My Quick & Easy Import Workflow in Lightroom 2.5

Once in a while we all get stuck using complex programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop and get confused with the simplest way of doing things. Today I’ll show you a part of my workflow and that’s including importing files into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, renaming, converting to DNG, folder structure. If your after a super quick & easy tutorial skip to the Import dialog with the portraits.

To start off lets change one preference in Lightroom to show the import dialog when a memory card is detected. On a PC (Edit > Preference) or Mac (Lightroom > Preferences).

From now on every time you attach a memory card or camera to your computer the import dialog will show up (pictured below). There is actually quite a bit in here so we’ll go throughout it step by step.

  1. File Handling – Copying the files from the card or camera. My workflow involves converting all raw files too DNG. You can read a great article on the benefits of using DNG by Peter Krough here.
  2. Copy to – a location on your hard drive, this gets changed each month to keep a folder hierarchy. e.g. 09-10 folder is 2009-October.

  3. Organise – These are folders that get created during the import. It’s a bit minimal on what you can do here so I just create my own.
  4. Backup to – Just a safe house if your files corrupt during import or DNG conversion. Keep these for archival files if you like, personally I delete them after a week as I have my own backup in operation.
  5. File naming – Hopefully you realise how important file renaming is for future use in preventing duplication, giving structure and recognition to your files. By creating a custom setting we will help resolve these problems from now on, here are the three parts to a file name.
    • Muzza – is my unique id, try not to use something to generic like John, use you initials or business name.
    • 091030 – YYMMDD that’s todays date backwards keeping all the files more hierarchal.
    • File number suffix – this is the numbers out of you cameras filenames
    • Once your done save this as a preset


  6. Develop settings – Instead of these I apply camera raw profiles in the develop module>calibration
  7. Metadata – All the metadata is applied to your photographs in bulk for each import. It is quite extensive, but will help in showing ownership of the files, copyright, location, photographer etc.
  8. Keywords – To apply keywords individually you’ll have to wait after import.
  9. Initial Previews – Depending on how you preview your files and how soon you need them will require different options.
    • Minimal – When speed is needed or importing a tone of files. (Thumbnails)
    • Embedded & Sidecar – Oftentimes embedded and sidecar previews are inaccurate so skip this one.
    • Standard – I use most of the time (Screen size)
    • 1:1 – For zooming in when fine detail is needed, saves heaps of time latter. (100% size)

After setting all these options up it will make life easier only having to change two steps (3 & 9) for each import. If your really not into reading books don’t read this or that, have a go at a few online video tutorials @ Kelby Training or