Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wednesday Q&A: Import Issue In Lightroom For A Friend

I was out with a group of photographers last night and a friend asked me a question about importing images into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4. (I believe he said he hadn’t gone up to LR5 Beta yet.)  His file system is a date system, where the first level folder is the year.  The next level down is the month.  He said he was very faithful to Keywording.  If you’re absolutely on top of Keywording you could dump all your images into one giant folder and depend on Keywords to find any images you want.  Trick is you’d have to be 100% true to Keywording every image.  Naturally you can do it by the batch.  Highlight everything that has to do with the same subject and add the keywords to all of them at once.  You can also use the Paint spray can found at the bottom of the Grid View to apply Keywords just by “spraying” over images.  As with almost anything coming from Adobe, there’s a dozen different ways to accomplish a task.  The issue this friend had was ending up with a duplicate year folder filled with the same thing he puts in the folder he created.  To learn what the problem might be, hit the “Read More”.

Take a look at today’s image.  It’s the import screen from Lightroom.  (It’s LR5B, but it’s the same in LR4.)  I’ve circled four things.  On the left is the Source dialog.  It wants you to Select where the images are currently located.  Typically it’ll be your camera.

In the center you select what you want to do with the images.  You’ll probably want to Copy the images from your camera to “someplace” on your computer system (not necessarily your C: drive). 

The dialog on the right is specific to selecting Copy in the middle red circle.  On the top is where you want the images to go.  As shown, they’d be going to the root directory of the C: drive.  Not a good spot to store your image BTW.  Just to the right of (C:) you can see a set of double vertical tic marks.  Clicking on the down mark will give you access to your file tree.  You can pick any drive and any folder/sub folder you’d like or add a new folder. 

The Panels under the primary drive/folder are File Handling, File Renaming, Apply During Import, and Destination.  File Handling has four pieces of information.  First lets you select how you want Previews handled.  Choosing Minimal makes things go faster, but when you select an individual image the rendering may take a little (not too much) longer.  The second option is new to LR5B and is called Build Smart Previews.  This is a great addition if there is the possibility of working on images while away from your storage.  i.e. You use a portable computer and you might want to edit images on the go without hauling your external hard drives (HD) around.  The third is Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates.  Lightroom will look at the metadata and exclude images with the same code, date, time, etc.  This is useful if you forget to dump the images from a previous shoot.  The last under this heading is Make A Second Copy To:.  If you have more than one HD you can write the images to a second drive. 

Actually, this could be what my friend has done and unclicking Make A Second Copy To: would fix his double saves to a single drive.

Next you have File Renaming.  This is handy if you’re a wedding shooter, or a travel shooter, or you’re shooting for a specific client.  You can set up how and what you want to appear on a specific set of images.

Apply During Import comes next.  If you were tasked with shooting only B&Ws you could specify converting every image to B&W.  There’s a drop down to get you to your saved Presets.   You can add, modify or subtract information contained in your Metadata.  You can also put in your broad stroke Keywords.  If every shot on the card is taken in one location, you could put in anything that all images would have in common.  If you did a shoot at “Joe’s Studio” in Freemont, California, those could be three Keywords all the images would have in common.  If there were five models, you wouldn’t put their names in at this time.  The names are specific to the models, not to the general information about the shoot. 

Finally there’s Destination.  You can decide to use subfolders if you’d like and more importantly you can set up your date structure.  i.e.  A typical shoot for me might be J:My Pictures/Camera/ Photowalks/Kent/2013/4/24/2013.  To break it down it would be like this:

·         My J: drive is where the first copy of all my images go

·         My Pictures is the top Folder for our photography on the J: drive

·         Camera (long story, tell you later) separates my images from the wife’s images

·         Photowalks:  We both have very general categories.  Photowalks, Weddings, Family, Vacations, etc.

·         Kent:  under Photowalks we’ll identify where the walk took place

·         2013:  LR will automatically separate out images by date

·         4/24/2013:  LR will break it down to the day.  (We go to Kent Connecticut several times a year.  We might have several dates called out under a 2013 heading, under a 2012 heading, under a 2011 heading, etc.

This could be what’s messing up my friend, but more likely is having that Make A Second Copy To: checked.