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Ideas about supporting LrC users with little IT know how

Explorer ,
May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024

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I worked in computing for 40 years so had no issues when photography went digital. Landscape photography was a great hobby for us happy loners. However, when I moved to a small town, I joined the local camera club to meet other photgraphers. I have gradually learnt that almost all them have no real idea how computers work. Windows users grudgingly acknowledge this and most macOS users are fiercly proud of it.

I recently learnt that most of my club colleagues believed that the Lightroom "Import" function was literally importing their original files into the Catalog. Being IT aware, I understood what was happening when I read the early version user manuals. Most of these people are younger and learning it the 21st century way, 'guess and try'. So its understandable that they took the word "Import" on face value. This has contributed to 3 of them probably losing years worth of image files, if they can't be recovered from faulty laptops by the local repair guy, who it seems doesn't know much about LrC or raw files either. 

Request: How about being a lot clearer in the help info about what is really happening and perhaps changing the name of the fuction from the misleading Import, to something 'Connect Files'?

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Guide ,
May 28, 2024 May 28, 2024

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That would be a bad idea, leaving the user potentially thinking that the files could stay in their original location. Not good at all if they are still on the card and haven't been already copied to the desired location on a drive.

 

Ken Seals - Nikon Z 9, Z 8, 14mm-800mm. Computer Win 11 Pro, I7-8700K, 64GB, RTX3070TI. Travel machine: 2021 MacBook Pro M1 MAX 64GB. All Adobe apps.

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LEGEND ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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What is not clear? From the Adobe Lightroom Classic help:

 

When you import photos into Lightroom Classic, you create a link between the photo itself and the record of the photo in the catalog. In the case of importing from a camera or card reader, Lightroom Classic copies the photos to your hard drive and adds the links to the photos in the catalog.

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/help/importing-photos-lightroom-basic-workflow.html

 

And then this:

 

Where are my images and catalog located?

See Open a file in Explorer or Finder to learn about where your images are saved. Do note that your images are not stored in the Lightroom Classic app.

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom-classic/kb/catalog-faq-lightroom.html

 

But anyway, suppose you (or someone) replaces these words with different words, and everyone agrees that this is 100% clear and there can be no mistaking the meaning, there's still nothing to force users to read it, and nothing to force users to even put a minute amount of thought into understanding this aspect of the software. And this by the way isn't a Lightroom Classic problem, it is true for almost all software — some people don't read the documentation, they just jump right in and start using the software, and they muck things up.

 

I don't really have a solution. I doubt that renaming Import would have the desired effect.

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Engaged ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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In regard to your comment about non technical users losing years of data - which as you say is not as uncommon as it should be - this is also referenced on the LrC Backup panel upon exit as well

Califdan2_0-1717008643465.png

 

I can see perhaps making this sentance stand out a bit more (larger font in red) and maybe add something like "Be sure to backup your photos as well as they are not included in this backup" to the sentance.   

 

But, I might also argue that anyone using a computer should understand that it is a machine, and machines break from time to time.  And that the antidote for a lost/broken/stolen machine is a backup.  This is no different than assuming that anyone who owns and drives a car should understand that some day the car may be stolen or may be involved in an accident and therefore they need to have insurance.   In some states you have to prove you have insurance to register the car or get a drivers license. 

 

However, the old adage "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" holds true, as many people know that they should have backups but never bother to actually do it.  They say,  "Too busy, maybe next week"  or "after I clean up all my folders" or "I meant to, just never got around to it".   More bad them.   

 

Apple and Microsoft have tried to help with things like Time Machine being turned on by default (but only for the internal drive) and Microsoft puts all the user files on the C drive into OneDrive by default both of which save some folks from themselves.   But I still make money from folks who ignore the risk either out of ignorance or arrogance and wind up regretting it.

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Community Expert ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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quote

I have gradually learnt that almost all them have no real idea how computers work. Windows users grudgingly acknowledge this and most macOS users are fiercly proud of it.


By @Jeremyau

 

I kind of get the OP's point, very succinctly put above.

 

But I don't think the Import dialog terminology is the problem. Whatever you call it (and "connect" is even worse), lots of people are convinced their photos are "in" Lightroom. The catalog concept itself seems to be what they can't get their heads around.  Or they don't care.

 

It's not just Lightroom. After Photoshop got the infamous "home screen", in effect a miniature catalog, we see the same there. I'm sometimes shocked at how so many users have absolutely no idea where they're saving their files.

 

But while I think the OP's description is basically correct, I'm not sure if it's really Adobe's responsibility. I'm inclined to think not. Adobe's responsibility is to make this professional-grade software as efficient as possible. Sometimes people just have to take responsibility themselves.

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Community Expert ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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(Note: I actually meant for this reply to be under the original post.)

 

I think it’s a good idea to reconsider the term “Import” which has bothered me for a long time, but I assumed it was so ingrained that there would be little support for changing it. But if it could be changed, maybe it should be changed to a word like “Ingest”. That word is used by Photo Mechanic and in video editing.

 

Ultimately, it needs to convey the notion that you are entering paths to photos into a database, not copying the actual photos into the database which is what Import makes people think of.

 

Is the word “Import” an Adobe-specific quirk? Maybe not. Adobe Bridge has a similar function, but the name of that command is not Import, it’s File > Get Photos from Camera. Maybe that would be a better name, but it’s too long for a button. So I still like “Ingest” better. 

 

Also supporting the idea that this not just an Adobe thing, it’s possible that Lightroom called it “Import” because the original competition for Lightroom 1.0 was Apple Aperture. I looked up the documentation for Aperture, and guess what: They also called it Import. So maybe the original Lightroom team thought they should make it familiar to Aperture users. (Aperture could also import by reference, not actually copying photos into its database.)

 

Apple-Aperture-Import-docs.jpg

 

Another precedent might be Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects, which both existed for more than a decade before Lightroom, Bridge, or Aperture. Those apps both use File > Import as the command for adding paths to referenced media, not copying actual media files into a project. This last example is interesting: The use of the word “Import” when files are not actually embedded goes back so far and so widely, that it is possible that it is too much of a precedent for one app to change, so that the real job is to educate users that for over 30 years, across many apps, Import has not always meant “copying the file to embed it in the project, and in fact in many apps it does mean ‘add a path-based reference to the file’ .”

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Community Expert ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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Like others, I don't think that 'Connect Files' is the answer. However, I have suggested to Adobe a long time ago that perhaps the default location of the imported images should be an "Original Images" folder, that is located inside the catalog folder. That way the images are indeed "in" Lightroom if you consider the catalog folder as "Lightroom". Of course it would still be possible to store them elsewhere if you want to. By the way: this is what Lightroom does when you export images as catalog and include the negative files. It has the additional benefit that the images do not get 'missing' if the catalog folder is moved to another location, even if it is moved from Mac to Windows or vice versa.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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Engaged ,
May 29, 2024 May 29, 2024

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Of course if the images were (by default) shunted into the catalogs' folder, then when the default drive housing this folder (...Pictures ->Lightroom) gets full as it almost always does when folks store RAW images on the C (Internal), drive and the user ports the whole folder over to a new EHD - the catalog winds up on a slow drive.

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Community Expert ,
May 30, 2024 May 30, 2024

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Of course if the images were (by default) shunted into the catalogs' folder, then when the default drive housing this folder (...Pictures ->Lightroom) gets full as it almost always does when folks store RAW images on the C (Internal), drive and the user ports the whole folder over to a new EHD - the catalog winds up on a slow drive.


By @Califdan2

 

No, of course not! This is just the default at startup, everything else remains the same. If the image folder gets too large, then the user would move the "Original images" folder to another drive, not the entire catalog folder. Lightroom Classic could tell them how, or even make that a semi automated process. We are talking about new and casual users here. The same people who now use a very similar setup when they use Apple Photos. The Photos Library is basically the same as a Lightroom Classic catalog with the images inside the catalog folder and the folder disguised as a file because it is a 'package'. The only difference is that Apple offers the option to offload those photos to iCloud if local disk space is running low.

 

-- Johan W. Elzenga

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