Lightroom Import Tips

You are probably thinking that an article on Lightroom import tips is futile at this point. Come on Jay, it’s pretty simple, insert card or connect camera and press enter. Done. You wouldn’t be wrong thinking that way, but what if there were more options available to you? What if this article was the beginning of a four part series about the ways that you can really use Lightroom Classic CC to speed up your photography life? Yes, most people know how to import files into Lightroom. Most people ignore the fact that Lightroom CC Classic is setup for some insane automation right out of the box though. That’s what this four part series is going to focus on-speed. 

Similar to my recent article on general Lightroom Speed Settings, we are now going to break down four individual modules of the Lightroom platform and discuss how you can speed up your workflow through these modules. In addition, I have made my ebook on Lightroom completely FREE to download and I have even unlocked the videos that accompany the book. While the Lightroom ebook is a bit outdated at this point because it was based on Lightroom 5, many of the basic functions are still relevant within Lightroom Classic CC. Lightroom Classic CC basically adds a larger feature set to the software.

1. Lightroom Import Tips - Build Previews

Lightroom’s Import Dialogue is a pretty straight forward window. You can open it from within the Library Module (lower left-Import Button), from the main menu under File > Import Photos and Video…, or by inserting a card or connecting your camera if you have “Show import dialog when a memory card is detected” checked in the Preferences. To find this check box, go to the main menu Lightroom > Preferences… General and find the option under Import Options. Once checked Lightroom will automatically detect when a card is hooked up to your computer.

Once you are within the Import screen the first option you should look at is Build Previews (Number 1. Above). I will choose 1:1 if I am going to edit the photos immediately after importing them. If I am not planning on editing the photos right away I will just choose Standard from this menu.

1:1 Previews speed up the editing process dramatically because Lightroom does not have to redraw the quality of a photo every time you zoom into it on your screen. You should also be aware that 1:1 Previews take up a lot more space on your computer, so you need sufficient storage to utilize this option.

2. Metadata Presets

Most photographers understand how to create a metadata preset in Lightroom for their copyright (Number 2. Above). But did you know that you can create a Metadata Preset that fills in one or all of the metadata blanks. For this tip with our Lightroom import tips just check the boxes of the specific info you want to include (Number 3. Above), fill in the blanks, and choose Preset > Save Current Settings as New Preset…

I specifically use this functionality to save keyword sets (Number 4. Above) for specific locations like Grand Teton National Park which I photograph in almost weekly. In addition, I will create keyword sets for athletes that I ski and mountain bike with. I add all their sponsors, gender related keywords, and sport related keywords for each of them. I then apply those keywords either on import or right after—dependent upon who else I photographed that day.

3. Import Presets

The final Lightroom import tips happens within the Import Dialog of Lightroom Classic CC is the often overlooked Import Preset option that resides at the bottom of the window (Number 6. Above). This preset functionality allows you to combine it all—choose your preview type, metadata preset, add common keywords, and even pick a folder. Then under the Import Dialog choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset…” Name your preset and then it’s just a matter of choosing the one you want to use upon import.

I use this option specifically for my daily shoots in local places. By using the Import Preset method, all the photos that I shoot get general keywords added, the photos get put in the specific folder for that location, and I don’t need to think about my import process. 

I never thought I would use this option, but importing photos have become a one click process once I put the card into the computer. Within the next month I plan to have a dozen Import Presets added. I am also adding settings to begin the Develop process, but you will have to wait until the third article in this series for more on that.

Hopefully you now have a some time saving ideas to speed up your Lightroom workflow right as you begin to work on your photos.

Lightroom 5 Import Video

It’s a bit dated from the newer version’s features, but the concepts remain the same.

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