Today’s Question: I want to import images from my hard drive into Lightroom Classic and at the same time make a copy of those images on an external drive. I selected “Copy” and checked “Make a Second Copy To” and selected the second location. Since the files are already on my hard drive and I have told Lightroom where to put the second copy, can I just skip the “Destination” panel? I would have selected “Add” but that option doesn’t allow me to make a copy to a second location. If I use “Add” do I have to manually make a copy to my external drive?
Tim’s Quick Answer: In this type of scenario I would use the “Add” option for the import operation in Lightroom, since the source image files are already in the intended storage location. You will then need to perform a separate backup, since the “Make a Second Copy To” option is not available when importing with the “Add” option.
More Detail: If you are using the “Add” option during import, you’ll need to perform a separate backup for the photos being imported, because you’re not able to automatically make a backup copy when using the “Add” option. And if the photos are already in the appropriate storage location, you don’t want to use the “Copy” option, because that would make a redundant copy of your photos in another folder, and would not cause the source images to be added to your catalog based on their existing folder location.
In general I recommend importing photos before you have copied them to their final storage location. That typically involves copying the photos from a media card to a hard drive, for example. For photos that have already been copied to the intended location, you can import with the Add option, and then perform a separate backup, such as with the GoodSync software I recommend for creating a backup via synchronization (http://timgrey.me/greybackup).
I actually think of the backup option during import into Lightroom as a “temporary” backup in any event, so even when taking advantage of that option I would still want to create an updated backup via synchronization or other methods after the import is complete.