Lightroom 4 In-Depth - Importing, Organizing and Exporting Your Photos By Matt Kloskowski

2 hr 53 min

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 is the key to what industry experts are calling the new digital workflow. Now you can learn exactly how to get started, and see how it can help you achieve the quickest, easiest workflow imaginable! Matt Kloskowski, NAPP Education and Curriculum Developer and host of the popular Lightroom Killer Tips podcast, walks you through the entire process and shows you how to get the best possible images in record time. In this course, Matt concentrates specifically on the importing and organizing process in Lightroom. You’ll start from scratch with the goal of always knowing exactly where your photos are and keeping your favorite ones so they’re just one click away.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

Join Matt as he goes over what will be covered in this class so you can get started on the right foot.
If you're upgrading from a previous version of Lightroom this lesson is for you. Matt will show you how to upgrade a copy of your existing catalog so that you can bring your work into Lightroom 4.
If you are brand new to Lightroom you'll want to start here. If you've upgraded an existing Lightroom catalog you should already have a system for storing your photos and you can skip to the next lesson.
In this lesson we'll take a look at all of the features of the Import dialog box, from where your photos originate to where they'll be stored and everything that happens in between.
If you've already got photos on your drive (and we're sure you do) you don't have to change where they are stored if you are happy with their current location. Lightroom can simply add them to the catalog.
This lesson will show you how to copy your photos from a memory card to a destination folder on your computer as they are imported into the Lightroom catalog.
Since Lightroom stores information about your photos in the catalog file (as well as previews in a special cache), you can still see your photos in Lightroom when a drive is offline.
To keep Lightroom's database up to date with where your photos are stored, it is critical that you use Lightroom to move your photos and folders when you need to move them to a new location.
We'll take a look at some of the preferences to make importing easier and faster.
In this lesson we'll cover what DNG is, how to use it and all of the features in Lightroom that let you work with your DNG photos.
Lightroom also supports video. We'll see just how to take advantage of the controls in Lightroom and all of the things you can do with your videos.
If you shoot in Raw+JPEG mode, Lightroom has a little feature that helps you out with this.
Once you've got your photos in Lightroom, you'll probably want to know how to get them out so that you can email them or put them on the web.
Lightroom has a feature that let's you watermark your photos all at once when you export them into JPEGs
If you use Flickr, Facebook or some other popular photo sharing services, you can actually upload your photos directly to the site from Lightroom.
A new feature in Lightroom 4 let's you email your photos directly from within Lightroom.
There's a lot of little tips and tricks in Lightroom. But in this video, Matt shows you 3 of his favorites for moving around Lightroom quickly.
The Library module has four ways to view your photos. Learn how to switch between Grid, Loupe, Compare, and Survey views.
Lightroom's primary purpose is to help you organize and manage your photos. Applying rating stars, flags, and color labels are tools to help you stay organized.
The Painter Tool's icon looks like a spray paint can because it can be used to "spray" various types of information and settings on to your photos while in Grid view.
The key to organizing your photo library is in finding and marking your keepers. Matt shows you his favorite method for quickly going through your photo library and flagging your best work (and rejecting your worst).
Collections are like albums and can be a very helpful tool for organizing and accessing your photos based on certain themes or topics.
Collection Sets are containers for collections and provide you with another level of organization for grouping related collections together into a set.
Smart collections are, well, collections that are smart! Actually, they're collections that automatically populate with photos based on the rules you define.
If you've got several photos of the same thing, then stacks are a great way to help stay organized and reduce the clutter.
Keywords are useful for helping you find your photos no matter where they are stored on your system (and can be used in smart collections).
Metadata is information about your photos. The Metadata panel in the Library module can be used to view, input, and modify (some) types of metadata such as titles, captions, and contact information.
The new Maps module in Lightroom 4 let's you see any GPS enabled photos on a map, but more importantly, it also lets you add GPS coordinates and location information to your photos manually.
The Library Filter Bar taps into the power of the Lightroom database to help you find your photos in a wide variety of ways.
Just like with moving photos, it is important to do all your photo renaming from within Lightroom to keep the catalog up to date.
All of the work you do in Lightroom is stored in the catalog file. It is critical to ensure the catalog file is backed up on a regular basis. Lightroom has a feature to automate the catalog backup process.
If you use a Laptop and a desktop, you'll probably want to synchronize your work between the two computers. In this lesson, Matt shows you how to keep that work organized on both machines.
The Quick Develop panel is a stripped down version of the Develop module located in the Library module.
A quick overview of some key Library module shortcuts that you'll want to make sure you always have handy.
Profile photo of Matt Kloskowski

Meet your instructor

Matt Kloskowski


Matt is the Vice President of Photography for onOne Software and a Tampa-based photographer. He's a best selling author of over 20 books and teaches Lightroom and Photoshop at seminars and conferences around the world....

Matt's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Phyllis Phyllis

    HELP HELP – When I brought my folders, I made one file AAA Folders. When I got them into Lightroom nothing is in folders. I can’t find a thing. I’ve done this three times. Pictures are everyone.

  2. Profile photo of JoyNae JoyNae

    I’m currently using Lightroom 3 and I imported photos into Lightroom without any organization. How can I put my existing photos into their own folders or catalogs?

  3. Profile photo of DebbieRubin DebbieRubin

    Trying to watch a video and cannot get it started.

  4. Profile photo of lucienr lucienr

    Excellent course about Lightroom. Well explained and interesting. Very good teacher. My knowledge of Lightroom improved significantly. Thank you very much for this useful course. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Okinawan Heidi Okinawan Heidi

    Really great and very easy to understand and (with a touch of humor to boot!) My kids even enjoyed it. They are wondering if Matt Klazowski (spelling?) can do a lesson in Algebra for them? Thank you! Really great! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of scottfanderson scottfanderson

    I am totally new at Lightroom 4 ( or any lightroom for that matter ). I was told that you needed to be shooting in RAW to be able to work with your images in Lightroom. Is that true ? What other tutorials do you have for the VERY BEGINER ? or is this series the best.?
    Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Profile photo of Melissa Melissa

      Hi Scott – In order to get the most out of Lightroom, you should work with RAW images. You can open .jpg’s in Lightroom, but since it’s a compressed format, you won’t have as much flexibility with your manipulations. You can check out all of our Lightroom classes here –

  7. Profile photo of Barbara Turner Barbara Turner

    As a new Lightroom user , I viewed this course first before I installed Lightroom. What a great course!! I am not intimidated at all and can’t wait to use Lightroom. Thanks Matt!! Great course! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of pswizard007 pswizard007

    With this course I learned LR4 from scratch , fast ,easy and fun way. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of jameschidlow jameschidlow

    Great course, and love the humour too! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia

    Great! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of Liette Chamberland Liette Chamberland

    Wonderful!!! Matt is a great teacher. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of Glenn Glenn

    Matt, just wanted to let you know that I have learned a great deal from your beginner Lightroom 4 and CS6 classes….you have a gift in teaching a ton of information in an easy to understand way. Thank you.

    I look forward to watching your other other classes as I cntinue to progress. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  13. Profile photo of WorldClassDad WorldClassDad

    My wife surprised me with a year subscription to KelbyTraining for Christmas. Every course that I’ve watched so far has been extremely helpful. I just finished watching Lightroom 4 In-Depth Importing, Organizing and Exporting Your Photos with Matt Kloskowski and this changed my whole workflow. I’ve always done things very manually and organized my folders in a way that I thought was most efficient for my workflow. Having watched this course, I am changing my workflow entirely and relying more on Lightroom so I can take advantage of the amazing features Lightroom provides. KelbyTraining really is the best gift an aspiring photographer could receive and I cannot wait to continue learning more with the help of KelbyTraining.
    Keep up the good work!
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  14. Profile photo of katymom katymom

    I was pulling out my hair trying to import photos from my card! Thanks so much for such an informative and easy to follow presentation for us newbies! Matt’s the guy! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  15. Profile photo of greenflower greenflower

    This was really great. I thought the order of presentation was perfect rather than following the order of the book. It logically made sense and I feel I learned a lot of useful info. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  16. Profile photo of Newbie_Dave Newbie_Dave

    I’m a newbie to Lightroom and have been having problems with my collections. Now I can face them with confidence. I’m a big fan of Matt’s and find it easy to follow what he’s saying.
    I’ve got a choice between getting some sleep before work or watching his ‘Developing and Editing Your Photos’ class……. Guess it’s going to be the class. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  17. Profile photo of


    Henry Damsma —- Yes, please post my feedback

  18. Profile photo of eandersonphotography eandersonphotography

    Thank you for the tip on 1:1 loading in LR4! I was so frustrated I wanted to go back to LR2, so THANK YOU! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  19. Profile photo of chabotr chabotr

    Thak you…I am new to the photography and Lightroom world and this video has helped me greatly. It has shown me a much better way of organizing all my photos, as well as other tips and tricks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  20. Profile photo of kathermans kathermans

    I’ve been muddling along in previous versions of LR for a while but this course was really useful to pick up some tips, faster ways to do things and, some of those things you might have been doing not quite right all this time. Clearly explained and humorous. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  21. Profile photo of David Adler David Adler

    This was nearly as perfect an intro to the Library module that I could ask for, and leaves me delighted to have signed up for Kelby training.

    The ONLY question I had was whether you would recommend only one catalog, vs. what circumstances might warrant multiple catalogs–pros and cons, etc. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  22. Profile photo of Sundra Tanakoh Sundra Tanakoh

    I had been using Aperture for years and found it to do much, but opted to go back to PS before CS6 came out and I picked up LR4. I was comfortably confused with LR4. I knew I could do everything I had done in Aperture and a little more but it was a foreign to me as a monkey learning Physics (monkeys have problems counting)

    Matt, your presentation was more than excellent. Your style and patience made LR4 simple to understand and use, and I will watch the other classes just because I know I will learn from you. Thanks for one fine course!!!

    Now I need to go back to relearn PS(CS6) because I have been on vacation from PS since CS4 came out. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  23. Profile photo of rhgillan rhgillan

    Excellent course – thanks Matt! Took me through everything I needed to know (and refreshed the bits I already knew) to make a seamless upgrade from LR3 to 4. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  24. Profile photo of Jim Mitchell Jim Mitchell

    Outstanding job man thanks a lot once again. I thought breaking it up into small videos like it was very effective, and it was phrased in such a way that anybody could understand it
    Jim Mitchell
    —- Yes, please post my feedback

  25. Profile photo of Brian Teddy Brian Teddy

    Absolutely the best Lightroom instruction on the Web! For anyone new to Lightroom, this is a must see. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  26. Profile photo of Thomas Helinski Thomas Helinski

    Matts tutorials on the Lightroom 4 features are outstanding for a “newbie” like me. First, everything stated in plain english; second, you can see the “clicks” and menus he uses to access the appropriate features; third, the moving/import/export lessons are just what I needed as I was lost (not shamed to admit it!) and the organizing into collections has really helped me started to GET ORGANIZED for the first time. Thanks, Matt – lessons really easy to follow and the duration of 2-7 minutes per lesson covers my attention span and ability to absorb perfectly. /Tom —- Yes, please post my feedback

  27. Profile photo of Catherine Gilleland Catherine Gilleland

    As someone who does not own Lightroom (but some of my students do), I was pleasantly surprised to find that I found the videos very enjoyable! The presentation was clear and concise, with just the right amount of humor. Matt always does a good job of teaching, but to hold the interest of someone who doesn’t even use the software is quite an accomplishment! Great job! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  28. Profile photo of pinoy pinoy

    I am learning more than by reading books tutorials! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  29. Profile photo of georgehd georgehd

    Matt, good intro. I note that you put your LR catalogue on your computer. I put mine on the most recent external hard drive that I carry with me. (I have other external drives with earlier images but all are stored in the same catalogue). In that way I always have my catalogue with me both desk top and lap top. When I travel, I take the most recent external drive and therefore have access to my catalogue. Note unless I take the older external drives, I DO NOT have access to my older images. But that does not bother me. Note again, that I have only one catalogue. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  30. Profile photo of Dan Topham Dan Topham

    Of all my problems creating an organized photo Library, I am glad to say Matt has solved most of them in these video lessons. These are truly a very in depth view of Lightroom and well presented. Thanks for your efforts. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  31. Profile photo of John White John White

    Matt did a GREAT job on the new LR4 videos! I would like to see a video on LR4 and tethered shooting.


  32. Profile photo of Leonard Coyle Leonard Coyle

    I should have watched all the lessons before commenting. I understand now your comment about not using dates to organize your folders. After I import to folders based on date, I then rename them. “Photos\2012\2012-03-04\” becomes “Photos\2012\2012-03-04/Birthday Party\”. Once upon a time that might pose a problem with the “Name” of the file being to long for the operating system to handle. I haven’t run in to that in quite awhile. I assume that is of little or no concern now?
    Thanks for an informative and entertaining video as usual. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  33. Profile photo of Leonard Coyle Leonard Coyle

    I would like you to expand on the “Crazyness that happens” if you import to folders based on date instead of to one folder. Of course everybody is different, but I like to import to folders based on date. I am curious as to what I may be overlooking as a potential problem down the road.

    Thanks. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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