When I first starting using Lightroom several years ago, the main mistake I made was not understanding how important the import was. One of my missions at Pretty Presets, through the live webinars, the Lightroom Lab workshop, and the blog tutorials, is to educate new Lightroom users on the awesomeness of the Library and of file management, which includes the import process.

All that said, here are three simple settings you should change (or check to make sure you have selected) today and why they will make importing and accessing your images easier the next time you import.

Import Options in the Preferences Menu

The settings I'm highlighting are found in the Preferences menu, which you find on a Mac by clicking on Lightroom (top left corner), then Preferences, or on a PC by clicking Edit, then Preferences.

Once you're in the Preferences menu, click on the General tab, if you don't land there automatically. Under the "Import Options" select these three choices:

  • Show import dialog when a memory card is detected. This will open up the import screen automatically as soon as you connect a memory card or a camera via a USB cord.
  • Select the current/previous import collection during import. This is SUPER helpful because it shows only those images you just imported as soon as the import is completed. If this isn't selected you'll have to isolate those particular images via keywords you added or by library filters. 
  • Treat JPG files next to raw files as separate photos. This isn't a deal breaker, but it will solve the problem many LR users have when they shoot JPG and raw, then later hunt and hunt in LR but can never find the JPG files. If this isn't selected, the two files are nested, with the raw file given priority and the JPG hidden.