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With the cost of Lightroom 4 being dropped to 149.00 there have been a lot of people giving it a go. One of the most often misunderstood aspects of Lightroom with new users is how Lightroom manages your photos. Well, here is the truth. It doesn’t… However, Lightroom does have tools that allow you to better manage your photo files. Lightroom doesn’t care where your photos are located so you can copy them from your memory card to your hard drive in a specific location before importing into Lightroom or you can leave them on the card and ask Lightroom to do it for you.
If you are in the Library Module on the bottom left side of the screen you will see the “Import” button. Push that. The Lightroom dialogue box will appear.
There are really only three aspects to this box.
1. Where From: The left hand side deals with where the files are currently located.
2. How you want Lightroom to handle the photos: This portion is in the middle of the dialogue box at the top of the screen. This is where many folks get a bit confused about what it is Lightroom is really doing. You have three options to choose from. Copy, Move, and Add. Let’s take a closer look.
• This is the option that I use 99% of the time. This is where you point Lightroom to a specific folder and/or memory card and tell it to copy the files in that location and paste them into a new location. The new location you choose with aspect three listed in the next section. I use this one over the Move choice simply because I like to ensure I have all the images in my backup locations prior to deleting them off the card.
• The Move option does exactly what it says it does. It moves the files from their current location to the location that you have specified. (see the third aspect)
• Add is the one that gives people the most trouble. This is because when you ADD photos all you are doing is bringing in the photos to the Lightroom Catalog. The images remain exactly where they were. This means if you moved your images to a folder on your desktop and you “ADD” them to the Lightroom catalog the files do not get moved or copied. This also means that if you move or delete the desktop folder and you do not tell Lightroom then it doesn’t understand where they all went. If you remove the original location and you open up lightroom you will see the thumbnails that it created when you imported the image. However, you will see writing across the image that says it cannot find the source file. Now, provided you have not deleted the originals there are ways to tell Lightroom where to look.
3. Where to put them: If you have chosen Copy or Move then you have the option of telling Lightroom where you want the files to be copied or moved to.