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 catalog.

Back up photos during import

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.

Note:

You still need to regularly back up your photos and catalog. For more detailed information on backing up Lightroom, see Back up a catalog.

Ignore duplicates when importing

Lightroom 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 to disregard duplicate files when importing.

  • In the File Handling panel on the right side of the import window, select Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates.

Specify initial previews

As photos are imported, Lightroom 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 interprets the camera raw files. Previews rendered by Lightroom 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:

    Minimal

    Immediately display images using the smallest previews embedded in the photos. Lightroom 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.

    Standard

    Display previews as Lightroom 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.

    1:1

    Display previews that are a 100% view of actual pixels.

  • 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.

Rename photos when importing

When copying or moving photos into the catalog during import, you can specify how the files are named.

  1. In the File Renaming panel on the right side of the import window, select Rename Files.
  2. Choose a naming option from the Template pop-up menu. For descriptions of the choices, see Naming options. If you choose an option that uses a custom name, type the name in the Custom Text field.

  3. (Optional) If you don’t want a custom numeric sequence to start with “1,” enter a value in the Start Number field.

Apply Develop settings to photos when importing

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 a setting from the Develop Settings menu.

Apply metadata and keywords to photos when importing

  • 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.

    Note:

    When adding metadata to photos, Lightroom doesn’t apply the data to proprietary camera raw files but to their sidecar XMP files.

  • To add keywords to photos while importing, type them in the Keywords text box. Use commas to separate the keywords.

Naming options

Lightroom uses the same naming options for importing, renaming, and exporting photos.

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.

Custom Name

Names the photos using a name 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.

Filename

Names the photos using the photos’ original filenames.

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.

Edit

Names the photos using the options you set in the Filename Template Editor. See The Filename Template Editor and Text Template Editor.

Import using presets

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.

Import photos using fewer options

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.

  1. Click the Show Fewer Options button  in the lower-left corner of the import window.
  2. Click Select A Source on the left side of the window to choose the path for the photos you want to import.
  3. In the middle of the import window, specify whether you want to Copy As DNG, Copy, Move, or Add the photos to the catalog.
  4. Click To on the right side of the window and specify a destination.
  5. (Optional) Apply a metadata preset, add keywords, and destination subfolder options.

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