Lightroom: Queue batches of images during import

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  • Updated 4 years ago
  • (Edited)
Because I do not always take my laptop when I travel, I can sometimes come home with a CF card full of thousands of images taken over several days in many different places. I won't be able to edit them in one sitting, so I want to be able to organize them so I can systematically whittle away at them.

I've wished for a long time that I could import things in batches. I'd love to be able to select all the photos from Zambia, name a new folder for them to be imported into, add specific keywords and develop settings to them, then add them to a queue. Then, without leaving the import window, I'd like to do the same for the images from Zimbabwe, sending them to a different folder with different keywords, develop settings, metadata, and preview sizes. And so on. Then, I can hit Import, and let LR import all the queues while I go work on something else.

(Moderators: I also posted this as a comment, but decided later that it was different enough to merit its own post. Feel free to delete whichever one is least helpful.)
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Matt

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Posted 5 years ago

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Allan Olesen

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But you already can do that!

1. Arrange your photos in a folder structure as you want (mimicking the names in the parent folder structure you already have in Lightroom if you want to merge into different existing parent folders at the same time).

2. Import the top level folder of your newly created folder structure into the same place in the Lightroom folder hierarchy.

3. In the Import dialog, select that folder names of source folders should be used.

This way you can import them all at once, and they will be merged into the correct destination folders in Lightroom. In the left pane you can even see in advance where each new folder will end up in your existing folder structure.

I use this all the time for importing several folders at once, though I only use one level of folders, so I don't have to mimick a full parent folder structure.
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Matt

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Thanks for the reply, Allan. What do you use to do step 1? Do you use an application other than Lightroom to copy your photos off the flash card before importing them into LR?

I didn't realize it was possible to merge folders like you've mentioned. That's good to know, but it wasn't really the main point of my suggestion.

My observation was that I often import 1000-3000 photos at a time. But when I proceed to work on them, I usually apply general changes to them 50-500 photos at a time. As a result, I often am waiting on the computer to finish one process before I can go to the next:

  • I tell LR where to import all 3000 photos to...

  • I wait for LR to import them


  • I tell LR which 200 photos to separate into which folder...

  • I wait for LR to move them. Repeat several times.


  • I tell LR which 100 photos get a noise reduction develop preset...

  • I wait for LR to apply it to all of those images


  • I tell LR which 300 photos get the "Zambia" keyword...

  • I wait for LR to apply that keyword to those photos


  • I tell LR which 200 photos get the "Zimbabwe" keyword...

  • I wait for LR to apply that keyword to those photos. Repeat several times.



...then I'm ready to start editing. I would love to see all of that consolidated into one process:

  • I tell LR, based on the thumbnails in the import dialog, which photos go into which folder, which get certain presets and keywords. LR just marks them for changes, and doesn't actually apply those changes until I press the "Import" button...

  • I wait for LR to import all my photos, dividing them between different folders, adding various keywords, and applying different develop presets to the various subdivisons I've made


I go have a cup of tea and let my computer chug away. When I come back, it's all ready for me to get to work.
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Allan Olesen

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Application for copying?

No, I just copy the photos and folders (my camera makes a new folder each day) from the card. No application needed for that.

I do use a small VBS script to do some folder renaming and invoke Lightroom, but that is not really necessary.

Regarding your desire to move around photos inside Lightroom: Why not just do it after import?

You can move files as you want to inside Lightroom after import, and it doesn't take any time worth mentioning as long as you only move between different folders on the same (local) drive and partition.
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Rob Cole

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Personally, I just import everything to an inbox, organized by date, then after culling, editing, tagging, ... move to final destinations, with preferred folder names...

In fact, I usually don't even move things, per se. - when you create a new folder, Lr asks you if you want to put selected photos in it - I do.

Some people just use collections for what I use folders for, so imported folders aren't used so much for organizational purposes. In other words, photos stay in their "inbox" folder structure, by date, and after initial processing, they create final destination collections. That's how I would do it if I didn't have external considerations (I care about folder organization outside Lightroom)... Note: you can use collection publisher to maintain collection structure upon output (I use TreeSyncPublisher to maintain folder structure instead).

Different ways to do things...

R
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Lee Jay

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"Personally, I just import everything to an inbox, organized by date, then after culling, editing, tagging, ... move to final destinations, with preferred folder names... "

This is the workaround I use now as well.

However, I'm all for queued import. It would save me confusion and really save me when I forget to do the second step in the above workaround!
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Rob Cole

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|> " I forget to do the second step in the above workaround"

I've never forgotten (for very long).

I mean, my inbox remains empty, unless I have "forgotten". It's my top folder so I can (and do) always see at a glance if there is anything in it.

PS - Inbox folder is named ____IMPORT___, making it especially easy to see at a glance.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything. More specifically: I am not arguing against this feature request - I'm just sayin'...

R
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Matt

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Allan and Rob, thanks for the replies.

To clarify: I am aware that there are already several ways to send images to different folders, keywords, develop settings, etc. My point is that, when applied to a larger number of photos, all of the current ways become inconvenient.

The Adobe Feature Request page for LR (which links to this forum) asks:

Do you have an idea for a feature that would help your workflow? Is there a small change that could be made to make your life a little easier? Let us know!


What I have suggested is a feature that would definitely help my workflow; a small change that would make my life a little easier.

And since BOTH of you mentioned using third-party software beside Lightroom to help manage your folders... I'm curious to know: would making these changes in Lightroom make anyone else's life easier too?
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Rob Cole

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|> "would making these changes in Lightroom make anyone else's life easier too?"

No doubt. There have been many different import-related feature requests over the years, like this one.

I use OttomanicImporter, since Lr's native Import feature doesn't do everything I want.

Note: you can set up Ottomanic Importer to do everything you want, but you may have to edit a (lua) text config file.

Informing you of this option is not intended to freeze-dry your feature request, but you may find it worthwhile in the mean time.

Rob
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Matt

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Thanks for the link, Rob. I look forward to exploring your Ottomanic plugin.
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john beardsworth

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No, these changes would not be helpful. They would just result in people wasting too much time in the import dialog and seeking to use it for fine-grained categorization of their images. Folders are inherently less satisfactory than metadata for categorizing and grouping pictures, and any moving of images to folders is more safely done after import - you have a backup and less risk of forgetting images on the cards. The trouble is, Lightroom tends to encourage good practice.
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Lee Jay

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Well, of the people that I know that shoot and use Lightroom, every one of them shoots events and organizes by folders.
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john beardsworth

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And they never want to look for all the pictures of X at events over a period. Are tin foil hats still in fashion there?
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Lee Jay

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I've never had a need for that. Disconnected images don't mean much. What do I want to see all the cake-cutting ceremonies for? Why should I want to see all the pictures all off the different Brides' shoes? What should I do with all the images taken from all the bridges I've ever crossed?
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john beardsworth

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All the Mustang pictures from whatever airshow? All the pictures of Jenny from when she was a child through to the 30th birthday? No, never, honesty? As I said earlier, I'd conclude you've very limited requirements.
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Lee Jay

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No, never that I can recall. The only thing I'd ever like to do in that realm is find all the pictures that contain a certain combination of people, and for that I'd really like face/region tagging and the ability to easily "AND" keywords together, neither of which is in LR.
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Lee Jay

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I'm all in favor of queued import. Having all my birthday photos end up in the airshow folder I shot the day before because I didn't get a chance to download the images in between is a hassle. I either have to do multiple separate imports (and wait for the previous one to finish) or I have to import them all to the airshow folder and then remember to move all the birthday images to where they were supposed to go at import time. When my wife has been shooting for a month, at a dozen different locations, and then gives me a full card, this can become a pretty big nightmare that queued import would solve nicely.
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irep

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Please allow tagging of different photos or naming them differently before import OR allow several import even if previous one are not completed. (when you import photos that were not taken the same days, chances are they will have very different subjects. I found very annoying and slow to wait for Lightroom having finished the previous import before when can prepare the next one.)