I like to organize things. In fact, I spend way more time organizing things than I really should. When I first started my pocket scrapping project, I would spend hours uploading, sorting, moving and tagging my photos. This took up the majority of the time I spent at my computer. I knew that if I was to keep up the project, I would need to find a way to make this whole process a lot easier.
First, I got Lightroom all set up. I found that in Lightroom, you could create Smart Collections that would pull all the pictures that were captured within a certain date range. To create the Smart Collection, click the + next to the collections tab and choose “smart collection.” You can go ahead and name the smart collection, I made it simple and named each collection by the week. You can leave it to match “all” and then from the drop down, pick “capture date.” Once you’ve done this, you need to switch the next drop down to “is in the range” and select the start date for the week and the end date for the week. Click done and you’ve got your first Smart Collection. I went ahead and made one for every week in 2014.
Next, you want to set up Camera Upload in Lightroom. This is different depending on where you use Dropbox. I set up camera upload on my PC for when I plug in my DSLR, and I set up camera upload on my iPhone using the Dropbox picture app Carousel. This is a great resource for enabling camera upload in Dropbox, and this is a great article showing how to do it in Carousel. The important thing is you want to make sure that you have them both set to upload directly to the same folder. This will be key when we go back into Lightroom.
The final step is to set up Auto Importing in Lightroom. First, you need to empty any photos that may have already uploaded into the folder you are planning on having Lightroom look in. It won’t work if there is already photos there. Once you have it empty, go into the File menu in Lightroom, select Auto Import, and then Auto Import settings. Once you are in the Auto Import settings, you have to tell Lightroom which folder you want it to look in. Lightroom will also move the pictures from your Dropbox camera upload folder, so you have to select a destination for them to be moved to. Finally, choose how you want your photos named and you are good to go. Click on the File menu again, and click on “enable Auto Import.” With this, your set up is done.
If all has gone to plan, the system should work like this: When you open Dropbox or Carousel on your phone, your pictures should be sent directly to the camera upload folder. The same should happen when you plug in your DSLR. The pictures will wait there until the next time you open Lightroom. At that point, Lightroom will import the pictures automatically, rename and move them, and then put them in the Smart Collections you created. With a little hard work upfront, importing and organizing your photos can become an almost fully automatized task.