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Import how to import a folder and its subfolders into LR while preserving the folder structure

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dtbain

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Hello all

Somehow my Lr catalog lost sight of a folder (call it A) and its subfolders: a, b, c, etc.

When I create A in Lr and then try to important from A outside Lr, I get all the pictures but not the folder structure, i.e. they all appear in A, undifferentiated.

Is there a way of importing A and its subfolders back into Lr while keeping the images organised in their subfolders?

To do this manually, i.e. subfolder by subfolder, would take ages.

Thanks lots

David
 
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That is not the way to do this. When you say 'lost sight', what does that mean? Does Lightroom not show those folders at all, or are they shown as 'missing' (question marks and name in italics)?
 

dtbain

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Hi Johan,

Thanks for reply.

I mean that Lr doesn't show the missing folder or its subfolders at all, not that there's question marks etc.

I was assuming there must be a way of doing this because, though I've been using Lr for long enough that I can't remember how I set it up, I assume that if you have a parent folder with a bunch of subfolders, you could tell Lr (at least when setting up your first ever catalog) just to import both the folder structure and the contents. But is that not possible?

Thanks

d
 
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In that case the first solution is to restore your Lightroom catalog from a backup. Reimporting those folders means you will lose all edits and added metadata.

If you don’t have a recent enough catalog backup, then the only option left is to reimport all. You should then import the top folder, but use ‘Add’ at the top of the import dialog, not copy or move. Check the option to include subfolders in the left panel. That will add the folder hierarchy without changing anything, so your original hierarchy will remain intact.
 

denis6022

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Hope no one minds but can I re-open this post, please nicely?
I am competent with Photoshop and Bridge. No problems. However, Lightroom is a nightmare for me as despite many tries over the years I just can't get past the very first step, at least the way I want to do it. I have the same problem as this post, I just can't find a way to import my existing photo's without doing it via importing individual folders and I have hundreds of those with hundreds of thousands pf pic's. They are mainly based on 2 folders in Windows 10. My Pictures which has around 20 sub folders and a seperate HD solely for my main photo file. The main folder here has nearly a hundred sub-folders many of which also have sub's. With regards to My Pic's and following this post solution, all I get is all the photo's from all the folders but no folders included. I followed the above to the letter. It's nothing new as I have tried this from the first version, stick it fo a couple of hours then ditch it but surely there must be a solution. At 72 and fluid with PS and Br I just don't have the time left to do this the long way.
Can anyone help please?

Lightroom Classic v10
 
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The answer is really simple- (as stated by Johan Elzenga)
Use ‘Add’ at the top of the import dialog, not copy or move.

The 'Add' option does not copy or move (or rename) any of your folders or files. It leaves them exactly where they are. The 'Import' process then simply creates database links to the files and folders to show them in the Catalog Library and folder panel.
And read Johan's post again-
Check the option to include subfolders in the left panel. That will add the folder hierarchy without changing anything,
 

denis6022

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Oh dear, to repeat, original solution followed. Add IS selected, include subfolders IS also selected. See screenshot attached. This is a new application and no other catalogues exist. The duplicates tab is unchecked before trying to import. Note that the 1740 is the total of all pictures in all folders.
 

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See screenshot attached
Have you gone beyond that screen and actually imported? The screenshot is showing all the pictures to be imported, not the folders. What happens when you import? Do all the pictures end up in a single folder, or in the structure you expect?
 
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Sorry, my apologies, I was trying to push a point with my large text. (I should learn to read better)
Yes, you screen-clip indicates you are doing the right things.
How many files do you estimate are in your {My Pictures} folder including sub-folders? As you are only importing files from this {Pictures} folder on C-Drive.
For your "separate HD" you will need to select that in the 'Source' panel for the next Import process. With photos on separate drives you will not be able to import every photo in one import action.

I have also found that the Import 'Source' likes to 'see' the 'real' folder path to files, rather than the Windows 'Libraries' shortcuts-
eg. find {C:\Users\YourName\Pictures} instead of {Pictures}
So open up the 'Source' folder hierarchy to locations where you know your photo files are stored, and try the import.

My screen-clip indicates 'How' I would import from my {Pictures} folder- (and the D-Drive where I store my photos is shown at the base of the source list)
screenshot102-jpg.15376
 

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Oh dear, to repeat, original solution followed. Add IS selected, include subfolders IS also selected. See screenshot attached. This is a new application and no other catalogues exist. The duplicates tab is unchecked before trying to import. Note that the 1740 is the total of all pictures in all folders.
Make sure you click on the “import” button in the right bottom of the import dialog to complete the import process.
Do not click on the “done” button.
 

denis6022

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Well, solved, sort of, but it appears it was a bit of me and a bit of LR. I'm not sure. But, having tried the original solution together with the new comments it appears that the problem was I just thought all the pics had downloaded but without the folders. All the text with the photo's certainly gave that impression and I could not see the wood for the trees. When it failed yet again I totally uninstalled everything to do with LR then reinstalled it. When I retried the import it had a pop-up that said I could have options to turn 2 things on or off and for the life of me I can't remember what they were but I didn't like the sound of one so I turned it off. That turned out to be the problem of course because the same problen occurred again but no pop-up. Further investigation showed that the download had not actually completed at all, it just looked as though it had. It had gone into a state of "Pending". Turning the bit I didn't like back to on the import completed together with folders. I have now imported the photo's from my 'F' drive as well but that pop-up has not shown again. If I remember what it was I promise I will post it here. If you know what would cause a "Pending" state please add it here as I will remember it as soon as I see it.
Now to try some editing!
Many thanks folks, most appreciated.

EDIT: I think it was something to do with gps co-ordinates?
 
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I just thought all the pics had downloaded but without the folders
You were probable looking at the [All Photographs] list in the Catalog panel, which DOES simply display EVERY photo in the Catalog in one long grid view.
For individual Folder views you need to select folders in the Folder Panel.
the download had not actually completed
There is no "Download" associated with an Import using the [ADD] option! Nothing is downloaded. Only the location of the files and the file metadata is brought into the catalog database and a Preview created to show you what each photo looks like.
 
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