Posts Tagged ‘import’

Lightroom Import Behaviour Changed

July 10, 2009

Lightroom 2.4 has changed its behaviour when you tell it to back up imported files to an external drive and the drive isn’t on-line. In version 2.3 it raised an error before the import. Now it does the import and tells you afterwards.

Lightroom Import Results

Lightroom Import Results

I wrote a blog entry about how I found the old behaviour a bit annoying. Adobe must have heard me. I have not seen this change documented.

Sorry Adobe – this isn’t ideal either. If I forget to put my backup drive online before I do an import now the import goes ahead but I don’t have the files backed up. Since Lightroom doesn’t erase the files from the import medium (e.g. camera CF card) I can back the files up myself. But of course I am lazy and want to get on with processing the pictures so I probably won’t.

A better approach would be to put up a dialog box before the import saying something like:

Your backup drive O:\Lightroom\Import is not available. You can either put it online and press Proceed or press Continue to import without a backup.

Also – the new Import Results dialog stops Lightroom making its previews until I dismiss it. It would be better to get on with the previews in the background. Adobe ignored that part of my post.

Oh well.

Lightroom Import (Part 4)

June 27, 2009

These days I travel virtually since I don’t have the opportunity to travel in the real world. Sometimes I import to Lightroom photos I did not take from sites like Flickr.

If the original photographer has put keywords on her image then Lightroom attempts to import them. Sometimes it makes a real mess of it – as in the illustration above.

It failed to parse the keywords and made one very long one. This is the confirmation dialog box I got when I tried to delete it. I wonder if Lightroom can get a buffer overflow in this situation.

I think this shows what people complain about in the IPTC and XMP specifications – different photo apps are not truly inter-operable yet.

In my case I want to put my own keywords on my images. Even if Lightroom had parsed them correctly I would have deleted 95% of them. It did me a favour as I didn’t have to seek tham all out.

But what I want is an option in the Lightroom Import process not to import existing keywords from an image.

Sometimes I import photos I haven’t taken.

Lightroom Import (Part 3)

June 24, 2009
Lightroom makes what is to me a strange choice of directory names when I choose to backup my imported files. I would have expected it to use the same folder structure as I chose for the images to be catalogued by Lightroom. That is what ACDSee does. But instead Lightroom invents folder names “Imported on ” + a text formatted date. I wonder why they did that?
Windows Explorer - Lightroom Import Backup
So today Lightroom added a directory called “Imported on 24 June 2009”. I guess they use the Windows locale to decide on the date format – mine is set to UK.

Lightroom Import (Part 3)

June 19, 2009

If I check the option to backup my images to another drive for a Lightoom Import but fail to put the drive online Lightroom shows this dialog box.

Go back and do it properly!

I am probably super-sensitive, but it reminds me of the matron at boarding-school telling me off for wearing the wrong socks.

Rather than taking me back to the import dialig, why not give me the option to switch off the backup or choose another location in this very dialog?

It’s a very minor beef, carping really, but it’s my blog and I can vent about whatever I like!

Lightroom Import (Part 2)

June 19, 2009

An issue with Lightroom’s import process is in the implementation of the “Do not import suspected duplicates” option.

If Lightroom identifies duplicate images on my memory card it shows this dialog box. All well and good – it is quite informative. BUT …

Lightroom pauses until I acknowledge the dialog box. That is, it doesn’t get on with making the 1:1 previews of the images it did import. That can take a while and I like to let Lightroom do it undisturbed.

I'm waiting for you!

I like to leave Lightroom doing its import. Most of the time it works fine and I can come back and find it waiting for me to use its magic on my images. But if I forgot to clear my memory card after a previous import (remember that Lightroom won’t do this for me) it detects the duplicates and shows this dialog.

I imagine there are other import errors that necessitate it pausing for user intervention, but this surely isn’t one of them.

I haven’t done any investigation of what Lightroom considers to be a duplicate. the fact they included the word ‘suspected’ in the Import dialog makes me a little wary. I am guessing they use a combination of file name, date-time and maybe image size. But their human factors people (or perhaps their lawyers) made them use the weasel word “suspected” to cover themselves if they get it wrong.

I guess I should consider myself lucky. Less well written software would pause for every suspected duplicate and show an application-modal dialog box. Maybe it would even abort the import entirely. Windows XP does something similar if you try to delete a load of files and one of them is in use.

Lightroom Import (Part 1)

June 18, 2009

Here are some thoughts on the process of importing images into Lightroom.

Everything is controlled from this screen. It is similar to the one in ACDSee Pro and is a huge advance on ThumbsPlus – which doesn’t have one at all.

I like the ability to do multiple things from one screen:

  • Copy the images from the camera’s memory card to my PC’s hard drive. You can rename the files according to your wishes and select the directory organization you want to use on the PC.
  • Add them to the Lightroom database, sorry catalog, with suitable metadata. (It’s great that it can insert Copyright information into each file and you can add keywords and all sorts of other metadata.)
  • Make a backup to another drive. If you are importing RAW files and converting them on the fly to DNG the original RAW files are backed up to the drive you select.
  • You can apply a set of Lightroom develop settings to each image.
  • You can create the image previews Lightroom uses in Loupe view and the Develop module.

And you can do all this while you’re taking a shower and having a well-deserved cup of tea after a day’s shooting. (There are some caveats to this which I’ll carp about in another post.)

In theory you can continue to work in Lightroom while an import is going on. In practice I find that’s impractical, even on my fairly fast PC. It’s better to be patient and let Lightroom do its thing in peace.

One thing Lightroom will not do is erase the images from your camera’s memory card. Maybe the Lightroom team think it is a dangerous option and don’t want to be held responsible if users do something dumb.

Lightroom Import Screen

Lightroom Import Screen

The picture doesn’t show the Preview panel – only to save screen space in this blog. Lightroom is very quick at displaying image previews so it is worth showing them.


Here are some notes on how I use Import. If you have some good ideas or think I am doing something dumb, please let me know. The most important reason I started this blog was to learn as well as inform.

  • I don’t bother connecting my camera to my PC. I take the card out and put it into a Sandisk USB card reader I have had for years. That seems the least trouble.
  • If Lightroom isn’t running Windows gives me the option to import the images into Lightroom. That works fine. For some reason I do not understand ACDSee had its own ‘device detector’ but for Lightroom the standard Windows XP service is ok. (Note I use XP – I am too cautious to try Vista and will consider Windows 7 when it is stable. I am not going to be an unpaid guinea-pig for Microsoft any more. That’s a subject for another post / rant!)
  • I put my images into a folder hierarchy by date:
  • I keep the current day’s pictures on my PC’s hard drive. At the end of the day I move the while directory to an external drive. Of course I use Lightroom to do the move (drag’n’drop) so I don’t confuse its database. (Yes, Lightroom has a feature to re-synchronize itself if you move files around outside the product, but I have not used it. KISS).
  • There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how to rate images using Lightroom’s 1 – 4 star ratings. The convention I have adopted is that all images get 3 stars by default. 2 star images are below average but I want to keep them for some reason, e.g. they have something unique on them. 1 star images are candidates for deletion (or illustrations of something dumb I did and I want to remind myself about them.) 4 star images are above average and candidates to be posted to Flickr / Picasa. 5 star images are the ones I love the most.
    • As an illustration, today, June 18th I have 27,347 images in Lightroom (since November 2008). 1 star – 51, 2 stars – 564, 3 stars – 25,961, 4 stars – 737 and 5 stars – 34). I should have an approximately normal distribution. I have too many 3 stars because I had about 15,0o0 images that I had to import when I gave up on ACDSee and I didn’t bother to re-star them – concentrating instead on the keywording.
  • I do not allocate Lightroom colour labels during the import process. I have a specific use for each one which I’ll explain separately.
  • I have a set of presets that I use to add selected metadata to each image. They are based on where I have been shooting. If I have been all over Bangkok I use the one called “Thailand-Bangkok”. If I have been in one specific district (khet) then I have a preset for that khet. For example I have one for my home khet called “Thailand-Bangkok-Din Daeng”.
  • One thing that can be confusing is that you can specify keywords in a metadata preset and you can add more in the import dialog box. Given the complicated way I allocate keywords (more on that in another post) it is possible to get confused and add conflicting keywords. I wish there was a read-only reminder in the import dialog of the keywords I am adding.
  • It would be nice if I could organize those presets into a hierarchy so “Thailand-Bangkok” inherits everything from the “Thailand” preset but adds metadata specific to Bangkok. That would save me a ton of work when I have to update each preset for a new year (the copyright string) or if I move apartment (the IPTC contact information). But that’s probably a lot to hope for from Adobe’s overworked Lightroom team.
  • Another thing I would like to see is the ability to Geotag images on import. My Nikon Coolpix P6000 doesn’t Geotag everything and none of my other camera understand the concept. Of course that only works if the same Geotag applies ot all images in the import batch. Lightroom supports plug-ins for image Export. I don’t think it does for Import else I am sure Jeff Friedl would have thought of it already. (I want to blog about Jeff’s work. I am a huge admirer of his but …)
  • I always use the option to “Copy photos as Digital Negative (DNG) and add to catalog”. Lightroom will of course ignore this for JPG files (it gives you a warning the first time but sensibly suppresses it it after that assuming you know what you are doing).
  • I make 1:1 previews on the theory that a) I have plenty of disk space and b) it makes Lightroom run a bit faster when I go to Loupe View or Develop Mode. As I said, I’m enjoying a cup of tea while all this is taking place.
  • I don’t re-import selected duplicates (although that leads to an annoyance I will write a separate blog entry about – this one is long enough).
  • I do eject the memory card when the import is complete. Then I return the card to my camera and re-format it secure in the knowledge that my images are safe on two hard drives. (Some say it is a good idea to re-format a memory card regularly and all sources I have seen say re-format in the camera, not on the PC.)

If all went according to plan Lightroom has done a huge amount of work for me and I am ready to have fun with the images in the Library module.