exploit the powers of Lightroom.

I would love to hear how your progression with Lightroom is going. Leave a comment and let us know!