Mar 082012

Lightroom is a fabulous program, but it can be daunting. Here are a few resources to get you started with getting your photos and videos into Lightroom.

1. An article on how Lightroom works with a catalog and what importing really means.

2. Two Videos from my Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4: The Fundamentals and Beyond – Workshop on Video series (of 10 1/2 hours of training on 55 videos) on importing photos and videos — i.e. getting Lightroom to see them:

    • The first covers importing photos already on your hard drive, as well as other import basics, such as setting up a copyright and contact information preset. (Do watch this one first, as I cover Import basics that the second video assumes you know).
    • The second covers importing photos still on memory cards, copying them to exactly where you want to on your hard drive, assigning keywords, and setting up an Import preset.
    • These lessons apply to Lightroom 3, 4, 5, and 6 (though not the 6.2.1 update, released in October, 2015.)

I would recommend not skipping the article! These concepts are covered in earlier videos in my series.

To watch the videos at higher resolution, click on the little wheel/sprocket symbol in the bottom right of each video, and increase the quality to HD.  (Note that in my product, all are at higher resolution – 1024×768, and are not blurry!)



  37 Responses to “Getting Started with Lightroom 3, 4, 5, 6: Importing Photos and Videos”

  1. Excelent, very clear video, thanks finally a real simple tutorial tha works!

  2. Love your video, i have one question I hope you can help me out. Please reply to my email. Thanks,
    I downloaded the LR4 software from adobe and the first thing I did was import all my photo’s as a “Copy” I didnt do any of the things you suggested we do before importing for the first time. Is this an easy fix?


    • Hi Andy, I am not sure what things you would not have done. The big question to me is whether you are happy with the new folder organization of your photos that you now have because you chose Copy rather than Add, or whether you want to go back to the old organization you had. Because you chose Copy, you now have these two different versions (copies) on your hard drive (unless you have since deleted one). Assuming you still do and if you want to go back to the old one, delete the new copies on your hard drive, then right-click on the folders in LR and choose Remove. Then reimport, choosing Add this time.

      If instead you are referring to adding copyright and contact info to the metadata, you can do that in the Library module by selecting all your photos, then adding the info in the Metadata panel (bottom right).

  3. Clear, straightforward and easy to follow. What a relief! Thank you.

  4. FINALLY someone who explains things at a pace and speech you can easily follow and actually learn….excellent, thank you!

  5. Really helpful, thank you!

  6. Great video! Very clear. One question though…when you “copy to” do you really want to copy to the computers hard drive or are you better off copying to an external hard drive so as to not use too much of your computers memory?

    • Hi Sue, I’m glad you enjoyed the video! There isn’t any right answer as to where to put your files — if you are short on internal hard drive space (or just want to keep all your photo files on a separate dive), copying to an external drive is a fine solution. This discussion of where to put your files was covered in more depth in the video previous to this one in my Fundamentals & Beyond series.

  7. Thank you so much for the excellent videos. I’m a new user to lightroom 4 and your videos make a tough work, very easy.

    Kind regards John

  8. Thank you, thank you, thank you… The videos are great! Very clear and easy to follow.

  9. very helpful, very clear, very pedagogical 🙂

  10. Great clear instructions. Being new to all this it is extremely encouraging to stumble on you! I do have a question- before installing lightroom- I imported some old images to play around with but I put them in IPhoto- I can’t seem to find I Photo folder to add to lightroom. Thanks in advance-

  11. Very well presented tutorial thank you!

    I have one question i want to manage my catalogue from a USB flash drive how do I stop LR treating it as a memory card and treat it as the hard drive?

  12. […] to this site, 1. Getting Started with Lightroom 3 or Lightroom 4: Importing Photos and Videos Getting Started with Lightroom 3 or Lightroom 4: Importing Photos and Videos | Laura Shoe's Lightroo… 2. Have You Created Your 2012 Metadata Copyright Preset? Have You Created Your 2012 Metadata […]

  13. I’m new to lightroom, and these videos are the best I’ve found so far! Thank you for explaining everything so cleary! Much appreciated.

  14. Laura,

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you again for your excellent videos, and your sharing of same. I have sent the link to my LR beginners class, and will pitch your videos tonight. I hope it drums up a few customers for you.

    Jan Armor

  15. I had such a mental block on importing that I kept backsliding and using Bridge. Your tuts were what I needed. Thank you! Moving forward once again.
    Is this stuff fun, or what!!

  16. Thanks for the informative video – I look forward to the others you have.

  17. My LR5 has roughly 350 folders. I am in the process of trying to organize LR (and my pixs). My question, one of my folder’s has roughly 40 sub-folders and I would like to delete this “Master” folder and let the 40 sub-folders be “regular” folders. Any suggestions?

    • Hi George,

      Select all the subfolders by clicking on the first, then shift-clicking on the last (assuming you have Lightroom 4 or newer), and drag them up into the folder that the “Master” currently resides in (rather than into the Master, which is where they are now). Then when the Master is empty, you can right-click on it and remove it.

  18. Hi Laura thank you for your video tutorials. I have imported my photos to the right hand panel and they are in my destination and I can see my folder “queen vic market” folder in the destination right hand panel. But in the folder and the number of photos as 95. But on the left hand panel in the same folder “queen vic market” there are no images and there are no photos displaying and says “no photos in selected folder”. Where have I gone wrong – why would they be in the right hand panel and not the left? Thanks! Michelle

    • Once you have imported your files, Michelle, use the Folders panel on the left side in the Library module (not in the Import dialog) to view and work with your photos.

      • Hi Laura

        Thanks so much – all good – my photos are now showing in the Folders panel!

        Thanks for your help.


  19. Hi Laura, I have had LightroomCC for only 2 weeks and great fun I have just found you on Google Search and bookmarked you immediately. I have watched, step by step, Importing Lightroom from memory card with just a small problem which I am sure you can help with. Having imported images from memory card I followed the video to the end. However, in my Folders (left panel) the contents of the card with date are there but not
    Pictures go Here. Clearly I have done something, but what?
    Brilliant set of videos that will keep my quiet for a long time! Regards George

    • Hi George,

      Lightroom just doesn’t show you the location of imported folders by default (which I think is terrible!) Right-click on your date folder and choose Show Parent Folder. Do this to your highest-level folder as many times as necessary to reveal as much of your folder hierarchy as you’d like to see. This is covered in the File and Folder Management (Reorganizing Folders and Photos) video in my Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond video series, which I would highly recommend to you!

      • Hi Laura, great advise!

        Being new to your blog, I am working through your tutorials – brilliant.

        Many thanks


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