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Lightroom: Delete Images on Card after Import

28 Votes
Engaged ,
Jun 03, 2011 Jun 03, 2011

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I would love to get an option to let LR automatically delete images from the card after they have been successfully imported. Images on the card that have not been imported, are let alone, of course.

It would serve two purposes for me:
1. It would save me deleting the images manually.
2. It would dramatically improve the experience of importing images from one card into different catalogs.

An incremental import of subsets of images on one card into a single catalog (but e.g., different folders) is well supported by the "New Photos" filter in the import dialog. However, when I switch catalogs while downloading images from a card -- because some subset of images on the card needs to go into a different catalog -- the "New Photos" filter no longer works. As a result, I have to remember and wade through a lot of images I already imported into a different catalog.

I realise that deleting images from the card is a sensitive issue. It must not happen prior to having verified that the image indeed has been copied (or converted) to a new location. Picasa supports this double checking.

As a safety net, Lightroom could offer a "restore deleted images" feature that would resurrect deleted files from cards. Users will find such a feature tremendously useful for other occasions as well.

I'd be happy with the following compromises as well:

* The option to delete images after import is available only if one activates a second backup location.

* Images are not deleted but the tracking of which images have already been imported is extended to work across catalogs. A record of what images still need to be imported could be associated with a currently inserted card.
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106 Comments
LEGEND ,
Jun 03, 2011 Jun 03, 2011

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Hi TK,

It never ceases to amaze me the different needs people have around importing. I created a related thread to support import actions, so people can take advantage of Lightroom's import infrastructure, but have hooks for special needs/desires. Deleting imported images could easily be one of those import actions.

In the mean time, you may want to consider an import plugin which does what you want. Please send me a private message if you want details.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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I could see a use for this, but with one huge proviso - I'd want byte-for-byte verification to go with it. Just confirming that a file had copied wouldn't confirm that corruption hadn't been introduced in the transfer.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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I'm completely against removing this important safeguard. No doubt we'll get a few jumping up and down demanding Adobe give them the silver cutlery to get on and play harakari, and I imagine some will find better reasons than fragmenting control of their workflow across multiple catalogues. The verification would have to pass nuclear industry standards, for what they are worth, before I'd even think it was a half-baked idea.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Ya gotta delete 'em at some point. After they've been imported and the backup validated seems like a pretty good time to delete them, to me. One man's important safeguard is another man's impediment...

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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He's only asking for an option John - nothing to force you to use it.

People have been asking for a long time for this one, and usually I'd agree that automatically deleting off the card is a bad idea, but people are working round it in far more risky ways.

IF there were reasonable verification safeguards in place, and it came with a suitable "I understand the risks" warning when you turned on the checkbox, then it's probably a safer workflow than the workarounds that people are currently using.

I do agree that multiple catalogs are often a bad idea though, and probably not a great reason for implementing this feature.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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@Victoria Nowt to do with whether I would have to use it, I simply don't consider it should be available as an option. Verification safeguards would have to be foolproof, not merely reasonable. Too bad if a few people are taking silly workarounds - LR devt time shouldn't go into helping people jump in front of trains.

Let Rob help 'em?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Ya know John, it really bugs me when you argue against things that other people want, that don't affect you, for their own good. Nobody wants you as their guardian, and people don't like having their needs (or their solutions) called "silly". Why don't you mind your own business?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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TK, I went ahead and voted for this FR/Idea for your sake and those of others with similar needs/desires, even though I don't care about it one way or the other for my own sake...

I'm willing to let you cross the train track as long as there's no train coming, and your shoes are tied, and you promise to be very careful...

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Noise, noise, noise...

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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To me, the problem with 'options' is that some users will inevitably check the option without realising what they are doing (how often do we have to deal with the 'Help, my presets have disappeared' posts?). That example is relatively easy to fix, although depressingly frequent.....getting this one wrong could have far worse consequences. Lightroom isn't just for power-users (though a casual visitor here could be forgiven for making that assumption), and I strongly suspect that if this option were to be made available some less careful or experienced users will end up losing irreplaceable photos. I'd just as soon not be the person to have to tell them that.

I'm with John on this.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Fair point, Victoria.

Note however, that most users wouldn't do this either, before they delete the images on the card manually.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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John, Jim, can you please tell me how such an option increases the risk for a user to lose images?

What is the normal procedure after images have been imported into Lightroom?

Are you telling me that you are assuming that all users currently run a byte for byte comparison before they manually delete the images from the card?

I argue that currently the chances of losing images is *higher* because you might manually delete some images on the card which haven't been imported yet. An automated deletion process should *reduce* the risk, not increase it.

What is the safe procedure that would be undermined if that option became available?
The only advantage for the current situation is that Adobe / you could say "Lightroom didn't delete your images, you did". But I don't see the increased safety.

If you are saying users are too dumb/tired to be allowed to tick that option, you should really deny users to remove / delete images in Lightroom by any means. Deleting an image from within Lightroom can lead to its permanent loss. Are you for removing this feature as well?

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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John, if you don't understand the advantages of using multiple catalogs that's fine. I would appreciate, however, if you wouldn't denigrate the ideas of others just because you fail to see the benefit. I'm happy to explain the advantages to you but your overall negative tone makes it hard to believe that you are open for such a discussion.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Jim, please see my latest post below. I kindly ask you to explain to me how users will lose irreplaceable photos, whether they choose the option intentionally or unintentionally.

I've used this option with Picasa all the time and never had a problem. There was no need for me to be a power user or extra careful to not have a problem.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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True, but can you imagine how many people would be quick to shout "Adobe deleted my images and they were corrupted"
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Sure, I fully see the issue. However, people have to accept responsibility. If they choose "Convert to DNG and delete the original RAW file" as an option during import, they could also shout "Adobe deleted my RAW originals and my DNGs are corrupted". Same issue, AFAIC.

Maybe, the issue becomes less of a problem, if the deletion doesn't happen automatically, but has to be triggered by the user through an "Delete all images on card from Previous Import".

I don't think this kind of hand holding should be necessary but I'd prefer this manual trigger over having to delete images manually.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Do you seriously not see the potential for a user to import from card, have the card cleaned, then have a problem on the computer which loses those imports? Or does something stupid to cause the loss of the imports? Plenty of examples over at lightroomforums.net of users having these kinds of issues, and their only recovery is to go back to the card and re-import. Oops!

As for the 'normal procedure after images have been imported into Lightroom', I would respectfully suggest there's no such thing. Plenty of different workflows in use: some good, some not so good, and some plain awful. Personally I do NOT reformat my cards until after I have imported (taking a second copy backup on import to an external drive), then got the imports and updated catalog into my normal backup process, which includes getting a copy off-site. Plenty of different approaches, for sure, but deleting the images from the card during import just seems like asking for trouble.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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TK, whoever you may be, I couldn't care less about your fragmenting of your workflow into multiple catalogues but drew attention to it as a novel justification for what is a dumb idea for LR. I don't argue against it to be wantonly negative (and who the f are you to question my motives, or I yours?) but simply because the idea is detrimental to LR. If you can't take straight answers....

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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You drew attention to my justification in a denigrating way. You might consider that just because you fail to see advantages there might still be some. I can take straight responses, no problem. I, however, reject the notion that you are the only one who knows what is good and bad for Lightroom. You have a tendency to phrase your views in such absolute terms that they come across as "the truth" and anyone disagreeing obviously is clueless about Lightroom.

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Jim, what is that problem that causes users to lose the import? It would have to delete files on a harddisk. If something like this happens all bets are off. no? Such a problem could affect files on a card as well.

Do you have a concrete link to a lightroomforums.net thread were images on the card where the only way of recovering lost images?

When users do something stupid do cause the loss of their imports, they'll be able to do that later as well, when they don't have the card as a backup anymore.

We might agree that my proposal would improve some of the plain awful workflows that exist.

We might agree that anyone who currently has a better workflow is smart enough not to touch the option and/or understand the warning dialog.

Note also, that you can let Lightroom not only import images but have it create a backup before it deletes the images from the card. If anything happened to the imported images, one would have the backup as a fallback option. No need for the images to be still on the card.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Maybe I should just sound as if I don't know what I think? 😉

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Engaged ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Between import and first backup cycle the newly imported files are vulnerable: software corruptions, catastrophic hardware failures, or plain and simple user error. Take your pick, we've seen them all. Because of that vulnerability I maintain that it makes no sense at all to give an unsuspecting user the ability to take away his/her ultimate fall-back. That is my opinion, you can disagree all you want but it isn't going to change that.

Do I have concrete links to a lightroomforums.net thread....not easily to hand, but there are threads over there that I have participated in where the card was the only recourse...you are more than welcome to come over and trawl through my posts looking for them. Or you could just take my word.

Thank you for your final 'note', though I did actually state in my earlier post that I use that facility every time I import. Yes it offers some protection, but still not sufficient in my view to justify wiping the card during import.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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> When users do something stupid do cause the loss of their imports, they'll be able to do that later as well, when they don't have the card as a backup anymore.

It's not necessarily the users that are the issue. One of the most frequent causes of file corruption is a faulty card reader or cable. If the photos are imported, and then you realise there's corruption, often the photos are still on the card and can be pulled off safely using another card reader.

There are certainly arguments both ways, and it's up to Adobe to make the final decision having heard the pleas from both sides.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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Please keep this a positive respectful debate guys.
-------------------------------------
The Lightroom Queen - Author of Adobe Lightroom Classic - The Missing FAQ and Adobe Lightroom - Edit Like a Pro books.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2011 Jun 04, 2011

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John - sounding as if you know what you think is not a problem, but sounding as if you speak for all that is sensible Lightroom-wise is. And voicing your opinion in a fashion that seems denigrating to other people's needs/desires fosters negativity and is disrespectful, whether that is your intention or not. Check your attitude man...

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