We covered the steps required to set-up Adobe Photoshop Lightroom in the previous Module. Now that we have everything properly prepared and configured it’s time to Import some photographs into our Lightroom Catalog.
Understanding the ‘Import’ Concept
The word Import has a very specific meaning inside of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Understanding exactly what this term means within the Lightroom lexicon will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls that snare so many new Adobe Photoshop Lightroom users. In this program, Import means to add new reference points into your Photoshop Lightroom Catalog. When we Import, we are asking Lightroom to keep track of a group of digital images.
Importing creates a one-to-one relationship between your Lightroom Catalog’s thumbnails/previews and the image files on your hard drive. It is absolutely essential for you to understand that your Lightroom Catalog is an index, a searchable database, of your photography. This database does not contain your actual image.
When you Import images into your Catalog, Lightroom records the image’s filename, it’s metadata, and the exact path through your computer that leads to this particular file. Lightroom writes all of this information into your Catalog and it creates a thumbnail/preview for each image. The thumbnails and previews that Lightroom generates act as visual placeholders for your real files while you are browsing through your Lightroom Catalog.
Pressing the Import button in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom brings up a dialog screen full of possibilities. The Import Dialog needs very specific instructions about where to find the new group of images that you would like to connect to your Catalog and some additional guidance every time this command is invoked. There are some fantastic time-saving workflow tools inside of the Import Dialog that can dramatically improve your productivity, but harnessing their full potential requires a bit of additional set-up.
Applying your copyright and contact information to all of the images that you add via Import using a Metadata Preset, for example, can be a great time-saver. As you will soon learn, having Lightroom copy or move your actual files from one place to another can also be a big help when you are trying to build a neat and tidy image storage system. The Import Dialog may be able to dramatically improve your productivity by automating tedious repetitive tasks, but this box cannot magically read your mind. You must give it precise instructions every time you use it.
We will cover all of these time saving features and the most important buttons in Photoshop Lightroom’s Import Dialog shortly. But first, please take the time to learn about some best practices for naming your files and folders in our next lesson.