After you choose the photos you want to import (see Import photos from a folder on a hard drive or Import photos from a camera or card reader), use the File Handling, File Renaming, and Apply During Import panels on the right side of the import window to specify options for the photos you are bringing into your Lightroom Classic catalog.
If you’re copying or moving photos into the catalog, you can create a one-time copy, or backup, of the original photo files. In the File Handling panel on the right side of the import window, select Make A Second Copy To and specify a location.
You still need to regularly back up your photos and catalog. For more detailed information on backing up Lightroom Classic, see Back up a catalog.
Lightroom Classic determines a photo is a duplicate of another file in the catalog if it has the same, original filename; the same Exif capture date and time; and the same file size. You can instruct Lightroom Classic to disregard duplicate files when importing.
As photos are imported, Lightroom Classic can immediately display a photo’s embedded preview, or display higher-quality previews as the program renders them. Embedded previews are created by cameras and are not color managed, so embedded previews don’t match how Lightroom Classic interprets the camera raw files. Previews rendered by Lightroom Classic take longer to generate but are color managed.
In the File Handling panel on the right side of the import window, choose an option from the Build Previews menu:
Immediately display images using the smallest previews embedded in the photos. Lightroom Classic renders standard-size previews when needed.
Embedded & Sidecar
Display the largest possible preview available from the camera. This option may take longer than a Minimal preview but is still faster than rendering a standard-size preview. For more details, see Work with Embedded Previews.
Display previews as Lightroom Classic renders them. Standard-size previews use the Adobe RGB color space and are what you see in the Fit zoom level of the Loupe view. Specify the Standard preview size in the Catalog Settings dialog box. See Customize catalog settings.
To create Smart Previews for your imported photos, select Build Smart Previews.
Smart Previews allow you to edit images that are not physically connected to your computer. Smart Preview files are a lightweight, smaller, file format based on the lossy DNG file format. See Smart Previews for more information.
Embedded previews are generated when you select Build Previews option as Embedded & Sidecar in the File Handling menu at the upper-right corner of the Import window.
When you select this preview option, you can scroll through a large set of images quickly in the Library module and also perform 1:1 zoom quicker. The rendering of Embedded previews is prioritized based on the folder you are viewing. For example, if you import and add images to multiple folders, you can immediately begin scrolling through the images as they get added.
In the Library module, Embedded Previews are indicated by icon in the Grid view and Embedded Preview overlay text in the Loupe view as shown below.
The Library module retains Embedded Previews until you edit them or you choose to generate other previews. A preference setting in Lightroom Classic preferences allows you automatically replace Embedded Previews with Standard Previews automatically whenever your system is idle. To select this preference setting, do the following:
- From the menu bar, choose Edit (Win)/Lightroom (Mac) > Preferences.
- In the Preferences dialog, go to the General tab.
- In the Import Options section, select Replace Embedded Previews With Standard Previews during Idle Time. By default, this option is deselected.
When copying or moving photos into the catalog during import, you can specify how the files are named.
Any Develop settings preset can be applied to photos as they are imported. This is especially useful for applying Develop settings to photos from a camera for which you created a Develop preset.
In the Apply During Import panel on the right side of the import window, choose any of the following options from the Metadata menu:
To not apply metadata to photos during import, choose None.
To apply a set of metadata that you saved as a template, choose a metadata preset from the menu.
To apply a new set of metadata to photos while importing, choose New and enter the information in the New Metadata Preset dialog box.
When adding metadata to photos, Lightroom Classic doesn’t apply the data to proprietary camera raw files but to their sidecar XMP files.
Custom Name (x of y)
Names the photos using a custom name, followed by sequential numbers in relation to the total number of photos being imported. For example, 1 of 10, 2 of 10, 3 of 10, and so on.
Custom Name - Original File Number
Names the photos using a custom name, followed by the numeric portion of the photos’ original filenames.
Custom Name - Sequence
Names the photos using a custom name, followed by sequential numbers starting with the number you specify.
Date - Filename
Names the photos using the creation (capture) date, followed by the photos’ complete original filenames.
Filename - Sequence
Names the photos using the photos’ original filenames, followed by sequential numbers starting with the number you specify.
Shoot Name - Original File Number
(Import) Names the imported photos using the shoot name, followed by the numeric portion of the photos’ original filenames.
Shoot Name - Sequence
(Import) Names the imported photos using the shoot name, followed by sequential numbers starting with the number you specify.
Session Name - Sequence
(Tethered capture import) Names the photos using the session name, followed by sequential numbers starting with the number you specify.
Names the photos using the options you set in the Filename Template Editor. See The Filename Template Editor and Text Template Editor.
If you have certain configurations of import options that you reuse frequently, you can save them as presets to speed the import process.
- To create an import preset, specify import options and then chose Import Preset > Save Current Settings As New Preset at the bottom of the import window.
- To apply an import preset, select it from the Import Preset menu at the bottom of the import window, and click Import.
- To delete, update, or rename an import preset, select it in the Import Preset menu and then choose the appropriate command in the Import Preset menu.
You can import folders of photos using a simplified import window that offers quick access to key import options, including presets. The minimal import window does not display thumbnail previews.