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Import Destination Folder Confusion

FrenchFalcon

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Jun 18, 2015
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I'm starting to import new images to my Lightroom CS6 (non-cloud) catalog. I've set everything up according to a method and organization I've used in CS3, the last version I worked with.

How I've done it: On an external harddrive I've got my 'Photography' folder with everything relating to Photography there. This is where I set up my master file structure for my Raw Images. I organize everything by Year, with subfolders being the general subject of my images such as: Architecture, Travel, Nature, Fashion,etc. I go one step further and have a folder within each one of those. That folder is named to describe the photos for a particular photo session, for example, 02-16 Lake Placid, which tells me within that folder are images taken in February of 2016 in Lake Placid.

Going back to the original 'Photography' folder. Within that I have a folder titled 'Lightroom Catalog'. And within that folder I have mimicked the exact folder structure of my master files of the Raw Images.

Now my question/comment. When I Import these photos, I select the specific folder location within the 'Lightroom Catalog' folder in the Destination window. After importing, the 'Folders' section of the Library Module has everything listed under G-Drive USB(the external harddrive I'm using), listing that folder I've just imported.
How can I make it so the Folders section of that Library Module mimicks the file structure I have created in the 'Lightroom Catalog' of my harddrive(outside of Lightroom)?
Does this have to do with my selecting 'By original folders' 'By date' 'Into one folder' in the Destination window of the Import dialog? What will clicking the 'Into Subfolder' box do?

Am I making it too complicated by organizing things too specifically? Should I rely more on keywords to find my folders? I just like the idea of being able to goto a particular year and a particular genre to find specific images though.

Thanks for following and help.
 
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Within that I have a folder titled 'Lightroom Catalog'. And within that folder I have mimicked the exact folder structure of my master files of the Raw Images.

So are you saying the raw files are duplicated both in your subject folders and also within the Lightroom Catalog folder? Or they're going to be duplicated by the import process? Is that intentional?


Now my question/comment. When I Import these photos, I select the specific folder location within the 'Lightroom Catalog' folder in the Destination window.

If you already have photos on the hard drive in the folder structure you want to retain, you could just select ADD at the top of the Import dialog and Lightroom will reference them in their current location.


Am I making it too complicated by organizing things too specifically? Should I rely more on keywords to find my folders? I just like the idea of being able to goto a particular year and a particular genre to find specific images though.

Personally, I'd use keywords to find photos and just use folders as storage, but YMMV.
 

FrenchFalcon

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I have always imported Raw images using Copy as DNG. So yes, I guess I do have all original Raw files, and also a duplicate DNG in my Lightroom Catalog file structure. Is this overkill to have a backup file in another location on the harddrive. In my mind I think I like the idea of always having an untouched source file but maybe this is unnecessary, I don't know.
If I use the ADD feature to import images, how will that affect the Raw images in the source file locations? It does seem to make great sense to use this method if I already have the file structure set up on the original harddrive location.
What are some of the pros and cons of using Copy as DNG vs ADD? If I decide to use ADD, should I just delete my entire catalog and start fresh using that method? I've only added 450+ images to the catalog so far and haven't developed any of them, so it hasn't taken much time.
 

FrenchFalcon

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Thanks for your reply Victoria.

I'm able to Control-Click(on Mac) the most recent folder that has been Imported and select 'Show Parent Folder' and it appears how I've structured everything. I'm wondering if there's an option somewhere in Lightroom that will do that automatically.

I'm still interested in knowing the major pros and cons between selecting Copying as DNG and ADD during Import.
 

rob211

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Mar 17, 2014
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Walnut Creek, CA USA
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I have always imported Raw images using Copy as DNG. So yes, I guess I do have all original Raw files, and also a duplicate DNG in my Lightroom Catalog file structure. Is this overkill to have a backup file in another location on the harddrive. In my mind I think I like the idea of always having an untouched source file but maybe this is unnecessary, I don't know.
If I use the ADD feature to import images, how will that affect the Raw images in the source file locations? It does seem to make great sense to use this method if I already have the file structure set up on the original harddrive location.
What are some of the pros and cons of using Copy as DNG vs ADD? If I decide to use ADD, should I just delete my entire catalog and start fresh using that method? I've only added 450+ images to the catalog so far and haven't developed any of them, so it hasn't taken much time.

DNG IS a RAW format, so I think you're unnecessarily duplicating files. But if they are a backup, fine. Gotta have that. I would backup the DNGs myself, but it's similar.

Lr is non-destructive; it doesn't make changes to the images themselves. It stores those adjustments as parameters, more or less instructions on how to adjust an image. Metadata is also stored in Lr's database and doesn't affect original images unless and until you write that metadata to the file (with RAW files it writes to either sidecars (separate files) or within a special place in the file, which doesn't affect the image. So ADDING just adds; it doesn't do anything else. It just shows the images that you've already put in Finder folders somewhere. Think of "add" as "point to..." or "reference."

The problem with copy as DNG is now you have TWO image files of the same thing. Referencing both is redundant, and confusing. Referencing one (say the DNG) and using the other as a backup could work...if it's a true backup (not on the same volume, etc). I prefer to back up the DNG itself since I might have added metadata to that DNG file itself, like say GPS data. Then I'm sure that both are up to date. Some prefer to store that same info in Lr's catalog, since it can always be applied to the backup RAW by Lr later.
 

FrenchFalcon

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Thanks for these comments. When I initially started using Lightroom, some of the material I was reading made it seem like Copy as DNG to be a preferable way to go; atleast the way I was thinking about it. I think part of what I was reading about was the full compatibility of the DNG format versus say a CanonRaw file. But either way I would think that the software in the future would make all these formats read-able.

Anyway, thanks again and I think the idea of ADDing instead of Copying may be moderately 'revolutionary' to my storage space and work flow.
 
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FrenchFalcon

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Joined
Jun 18, 2015
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Providence, RI
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Thanks for this link Victoria, and thank you for your time in sharing all the wonderful information. I think reasons like these are why I've been Copying as DNG since I've been using Lightroom. The pros certainly outweigh the cons, for me, again, for the main reason being compatibility reasons in the future.
I just wonder how things will be for all of us in 20 years when we've got an extra 100,000+ images or whatever and there's been a technological breakthrough in photo editing and management. I'm sure they'll go easy on us though ;)

Cheers
 
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