I've been using Lightroom for years the same way - I download my photos from a folder into my hard disk into LR. I've never really thought about what the settings in the Library are during the import (copy/move/add?), as the photos automatically showed up in the development module, I worked on them and then could easily retrieve them just by navigating through the folders in the Library module.
What's been happening for the last few weeks is that when LR imports my photos, it creates a subfolder within the main folder (say the folder on my hard disk is called 'A', LR creates A/2017 (sometimes even another subfolder) or just puts the photos in a totally different folder altogether (not informing me where...). When I try to import the photos into LR again, LR tells me it's not possible, as they are duplicates of already existing files (not telling me where these photos actually are)
Basically my question is: how can I go back to the good old straightforward way of downloading? I'd like the photos I work on in LR to be in the same folders as on the hard disk.
I realise this is not a great description of the problem , sorry.
Many thanks in advance for any help!
At the very top of the Import window, are some primary options: Add, Move, Copy / Copy as DNG.
"Add" simply adds images into the Catalog, while leaving those files where they are.
This won't be available if it's (say) a card in a card reader - in which case you will need to either get the images into the computer some other way first (outside of LR) and then use Add - or else use LR's Copy option for import.
"Move" changes files' locations, in the ways selected in the Destination panel. "Copy" is the default when you are bringing images in from the camera card - it makes duplicates, into such a Destination.
The Destination panel sets where images are to go. Above the part where you choose a drive / folder, you have an "into subfolder" option which when checked, lets you type in the name for a brand new subfolder inside the chosen destination. Otherwise the stated folder is used.
Next you choose how to Organize them within this place: "into one folder" just puts the files there directly. "By date" makes systematic subfolders according to one or another chosen scheme (date structure) and then auto-files the images into those, according to the date that each one was taken.
Once you have a set of Import settings that do what you want, I recommend saving those as a named Import preset, which can then be recalled in the future and then behave consistently. Otherwise you will always be at the mercy of however the Import dialog happens to have last been used - since the settings are remembered from that prior import batch.