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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
    5. Lightroom Classic tutorials
    6. Feature summary | Lightroom CC 2015.x/Lightroom 6.x releases
  3. Lightroom and Adobe services
    1. Creative Cloud Libraries
    2. Using Adobe Stock in Creative Cloud apps
  4. Lightroom for mobile, TV, and the web
    1. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for mobile and Apple TV | FAQ
    2. Sync Lightroom Classic with Lightroom ecosystem
    3. Photoshop family of mobile apps
  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
    6. Adjustments with the Tone Curve
    7. Advanced video slideshows
    8. Control white balance
    9. Create a contact sheet
    10. Enhance your workflow with Lightroom Classic
    11. Adjustments with Lens Blur
    12. Edit and Export in HDR
  7. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Set preferences for working in Lightroom Classic
    3. Display the Library on a second monitor
    4. Personalize identity plates and module buttons
    5. Watermark your photos in Lightroom Classic
    6. Color management
  8. Viewing photos
    1. View photos
    2. Browse and compare photos
    3. Set Library view options
    4. Share photos for comments and feedback
    5. Smart Previews
  9. Manage catalogs and files
    1. Lightroom Classic catalog FAQ
    2. How Lightroom Classic catalogs work
    3. Create and manage catalogs
    4. Back up a catalog
    5. Locate missing photos
    6. Create and manage folders
    7. Manage photos within folders
  10. Maps
    1. Work with the Map module
  11. Organize photos in Lightroom Classic
    1. Face recognition
    2. Work with photo collections
    3. Group photos into stacks
    4. Flag, label, and rate photos
    5. Use keywords
    6. Metadata basics and actions
    7. Find photos in the catalog
    8. Work with video in Lightroom Classic
    9. Advanced metadata actions
    10. Use the Quick Develop panel
  12. Process and develop photos
    1. Develop module basics
    2. Create panoramas and HDR panoramas
    3. Flat-Field Correction
    4. Correct distorted perspective in photos using Upright
    5. Improve image quality using Enhance
    6. Work with image tone and color
    7. Masking
    8. Apply local adjustments
    9. HDR photo merge
    10. Develop module options
    11. Retouch photos
    12. Cure red eye and pet eye effects
    13. Use the Radial Filter tool
    14. Use the enhanced Spot Removal tool
  13. Export photos
    1. Export files to disk or CD
    2. Export photos from Lightroom Classic
    3. Publish photos online
    4. Export to hard drive using publish services
    5. Presets for export, and other settings
  14. Work with external editors
    1. External Editing preferences
    2. Open and edit Lightroom Classic photos in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements
  15. Slideshows
    1. Create slideshows
    2. Slideshow module panels and tools
    3. Specify the slide layout
    4. Add overlays to slides
    5. Play and export slideshows
  16. Print photos
    1. Print module basics
    2. Print module layouts and templates
    3. Work with print job options and settings
  17. Photo books
    1. Create photo books
  18. Web galleries
    1. Create web galleries
    2. Use the Web module panels and tools
    3. Work with web gallery layouts
    4. Work with web gallery templates and settings
    5. Preview, export, and upload web photo galleries
  19. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Keyboard shortcuts
  20. Troubleshooting 
    1. Fixed Issues
    2. Known Issues

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.


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.


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

    File Naming

    Names the auto-imported photo. See Naming options.


    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.

    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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