I used to have crazy files images all over my computer hard drive. Jpgs in one place, raw images in another… I had no idea what the rhyme or reason was or where my files were. Well, I have fixed that through attending a series of workshops, online tutorials, and common sense. I have family and friends who use LR and they want me to teach them my techniques so I thought I would create a tutorial.
This tutorial starts with the simple (or so it seems) process of uploading images from your camera’s storage card to the computer, and then to LR. I am not a technical person by nature (compared to true technical people anyway) nor have I made a tutorial before. I hope this is helpful to those of you looking to get a little more organized with your files on your computer. I would love feedback.
Before we begin, ignore my desktop. Lots of people use my computer:P And ignore the tons of folders in LR you will see. I am organized but not that organized. The reason I need “image” control… I’m far from OCD and I definitely need to clean out 2012. Let’s begin!
Step 1: So you have your card (compact flash, SD card, etc) and it’s full of images. You plug your card reader into your computer and LR pops open for you to import them. STOP right there. Close that window. Close LR. Go to where you have your pictures in general. Most people have them in My Pictures or Pictures. I have a folder in this folder for every year of images I load (personal and work). So for example, I have 2013 as a folder in My Pictures. Go into the 2013 folder and create a folder that is labeled like this: 2013-01-24 Table and Chairs (as an example).
This is the where the folder in MY PICTURES is
Step 2: Go to My Computer (or the equivalent for Mac) and find your card reader that has your files and open the folders until you see all the individual photo files.
Then open a new window with My Pictures and open your folder you created (2013-01-24 Table and Chairs)…. should be empty.
Here are my two screens open: My computer and My pictures
Go to the photos in My Computer and select them all. Drag all of those files into the folder you made. It will take some time to get them transferred.
Selecting all the images on the card and dragging them to your new folder in my pictures.
Step 3. Once they are transferred to the new folder 2013-01-24 Table and Chairs, open LR. Go to File<Import Photos or click on Import at the bottom left of your screen. A new window will pop up. This is the import window. On the left side it says “Source” and below that it says “Files” and then Local Disk “C”. Click through the levels of files until you find the folder you made a bit earlier. Mine was 2013-01-24 Table and Chairs. Once you have it found and selected, go to the top middle of this pop up import window you will see: Copy as DNG, Copy, Move, Add… ADD should be selected. On the right, you will see a box for Keywords. You can choose to use this or not. I might add table and chairs, blog, house… you want to use keywords that you write down that you use over and over. Later, if you are on a search for images labeled “home”, you can find them easier. This is also a a good time to uncheck any photos you know you don’t want. Then at the bottom right, click IMPORT.
Go through the C:drive looking for your images. My series is User, Alison, Pictures, 2013, 2013-01-24 Table and Chairs
That highlighted folder below that says La Jolla… should say Table and Chairs. Sorry about that. Hopefully not too confusing.
Step 4. Once everything is imported, you are ready to go through your images and select your favorites and get rid of the ones you don’t want. That is a different tutorial in itself. We do need to talk about what to do with all your favorites when you want them with all of your fixes and edits. Select all the images you want to export. Click File<Export. A pop up will come up and we will start with “Export to:” and choose “Selected Folder”. Below that, you will see a place to “choose” a folder. Click on “choose” and find your folder (again, 2013-01-24 Table and Chairs). Check mark right below that “Put in Subfolder”. Here is where you need to create a new folder name for these edited images. I shoot in Raw and export Jpgs. So my file name for this folder is: J2013-01-24 Table and Chairs… the “J” tells me it’s where my jpgs are.
Now you are set to flag, edit, play with your photos
EXPORTING: Click export and “Choose” folder to export to… choose the folder you created in step 1
Click the check mark next to create subfolder and type in a file name that makes sense to you
If you follow this last step, your original image files that you imported will be in the same location as your exported final edited images. If you ever need the original or a similar photo to do a little head swapping or new edit, you know where to find it. It just makes more sense to have all your files in the same folder and not in three different places where you actually have no clue anyway about where they are or the file names. This isn’t the end of this organization. I will do a tutorial later on the end organization as well as the middle.
Now you can see your original files and your exported folder that holds the edited files you want to keep
And last, LR is just a direction finder (and an editor). But a common misunderstanding is that the images are stored in LR. All LR does is say where the files are. If you have come across a file in LR with a ? in front of it, it’s because you have moved the folder or file and LR doesn’t know where. If you click on the file in question, a prompt comes up that says “locate missing files?”. Click on it and then browse through your computer relocate it. Once you find it and click on it, LR now knows where it is. Like I said, it’s just a catalog. When you are new to LR, this is sometimes hard to wrap your head around.
And one last note which might not make sense. But when you are moving or renaming folders or photos, do it all in LR. Don’t do this in Pictures. LR has a path that it has created to the images and folders, messing with it outside of LR will give you lots of question marks in LR that is just a pain to deal with.
Next time: how to go through and flag, number and color code your images (someday;)