Download Before Import


Today’s Question: Would there be any detriment if I copy my Nikon NEF [raw capture] files manually to a folder on my computer, rename them manually, then import them into Lightroom versus letting Lightroom Classic import them directly from the memory card and then renaming them in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t recommend this type of workflow because it adds an element of complexity to the process. If you follow a consistent workflow with this approach it can certainly work fine, but in my view there’s a greater risk of being inconsistent due to the slightly cumbersome nature of this type of workflow.

More Detail: If you’re going to manage your photos using Lightroom Classic, you must import those photos into the Lightroom Classic catalog. My view is that it therefore makes the most sense to import directly from your media cards into Lightroom Classic, without using any other software as part of this workflow.

When importing photos into your Lightroom Classic catalog you can copy them from the media card to the intended storage location, create an additional backup copy in another location, rename the photos, add metadata using a saved preset, apply a Develop preset to all photos, apply keywords to all photos being imported, and more.

Furthermore, by importing photos directly from your media cards you are getting those photos into your normal workflow as quickly as possible. You’re also using a more streamlined workflow that will help you avoid issues such as downloading photos but then neglecting to import them into Lightroom Classic.

If you’re thorough and consistent, you can certainly use a more complicated workflow in the context of Lightroom Classic. I recommend, however, keeping that workflow streamlined and importing directly from your media cards into your Lightroom Classic catalog.

The full workflow I recommend for importing photos into Lightroom Classic is covered in great detail in my lesson “Importing Photos and Videos”, which is Chapter 2, Lesson 1 of my comprehensive “Mastering Lightroom Classic” video course. This course is included in my GreyLearning Ultimate Bundle, and you can learn more about it on the GreyLearning website here: