Import photos automatically

  1. Lightroom Classic User Guide
  2. Introduction to Lightroom Classic
    1. What's new in Lightroom Classic
    2. Lightroom Classic system requirements
    3. Lightroom Classic | Common Questions
    4. Lightroom Classic Key Concepts
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    6. Feature summary | Lightroom CC 2015.x/Lightroom 6.x releases
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    2. Sync Lightroom Classic with Lightroom ecosystem
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  5. Import photos
    1. Import photos from a camera or card reader
    2. Import photos from a folder on a hard drive
    3. Import photos automatically
    4. Import photos from Photoshop Elements
    5. Import photos from a tethered camera
    6. Specify import options
    7. Set import preferences
    8. The Filename Template Editor and Text Template Editor
  6. Workflows
    1. Apply Masking in photos
    2. Export and save your photos as JPEGs
    3. Export and watermark your photos
    4. Import your photos
    5. Adjustment Brush: the basics
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    10. Enhance your workflow with Lightroom Classic
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  10. Maps
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  11. Organize photos in Lightroom Classic
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  12. Process and develop photos
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  19. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Keyboard shortcuts

The Auto Import feature automatically imports photos into a Lightroom Classic catalog or a collection by monitoring a watched folder for photos and then importing them into a catalog. After you specify auto-import settings, you can simply drag photos into the watched folder, and Lightroom Classic imports them automatically, allowing you to bypass the import window.

Auto Import is useful if Lightroom Classic doesn’t support your camera for tethered import: You can use your camera's software to download photos from your camera to a watched folder.

Note:

If Lightroom Classic starts automatically when you attach a camera or card reader to your computer and you want to turn off this functionality, change your import preferences. See Set import preferences.

Enable automatically importing photos

Choose File > Auto Import > Enable Auto Import.

Specify auto import settings

  1. Choose File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings.

  2. In the Auto Import Settings dialog box, specify any of the following:

    Watched Folder

    Chooses or creates the watched folder where Lightroom Classic detects photos to auto import. The folder you specify must be empty. Auto Import does not monitor subfolders in a watched folder.

    Destination

    Chooses or creates a folder where the auto-imported photos are moved into.

    File Naming

    Names the auto-imported photo. See Naming options.

    Information

    Applies Develop settings, metadata, or keywords to auto-imported photos.

  3. Select Standard from the Initial Previews menu to have Lightroom Classic render previews of the imported photos rather than only using the embedded previews in the photo files. See Specify initial previews.

Set up watched folders

  1. In the Auto Import Settings dialog box, click the Choose button next to Watched Folder.

  2. Navigate to the location you want and do any of the following:

    • To create a watched folder, click Make New Folder and then overwrite New Folder to give the folder a name (Windows), or click New Folder (Mac OS), give the folder a name, and click Create.
    • To select an existing watched folder, select the folder.
    Note:

    You can't choose an existing folder that contains photos as a watched folder.

  3. Click OK (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS).

Select a destination folder for auto-imported photos

When Lightroom Classic detects photos added to a watched folder, the photos are moved into a destination folder and can be imported into the catalog, or to a collection.

To import photos to a catalog, do the following:

  1. In the Destination area of the Auto Import Settings dialog box, click the Choose button beside Move To.

  2. In the Browse For Folders (Windows) or Open (Mac OS) dialog box, navigate to the location you want, and do any of the following:

    • To create a destination folder, click Make New Folder and then overwrite New Folder to give the folder a name (Windows), or click New Folder, give the folder a name, and click Create (Mac OS).
    • To select an existing destination folder, select the folder.
  3. Click OK (Windows) or Choose (Mac OS).

  4. (Optional) Type a name for the destination folder in the Subfolder Name text box.

To import photos to a collection, do the following:

  1. In the Destination area of the dialog box, select the Add to Collection check box. Lightroom Classic now displays all your Collections in a drop-down list.

  2. Select any Collection as your destination for auto-import. 

  3. Optionally, you can also click Create Collection to create a new collection and select it as the destination for import.

  4. Click OK.

Apply Develop settings and metadata to auto-imported photos

In the Information area of the Auto Import Settings dialog box, do any of the following:

  • To apply Develop settings to auto-imported photos, choose a preset from the Develop Settings menu. See Create and apply Develop presets.
  • To apply metadata to auto-imported photos, choose a preset from the Metadata menu. See Create a metadata preset.
  • To apply keywords to auto-imported photos, type in the Keywords text box. Use commas to separate the keywords.
  • To have Lightroom Classic render previews of the imported photos rather than only using the embedded previews in the photo files, choose Initial Previews > Standard.
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