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How to Transfer Mobile Photos to Lightroom using Dropbox

If you’re like me, you probably take a lot of photos and video with your mobile phone. The images I get with my iPhone are what I call my “memory” images; they’re not always the most pretty, but they document and record the things that are most important to me. Because of this, I want to make sure that I save these photos on my Drobo, where I know they will be safe and secure from hard-drive failure. Here is how I regularly import my iPhone images to Lightroom.

1. Create an account with Dropbox (or file-storing cloud service of your choice)

In order for this to work, you will need to have an account with a cloud-based file storing system that allows you to access the files in a file-browser on your computer (I prefer to use Dropbox and will be showing how to use this service throughout this article). Oftentimes the free versions of these services should work, depending on how many photos you will leave “in the cloud” before they are transferred over to Lightroom.

2. Install the desktop software from Dropbox

Next, download the Dropbox software to your computer, and log-in to the application once it is installed. Make sure that this app is opened all the time on your computer to ensure your photos are regularly backed up to Lightroom!

3. Install the Dropbox app to your mobile device

Go to the App store on your mobile device and download the Dropbox app. Open it up and log in to your account.

4. Turn on the “Camera Uploads” feature in the Dropbox app on your mobile device

In order for this to work, you will need to enable the “Camera Uploads” feature, so that the photos you take on your phone automatically get uploaded to Dropbox. In the Dropbox app, this is under “Settings > Camera uploads”. I would also recommend not enable the “Use Cellular Data” option, or it will use your data (and not only Wi-Fi) to upload photos and videos.

5. Set up “Auto Import” in Lightroom

Next, open up Lightroom on your computer and go to “File > Auto Import > Auto Import Settings“. Here you will set the following:

  • Watched Folder: This is the folder in Dropbox where your images are saved on your computer. As you can see in the example image, it should be User/username/Dropbox/Camera Uploads.
  • Destination: This is the folder on your computer (or Drobo) where the new images will be stored.
  • File Naming: Give your iPhone images a name (you can customize this to whatever you like).
  • Information: This is metadata you can add to your images, similar to what you would find in the Import window.

Then, place a check in the box at the top that says “Enable Auto Import”. Once your photos have uploaded to Dropbox they will start to appear in Lightroom! You will need to open the Dropbox app every so often for the photos to upload to the “Camera Uploads” folder; I find myself doing this every day or so to keep them updated on a regular basis.

6. Back up the photos to keep them safe!

My entire Lightroom catalog is on my Drobo, where I know that they will stay safe and sound. Because my photos are my life and livelihood, it’s important to me to put them somewhere where they will not “disappear” if there is a hard-drive failure.

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