19 Replies Latest reply: Aug 3, 2012 9:35 AM by skyhawks5@q.com RSS

    How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?

    XEyedBear Community Member

      The import action in LR 3.6 utterly confuses and frustrates me. I have spent the best part of 8 hours trying to import a single image into the logically correct, sensible and desirable place in my folders list. LR is bizarre to the point of being perverse in where it chooses to place the imported photo. Can somebody expain to me how to make it work correctly?


      Within the 'My Pictures' folder on a hard disk I have a 'My LightRoom Photos' folder. It has a number of sub-folders, the most important of which is where I want to copy/add a particular image. The name of the sub-folder is irrelvant. I'll call it 'Digital'. The physical organisation on the harddisk within Digital is firstly by year number folder: 'yyyy'. Within each year folder there are subfolders for the month/day of the shot, with folder names of the form 'yyyymmdd'. This structure appears replicated in the folders pane on the left hand side of the LR Library module - just as I want. This is all standard stuff, right?


      To make things easier to understand I have now moved the image I want to import to a different hard disk, into the 'Public Pictures folder'. It's there in Windows Explorer.


      Now I Import this image by a number of different methods: I expect it to go into the folder <Digital><2010><20100615> (that's the date it was shot) to join other photos shot on that date. No matter what options I choose, the image is added to a newly created folder, named '20100615', within 'My Pictures' at the same level as the  'My LightRoom Photos' folder,' in the Folders panel in LR. But this folder does NOT exist on the hard disk and the imported image is, in fact, inside the physical folder I expect. It just doesn't show to be there in LR. This is highly confusing and totally counter-intuitive.


      The options I have tried are:

      - 'Copy' or 'Add'

      - right click the 'Digital' folder in the Folders pane and select 'Import into this folder'

      - ditto with the '<Digital><2010>' and '<Digital><2010><20100615>' folders

      - selected the relevant folder in the Desination Folders pane on the right hand side of the Library module

      - selected or deselected 'Into subfolder'

      - selected or deselected 'Organise into 1 folder'

      - selected or deselected 'Organise by date'



      So why does LR choose this bizarre place to catalog the photo? Why dies it pretend there is a new folder on my hard disk and re-create it in the catalog, which I absolutely do not want and which does not actually exist?


      The above is the simplified problem. The real problem - which I have abandoned working on, is where the new image already exists within the folder (on my hard disk), but does to appear in the LR catalog, in the folder into which I am trying to import it (Add) (in my catalog). This is the default position for any new image I wish to Add to the catalog when I edit a .NEF raw image and want to save (i.e export it) as a jpeg. That is, LR gets things quite wrong when I do what is intuitively obvious to me. This makes it very difficult to trust and use the product.

        • 1. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
          JimHess MVP

          Here is a video that I think will help you understand importing how little better .  It takes about 15 minutes, but I think it will answer many of your questions . 


          • 2. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
            XEyedBear Community Member

            It's a good video. Just a pity that it doesn't describe what actually happens on my computer. I'm choosing the method 2 that Ms. Kost refers to and I get the result described in the original post, with the added factor that I also need to take a walk around my house after the import or I am likely to throw my computer out of the Window, with sufficient force that it might have a reasonable chance of causing the same level of inconveneince to who ever signed off the human factors on this import design as it is causing to me.....that's only fair, isn't it?


            So what I really need now is for somebody to explain how LR can be forced to do what is logically correct and prevented from doing what it actually does, which is not only illogical, but is contrary to what I am actually asking it to do.

            • 3. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
              JimHess MVP

              Get ready to throw your computer, because you probably already know this.  But to reiterate, if the file is already on your computer you don't want to copy it, you simply want to add it to your Lightroom catalog.  There is no destination folder required because it's already in the folder that you want.  If you copy the file then you have to designate a folder (option 1 in the video) and that means that you now have two copies of the file on your computer.  And if that is what you did then you need to know exactly where you copied that file.


              After you copy the image the import dialogue will close and the newly imported image should have focus.  If you don't see that folder in your folder tree in the library module right click on the image and find the option to display the folder.  I don't remember the exact words.

              • 4. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                XEyedBear Community Member

                "if the file is already on your computer you don't want to copy it, you simply want to add it to your Lightroom catalog": - can I disaree with somebody who clearly knows more than me, without giving offence?


                No offence is intended, but I beg to differ. Yes, the file is already on (one of)my hardisk, but it's definitely not in the folder I want. So a 'Copy' operation is appropriate, to put a copy of the file in the correct place. This operation actually works - at the physical level - but not in the way one would expect at all by reading the LR hepl file or from watching the video you sugested: LR vigorously and defiantly ignores the folder I designate in Option1. Within the logical view presented by LR the imported/copied file appears in its own (non-existent) folder, entirely separate (and at a quiet different hierarchical level in the catalog) from its kindred images.


                This is clearly highly confusing. If this is LR working as intended, then somebody needs to have a quiet word with the developer/designer and suggest a course of treatment with a suitably qualified professional.


                On the other hand if I am prepared to accept the 'Add' option, the result is even worse: now the file is in the wrong place on my hard disk (making it hard to do back-ups outside of LR), but the image still appears in its own, unique, out of order, non-existent folder in the folders pane in LR.


                Shirley, that's not the way it's suppoed to work, is it?


                Really ? Then it's time to look for a more mature combined asset/work flow manager. (Which is where I came in in the first place, finding that Cumulus had a nice database approach but no image modification facilities at all and  just never kept up. The Canadian offering just didn't 'feel' right).

                • 5. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                  JimHess MVP

                  There is something you are missing, but I don't know what it is.  You might try closing Lightroom and moving the file to the desired folder.  Also, are you trying to import individual images?  If so, why?  I obviously have no more suggestions that might help you.  I'm convinced that you're not doing something correctly.  But I don't know what it is.  The import process works for me just as it's explained in the video.

                  • 6. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                    JimHess MVP

                    I don't know if this is going to help.  But this is my last attempt.


                    First of all, if you are going to COPY the images and you want to put them in one folder, you need to choose that option in the right hand panel of the export dialog.  Then I usually put them in a named sub folder which is the first option under the destination panel.  After you have named that sub folder you need to scroll down and locate and select the drive and the main folder on that drive under which you want the sub folder created.  If you have done this correctly you should see the sub folder you have named, but it will be shaded (a shade of gray rather than white).

                    • 7. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                      XEyedBear Community Member

                      I note your comment that I have now received your last attempt. Much appreciated and thanks; sorry to find that this issue looks like it is going to remain unresolved. The more I have played with this issue the more I am inclined to report a defect, along the lines of "LR 3.6 is unable to import single images correctly under certain circumstances". I'll develop this idea more later. For now, to comment on your 2 (final) appends:


                      - yep, I might be missing something (which is why I made the original post), but I too have no idea what it is. The video you referred me to confirmed that my understanding of the EXPECTED import process was in practice 100% accurate and complete for the critical actions, and about 30% complete for the nice to use work-flow enhancing actions (like use of presets and the 'minimalist' import dialog box). The video also confirmed that, as installed here, LR does NOT operate in the way described by Ms. Kost.

                      - Yes, I have tried closing LR and moving (using the Linux definition of move - i.e. copy) the file to the desired folder. The result (as previously reported) is that LR is unable to import the image (using the 'Add' option) into the same folder structure as its kindred images. For all practical purposes then the image does not appear in the Grid display in the Library module. That's a bug.

                      - Further more if I right-click the new folder that is created by this import process and choose 'remove',  I am given the details of the folder location and the number of files in the folder. In both cases this information is in disagreement to that displayed in the Folders pane. Aside from the file location error, it also tells me that folder conatins 1 file. It doesn't; it contains 52 files. (I right click on the supposed 1 files, choose 'show in explorer' and there are all  52 of the 1 files!). That's another bug.

                      - Why am I trying to import individual images? 'Cos I've only got 1 image to import. I could add others, but that's a bit daft since at this time there is nothing else I want to import into this folder, in this place in the catalog hierarchy. And let me just say why I have an image to import: this folder contains NEFs and JPEGS. The jpeg doesn't look right (thanks, Nikon); I can make a much better version using the Develop module in LR working from the nef. I then save (but have to use export - why, for heaven's sake, why?) the modified nef as a jpeg - which I assume modifies the pixels destructively, according to the orders which are encoded into the newly-created nef .xmp sidecar file. I want a jpeg since the subject of the photo is not a Nikon user and so cannot do anything with a nef image when I send that to her. So now I have, in the desired folder, the original nef, its associated xmp, the orignal jpeg and a modified jpeg with an incremented file name. The obvious thing to do now is to import this new jpeg into the catalog, using the 'Add' option, right? And that's where it all goes wrong. LR is unable to do it.

                      - Yes, I'm sure the import process works for you - but that's the 'technical support logical error' that I have observed since I first worked in a tech. support function back in the 1960s: "It works OK here". Well, that's good; you don't have a problem. But I'm not writing about 'there'; I'm wriitng about 'here'.......


                      - Choosing a named folder in the right hand pane will defintely createe a new folder - a physical folder - on my hard disk and it certainly won't be in the logically correct place in the folder hierarchy, even when I select the drive, folder, sub-folder and sub-sub-folder where I want it created. I referred to that in my original post. LR creates the folder in some other location in a way which I still regard as bizarre and perverse. And that's another bug.



                      The mystifying thing in all this is that I have had no problem importing images from LR 1.1 up to LR 3.3 - and that's about 9,000 (times 2) images I guess (My Nikon wrapped its image numbering sometime when I was in LR 3.5). It took me a while to realise that LR was importing images into strange places and I put up with it for a while. I currently have about 250 folders of images; for a while I could keep all this my head and know where any particular image was (which says something about LR's organisational effectiveness - or lack thereof; I was doing the organising mentally and then trying to figure out where LR had bizarrely decided to place them). But now, at my age, with loss of faculties, I can no longer do this. I really want LR to do it for me; so far LR is resisting doing what I think - based on information from skilled users like Ms. Kost - it should do.


                      Well, it seems it won't so I'l look for another product solution.


                      Post scriptum:


                      I see that I made a previous post on this topic back in June last year which was unresolved then. I had forgotten about this (sorry, where am I? what did you say your name was?) and at that time suspected the change in import behaviour started with LR 3.4. I see the problem now is exactly how as it was back then.

                      • 8. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                        XEyedBear Community Member

                        This is an update for anybody else reading this thread which provides a work-around for the defective functioning of LR import which I have experienced on my computer.


                        I now find that any/all imports of new images, following either method described by the Adobe LightRooom evangelist, Ms. Kost, fails to place the imported images into the correct position in the catalog folder hierarchy. Instead the imported images are placed in a new folder which is shown at the highest level in the folder pane in the Library module. This folder does not in fact exist on the hard-disk at this hierarchical level. I refer to it as a 'fantasy' folder, reflecting the bizarre way in which LR operates. The correct folder is actually created, but not shown, at the expected location; the folder list in LR is wrong. LR can be made to reflect reality, rather than fantasy, in the following way:


                        1. Right-click on the highest level folder, in the folder list, which does actually, physically, contain the newly created, but not visible, folder of imported images (find the folder location in Explorer) and select 'synchronize' from the options presented.


                        2. LR will then proceed to find new images which it can import (including all the really new images which have just been imported!, plus, in my case, hundreds of other images throughout the folder hierarchy which LR seemed to have lost track of).


                        3. After this second import step is complete the folder list will now show a second copy of the newly created folder, in the correct position in the folder hierarchy, correctly reflecting the physical organisation on the hard-disk.


                        4. At this point the first, 'fantasy', folder can be eliminated from the catalog by right-click and then 'remove'. LR issues a warning that the images wil be removed from the catalog. This is not correct: the images that are in the 'real' folder are not deleted. At this time there is a 1-to-1 correspondence between what LR shows in its folder organisation and what actually is held on the hard disk.


                        The evidence is that LR has defects in its asset management such that the folder hierarchy and the images shown within each folder will become progressively out of touch with reality (in my case by about 780+ images altogther) over a period of time. The 'synchronize' capability appears to correct that. Based on this expereince of the last 9 months I now no longer believe I can trust the asset managment functions of LR. I will use additional, non-Adobe software to manage my assets from now on.

                        • 9. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                          JimHess MVP

                          That is how Lightroom downloads for you. I still can't understand what you are doing wrong, because when I download it works just the way it should.

                          • 10. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                            XEyedBear Community Member

                            2 possible explanations, one of which is that is not me that is doing it wrong: Lightroom has most of the control in this process. And, here, it doesn't work.

                            • 11. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                              grevesz Community Member



                              I have a very similar issue.


                              I intend to import files into two new subfolders under

                              • d:\backup\pictures\original
                              • d:\backup\pictures\modified

                              Both subfolders would have a name of oday's date: 20120224


                              The two screenshots below show the settings I used to achieve this and the results.


                              1. There is no room to specify two new folder names. Only one.
                              2. You would assume that is used at both locations, but that's not the case.
                              3. Only the first location is imported into LR 3.6.


                              Any help would be highly appreciated!!!







                              • 12. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                grevesz Community Member

                                Nobody knows????



                                • 13. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                  grevesz Community Member

                                  Is there no way to do this? (Still unanswered... Same behavior in Lightroom 4.0)





                                  • 14. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                    Jim Wilde Community Member

                                    No, there's no way you can import image files to two separate folders and have them both appear in the Catalog.Why would you want to?


                                    The 'Make Second Copy' option is designed as a byte-for-byte copy of the contents on the import card, it's principal purpose being to take a quick backup of the card so that the card can be re-used before the usual post-processing backup takes place. It has never been designed to duplicate the folder structure of the prime imports, though some people have requested this.

                                    • 15. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                      grevesz Community Member




                                      • 16. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?

                                        I have had the exact same problem and it has been driving my nuts. I found a possible solution which I intend to try when I return from vacation. I found it on photography-on-the-net/forum/

                                        It involves taking that stray folder and adding a parent folder to it and then possibly adding  another parent folder to that parent folder. Then try dragging the topmost parent folder where you want it to be. It knows that name of the parent folder already which surprised me somewhat.


                                        I was playing with that a little before I read the post and I think it may work for me but I leave tomorrow on vacation so won't have time to try it out. If you want more information I can try to dig up the exact page I was looking at in the forum. You may try a google also  otherwise I will try to accomodate you in 10 days. Good Luck. Pete

                                        • 17. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                          skyhawks5@q.com Community Member

                                          Hi, I tried a few things and I found a solution to my problem which you may want to try also for LR 3.6 .


                                          In looking/comparing my LR Catalog Hierarchy and my Q: harddrive Hierarchy I noticed a discrepancy which was causing me some grief. I noticed my LR Cat was showing (lowercase) /Pictures. During import LR would put the pictures into a new folder called (uppercase) /PICTURES/2012/2012-05-01. I didn't see or know what the parent folders were since they were not showing in the LR Catalog. To find the parent I selected the LR Catalog folder (of the one that was driving me nuts)  and selected ADD PARENT. Afterwards my /2012-05-01 folder  showed up as /2012/2012-05-01. Then once again I selected 2012 and selected ADD PARENT. Afterwards (uppercase) /PICTURES/2012/2012-05-01  showed up. Still not wanting my pictures at that location I tried to move the 2012-05-01 folder into my main LR Cat folder but got the message the folder already exists even though it was not showing.I was very frustrated but pressed on. I finally went to my main LR Cat folder /Pictures where my 8000+ photos reside and selected the (lowercase) /Pictures folder (now knowing that it didn't exactly match my (uppercase) PICTURES folder on my Q: harddrive). I updated the folder location and then I was able to move that folders w/photos into my main LR Cat. The folder that were there but not visible before were now showing. Eureka! That was it. I simply removed the unwanted (uppercase) /PICTURES/2012/2012-05-01 folders but not the pictures from the LR Cat.    Now when I import the folders w/pictures go right where I want them. I experimented by importing one photo at a time until I got it all figured out.


                                          Bottom Line: Triple check your harddrive folders against your LR Cat folders for upper/lowercase differences or any other differences for that matter. I supposed if you wanted to you could just simply select your main LR Cat PICTURES folder and simply update it's location.


                                          Worked great for me and now I am ready to really enjoy my vacation not having to worry about coming back to this black cloud. Any questions feel free to contact me. Pete

                                          • 18. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                            XEyedBear Community Member

                                            What this post confirms to me is that there is something systemically wrong in the design of the relevant part of LR 3.6.


                                            The product is (apparently) designed to meet the needs of serious amateurs and professional photographers. Nothing in the product documentation says, or implies, that you also have to be more skilled in the internals of computer operating systems file management than any other USER of a software application. Logically therefore LR should prevent the need for the average, non-expert-computer-user, to jump through this complicated set of hoops just to achieve that which seems to be intuitively obvious in the first place.


                                            Bridge and Photoshop are proving to be a more robust alternative, so I abandoned LightRoom some months ago, saving myself a large amount of time in the process.

                                            • 19. Re: How to import into required folder (LR3.6)?
                                              skyhawks5@q.com Community Member

                                              I have thought of dumping LR at times but have a friend who uses it and works fine for him after a steep learning curve. I am still only halfway up the curve and agree it could definitely be more user friendly.  Thanks for your input. Take care. Pete