Move photos to new location and import

This option (circled) is similar to the previous one, except it actually moves the original file and places it in a predetermined location on your hard drive. Because it isn't "copying" the file, only moving it, the process doesn't take as much time as the previous choice. Be aware that when using this option with a card reader or your digital camera as source, Lightroom deletes the files from the card/camera after moving them.

Figure 2-13

Copy photos as Digital Negative (DNG) and import

This choice turns your original RAW files into DNG and places the DNG files in a predetermined folder on your hard drive. The original files are left in their original location. (DNG stands for Digital Negative, a standardized, openly documented RAW file format championed by Adobe.) You can also convert a TIFF or JPEG file into a DNG. (Important DNG creation preferences are found under Lightroom's Preferences/Import tab.)

Figure 2-14

Rendering Previews

If you click the Render standard-sized previews check box (circled), a 1440-pixel preview will be generated on import by default. If you don't select it, Lightroom uses pre-existing preview files generated by your digital camera, the size of which varies from camera to camera. The files will import faster into Lightroom, but the quality of the preview thumbnails may not be to your liking. Not to worry, Lightroom eventually generates an appropriate-sized preview when you select and work on the image.

Figure 2-15

Setting preview image sizes in Catalog Settings

Let's briefly leave the Import Dialog box to discuss the preview preference choices, which are found in the Catalog Settings dialog box under the File Handling Tab. (Select File→Catalog Settings from the menu bar or, in Lightroom's Preferences/General tab, select Go to Catalog Settings.) Here you can set the size of the "Standard" preview. Obviously, the larger the preview, the slower the import. You can also set the Preview Quality to High, Medium, or Low, which can be important if memory is an issue. All these settings apply on a catalog-by-catalog basis.

Figure 2-16

Manually building previews

After import, you can instruct Lightroom to build or render standard-sized or 1:1 previews in the Library module, by selecting Library→Previews from the File menu. Depending on how many images are selected, this may take some time. (1:1 previews are used in the Develop module and are generated automatically when you select and work on an image there. "Pre-rendering" 1:1 previews may save you a little time in the Develop module, but it isn't necessary.)

Figure 2-17

Discarding previews

Since 1:1 previews are essentially full resolution versions of your image, they can take up a lot of storage space. You only really need these 1:1 previews when you process an image or print, so you may find it useful to purge your system from time to time. You can do this manually by selecting Library→Previews→Discard 1:1 Previews, or you can set up a Lightroom catalog preference (File→Catalog Settings) so the 1:1 previews are automatically purged at an interval set by you.

Figure 2-18

Return to Inside Lightroom