Import Multiple Folders


Today’s Question: I prefer to download my iPhone captures to a folder on my desktop first, and then import into Lightroom. Sometimes I accumulate several folders full of images that need to be imported. Is there an easy way to import all of those folders at once so I don’t have to import multiple times (once for each folder)?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are several options available to you, but in this case the easiest approach might be to simply select the multiple folders from the Source panel in the Import dialog. This allows you to select multiple folders of images and import them to the same folder location using the Copy option.

More Detail: On the left side of the Import dialog you are able to select the source of images to be imported. In this case, for example, the source might be a folder on your desktop that contains photos. What many photographers don’t realize is that it is possible to select more than one folder from the Source panel, enabling you to import the photos contained in multiple folders all at the same time.

The approach to selecting multiple folders is the same that you might already be familiar with in your operating system. You can click on the first folder, for example, and then hold the Shift key and click on the last folder to select multiple folders. You can also hold the Ctrl key on Windows or the Command key on Macintosh while clicking in order to toggle the selection of a folder on or off.

In this case you could then use the Copy option at the top-center of the Import dialog to enable you to copy the photos in the multiple folders to the final destination, such as a folder for a current trip on an external hard drive.

You could also select the parent folder (such as the Desktop in this case) and turn on the “Include Subfolders” checkbox at the top of the Source panel. This will cause all photos in all subfolders of the currently selected folder to be included in the import, although you need to be careful to ensure that this approach doesn’t cause unwanted photos or videos to be imported.

You could even automate things further by creating a “watch” folder, so that whenever new images are added to a given folder they can be imported into Lightroom automatically. But again, in this specific example I think simply selecting multiple folders from the Source panel in the Import dialog may represent the best solution.