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Jeffrey’s “Folder Watch” Lightroom Plugin

This plugin is a feature-rich alternative (or supplement) to Lightroom's built-in tethering and Auto Import, and also attempts to make up for Lightroom's lack of an auto-export facility. It allows you to run a continuous scan of select folders on your hard disk in the background, automatically importing new images in place, or first moving/renaming if you like.

It can scan an individual folder, a list of folders, or whole trees of folders.

It also allows for automatic processing of imported images, and also automatic export, creating a fully-automatic end-to-end processing system.

As a special case to enhance Lightroom's built-in tethering, it can apply special processing to images that have been recently added to Lightroom.

This plugin works in Lightroom 5 (and older versions as far back as Lightroom 2, though some features depend on the version of Lightroom).

The same download works for both Windows and Mac. See the box to the upper right for the download link (in orange) and installation instructions.

Configuration and Use

The plugin is configured in the Plugin Manager:
The dialog shown is as of version 20140721.82; the current version of the plugin is 20140802.85.

When the Enable Scan checkbox is checked, the scan runs continuously, even after the Plugin Manager has been dismissed.

Scan-Related Configuration Items

Folders to watch  —  A comma-separated list of folders the plugin should scan for new images.

See the Common Scenarios section for guidance here.

Also watch subfolders  —  If checked, the scan also descends into all subfolders of the folders listed.

Frequency to check  —  The scan takes some of your computer's resources, so it's not prudent to have it scanning nonstop, so this indicates how long of a pause should be made between scans.

New images only  —  If checked, images found in the first scan are not imported. This is perhaps useful when tethering and are interested only in new images going forward.

File size to consider  —  A sanity check to avoid too-big or too-small images.

File unmodified for  —  If the plugin were to try to import a file as it was being written to disk, Lightroom would get only a partial file, resulting in errors. To help avoid this, the plugin waits until the image file hasn't been updated for some time, in hopes that doing so will ensure the write has fully completed.

Read-only images only  —  Enabling this has the plugin ignore writeable files, considering only read-only files. The lock image feature on some cameras can result in a read-only file on disk.

Special tether support  —  This special option is explained below.

Move/Rename Configuration Items   

When a file is about to be imported, you can have the plugin move it to a specific target folder, and rename it as well.

Moving

If you enable the file-move option, the plugin moves images it finds into the root folder you specify. This is done prior to import into Lightroom.

Optionally, you can have the image moved to a sub-folder named for the watched folder (Pictures in the screenshot example above).

For example, if you have the plugin watch folders named Main Shooter, Sub Shooter 1, and Sub Shooter 2, enabling this option would have images moved to the appropriate sub-folder (Main Shooter, Sub Shooter 1, or Sub Shooter 2) of the destination folder you specified.

Additionally, you can have the plugin preserve any folder structure found under the watched folder, replicating it in the target folder.

Renaming

The rename to field accepts generic non-photo-specific preset template tokens. (The rename happens prior to the import, so the plugin doesn't have easy access to image metadata). {Filename} and related items are available, as are the current-date/time items.

For example, a rename to value of {yyyy}-{dd}-{mm}/{Filename} has new images moved to a date-based sub folder within the move-to folder. (But take care: the date is the date of the move, not the image capture date.)

Or, you might use a rename to value of {yyyy}{dd}{mm}-{hh}{min}{ss}-{Filename} to prefix the current date/time to the image filename, and then place it within the move-to folder.

The plugin always ensures that the file extension remains the same across any move or rename, so you don't have to worry whether you specify a file extension in the rename to field.

You can specify that filenames should be rewritten to a sequence by including ### in the filename, using as many # as you want digits in the sequence. For example, you might use photo#### to have your files named photo0001.jpg, photo0002.DNG, etc. (the file extension will be maintained from the original file on a per-image basis). It's a pretty smart sequencing system, and always picks up from the filename with the highest number in the # location.

The plugin will never overwrite a previously-existing file; conflicts are resolved via renaming as with photo-2.jpg, photo-3.jpg, etc.

Import-Related Configuration Items   

Show splash dialog  —  If you want to be alerted when an image is auto-imported, enabling this has a small dialog pop up for a few seconds. This can be useful particularly when Switch to photo is enabled and you intend to be using Lightroom interactively, to avoid keystrokes suddenly going to the new photo.

Apply develop preset  —  A develop preset you've previously saved can be automatically applied.

Apply metadata preset  —  Same with a metadata preset.

Add keyword  —  A keyword can be automatically added.

Set star rating  —  You can set the star rating.

Set color label  —  And the color-label text (which can be one of the defaults like red, or anything else you like). Once you've got something typed in the text field, the checkbox can be checked.

Set title  —  The image title can be set. You can use template tokens for dynamic text, e.g. Copyright {YYYY}.

Set caption  —  The image caption can be set, here also with template tokens.

Switch to photo  —  If enabled, upon each import Lightroom will switch to the Library view for the new photo's folder, and the new photo will be selected.

If you happen to be typing something into Lightroom when this suddenly happens, what you type will be taken as keyboard-shortcut commands for Library, which could be very bad, so enable the Show splash dialog option if you'll be using Lightroom interactively while the scan runs in the background. The splash dialog kills the keyboard input, giving you a few free seconds to realize what's happening and to stop typing.

Build Smart Preview  —  The Smart Preview can be made automatically.

Add to standard collection  —  Newly-imported photos can be added to one of your library's collections. This can be useful for many things, including automatically sending imported images to the web or your iPad via Lightroom mobile.

Add to Publish collection  —  Newly-imported photos can be added to a Publish collection.

Publish this collection  —  A specific publish collection can be automatically published with each new import, or, optionally via the also publish other collections in its Publish Service checkbox, all collections within the publish service are published.

This option is distinct from the Add to Publish collection because that option works only with non-Smart publish collections, but you may well have a smart collection that you want to publish automatically.

You can choose any publish service for each of the last two options. Choosing an uploader service (such as to Flickr, PicasaWeb (G+), or Tumblr, among many others) can allow for automated from-camera-to-the-web processing.

Alternatively, for local output (or to Dropbox, network disk, etc.), perhaps consider my Folder Publisher and Collection Publisher plugins. Publish Services from other developers should work fine too.

Special Tether Support  —  this option is discussed in the next section.

Special Support for Lightroom's Tethering

Tether support was added in version 20140721.82 (July 21, 2014), and should be considered beta.

This plugin main purpose is as a replacement for Lightroom's integrated tethering support, because Lightroom's tethering offers very little in the way of advanced workflow support.

As such, the plugin's main purpose is to find image files that have not yet been added to the current Lightroom catalog, import them into the catalog, then apply the various workflow support features selected by the user, such as setting a develop preset or adding to a publish collection. In this context, it's presumed that one uses some third-party solution to get the image files to appear on your disk, such as third-party tethering software, Dropbox or the like, an FTP server, or even an Eye-Fi memory card.

However, the plugin does offer a way to work with Lightroom's integrated tethering support, to perform the aforementioned apply the various workflow support features selected by the user step on files that found their way into Lightroom apart from the plugin (presumably via tethering) since the plugin started its scan.

To use this special support, have the plugin watch the same folder that Lightroom's tethering support is depositing files, and turn on the

Enable the Upon Import of a New Image processing for all relevant newly-added images

option in the plugin. Then start the plugin scan, and then start your tethering.

When you start the plugin scan, the plugin will first take the time to note what images under the watched folders are already in Lightroom. Since they're in there before the scan and tethering starts, the plugin knows not to touch them later. (If the plugin didn't ignore pre-existing Lightroom photos in this way, it would apply all the after-import processing to all the images, every time, which could lead to disaster.)

Then the plugin will scan the folders as often as you've told it. If you're using Lightroom's tethering, new files that the plugin comes across will likely already be in Lightroom (having been imported by the tethering unit at the same time it created the image file), but it's perhaps important to remember that any time the plugin finds a file that is not already in Lightroom, it'll import it into Lightroom and perform the after-import steps.

Anyway, what'll happen if you're using tethering is that the plugin will find the new file is already in Lightroom. It'll check against the list of photos it made when it started its scan, and realize that indeed the photo is new since the scan started, and because this special tethering-support option has been enabled in the plugin, the plugin will go ahead and apply the after-import selections such as applying a develop preset or adding to a publish collection.

This is the only situation in which the plugin processes an image that it didn't itself import.

In this scenario, an image can exist be added to Lightroom by the tethering unit and sit there for some time before the plugin gets around to the after-import processing. How long depends on the frequency to check setting, how much scanning the plugin has to do (few files or logs?), and the timing of the tethering with respect to the scan.

Common Scenarios

The plugin can scan folders that are not part of your Lightroom catalog, folders that are part of your Lightroom catalog, or both. It can move/rename files or not, as you see fit. People use the features of this plugin in all kinds of crazy combination, but here are there common scenarios to consider:

  1. Using a drop-off folder outside of Lightroom

    If you have a third-party application depositing files to a drop-off folder (or a drop-off folder that's getting new image files somehow, such as a Dropbox folder being fed externally), you can watch that folder with this plugin, and use the plugin's file-moving options to shuffle the files into a folder that Lightroom knows about. The plugin will then add the image to Lightroom.

    In this scenario, the drop-off folder is generally empty except for when a fresh file has been deposited but not yet processed by the plugin. This is the most efficient scenario.

  2. Feeding a Lightroom folder with a third-party application

    This scenario is similar to the one above, except the folder that new image files are deposited into (via the third-party app, Dropbox, etc.) is already a folder that Lightroom knows about. In this case, you'd probably not want to use the plugin's move/rename options, but just have the plugin scan a folder that Lightroom knows about, adding new files to the Lightroom catalog in place.

    In this scenario, the plugin is acting like an automatic (and richly-featured) Synchronize Folder replacement.

    Because files are not shuffled out of the watched folder, this scenario can become inefficient as the number of images in the watched folder becomes large. One does not generally want to apply this scenario to the entire Lightroom folder hierarchy, or any hierarchy with more than a few thousand photos, because the scan time could get inconveniently long.

  3. Feeding a Lightroom folder via Lightroom's tethering or auto-import features

    This scenario is similar to the second one in that the plugin watches a folder that Lightroom already knows about, but it differs from the other scenarios in that it can work with photos that are added to Lightroom via Lightroom's tethering or auto-import features. Normally, this plugin completely ignores any image that it doesn't add to Lightroom itself.

    This special scenario is available only when explicitly enabled via the option described in the section on tethering. In this scenario, files found during the scan to have been added to Lightroom (by something other than the plugin) since the plugin's scan started are not ignored, but instead get the after-import processing configured in the plugin.

    This can be useful with tethering to do additional processing that Lightroom's tethering doesn't allow, such as adding a photo to a collection or exporting via Publish.

    This scenario is more resource-intensive than the scenario above, so you probably don't want to apply it to a folder with more than a few thousand images (though trial and error will show you if/when things begin to bog down).

The three scenarios are not mutually exclusive... it's possible to have them all apply at the same time (though such a need would be quite esoteric, I'd think). Anyway, they're just common use cases; once you learn what the plugin can do, you can apply it to your needs as you see fit.

Note that regardless of the scenario, there's a special case built in to the scanning: any subfolder named picasaoriginals is ignored. Such folders are a byproduct of Google's Picasa software.

Availability

This plugin is distributed as “donationware”. I have chosen to make it available for free — everyone can use it forever, without cost of any kind — but unless registered, its functionality is somewhat reduced after six weeks.

Registration is done via PayPal, and if you choose to register, it costs the minimum 1-cent PayPal fee; any amount you'd like to add beyond PayPal's sliding fees as a gift to me is completely optional, and completely appreciated.

Note: a Lightroom major upgrade, such as from Lr4 to Lr5, de-registers the plugin in the upgraded version, so if you want to maintain registration, a new ($0.01 if you like) registration code is needed in the upgraded version. It makes for a hassle every couple of years, I know. Sorry. See this note for details.

For details on plugin registration and on how I came into this hobby of Lightroom plugin development, see my Plugin Registration page.

Version History
( Update Log via RSS )

20140802.85

Made the {GPSAltitude}, {Altitude}, and {GPSCoordinates} tokens subject to the geo-privacy settings like the other geo-related tokens.

20140731.84 Registration fix for Lr5.6
20140729.83 Previous updates broke support on Lightroom 2
20140721.82

Note: if upgrading from a previous version, you may have to restart Lightroom to enable plugin the first time after the upgrade.

New support to process items already imported into Lightroom, to allow automatic processing/export of images brought in via Lightroom's built-in tethering.

Various bug fixes and lots of UI enhancements.

20140720.81

Add the ability to add to any collection upon import.

More Creative-Cloud support.

20140718.80 Using a {LUA} token in the file-renaming template caused a crash.
20140715.79

When moving an image from a watched folder, you can now preserve the name of the watched folder in the move destination, and also preserve in the move destination any folder structure that had been in the target folder hierarchy.

Plugin wasn't recognizing the existence of a re-created "folders to watch" target if the name didn't change.

Fixed an issue with Creative-Cloud revalidation.

20140712.78

Lr5.5 and later Creative-Cloud installs can now revalidate themselves if needed.

20140710.77 Sigh, had a bug in the Creative-Cloud support.
20140708.76

Now supports Lr5.5+ Creative-Cloud Installs.

20140704.75 Sigh, introduced an error for some folks with the rebuild the other day.
20140630.74 Build-system update
20140613.73

Added date_diff() and raw_time_diff() functions to the special {LUA} token understood by the plugin.

20140509.72

Added new tokens to the template language the plugin understands: LrVersion, LrVersionMajor, LrVersionMinor, LrVersionRevision, LrVersionBuild, Location, CatalogName, CatalogPath, OperatingSystem, OS

Added new token filters: NS and LO

20140423.71 Fix a location-related template-token bug introduced in a recent build.
20140422.70

Fixed a bug in the "smoother revalidation" stuff recently added.

20140417.69

The {Empty} template token wasn't working properly.

Make the revalidation process smoother, especially for folks using Lr5.4 and later.

20140330.68

Enabled the ability to import only files marked readonly in the file system, to target images that have been "locked/saved" in camera.

Enabled the ability to include/exclude specific filename patterns.

20140128.67

Disable the "enable" checkbox if a folder to scan hasn't yet been selected.

20140123.66

Fixed an "invalid option '%_' to 'format'" crash.

Turned off most debug logging if the "enhanced debug logging" option in the Plugin Manager is not enabled.

20140122.65

While writing the docs for the new file move/rename feature, I came up with a great(?) way to automatically do sequences. You can now rename to something like "photo-###" to have a sequence number filled in (in this case, a three-digit sequence number).

20140122.64

Fix a bug that would cause certain folder trees to be ignored in certain situations on OSX(!)

Added a move/rename feature.

Moved the status text next to the "enable" checkbox, and made the status text more clear and verbose. Added a countdown timer for the next scan.

20140121.63 Added more debug logging to track down why some scans don't seem to be happening.
20140112.62

Ignore corrupt develop presets instead of crashing due to them.

20140112.61

On OSX, don't consider files/folders whose name begins with a dot (which is the traditional Unix way to mark certain kinds of system-support files that should normally be hidden).

Wasn't properly skipping the "picasaoriginals" folder; is now.

20131112.60 Bumped up the maximum file size to import to 20 gig.
20131001.59

Fixed that plugin could fail to work when Lightroom started in "Select Catalog" mode.

UI was a bit cramped on Lr4 and earlier.

Add a warning note if a file is skipped because it's too new or dated in the future, just to alert you in case you didn't know. Could be useful if clocks are not synchronized between computers and/or cameras. Adjusted logic for determining these things.

20130926.58 Oops, fix a bug introduced in the previous update
20130925.57

The 'Template Examples' dialog had been broken. Deprecated 'Folder' and 'Path' tokens in preference to 'FolderName' and 'FolderPath' tokens.

20130923.56

Added the ability to use template tokens when specifying a a title to apply to an imported image, and also added the ability to set the caption in the same way.

20130923.55

Added the ability to add imported photos to a Publish collection.

Added the ability to have a specific keyword added to imported photos. Might be useful for creating smart collections.

Added the ability, upon new import, to launch a Publish operation on a specific publish collection or service.

Rejiggered the UI.

20130901.54 Added the ability to automatically build a Smart Preview upon import.
20130614.53 Added a bunch more debug logging to try to track down a problem
20130613.52 Better support for plugin revalidation.
20130611.51 Yet another Lr5 update
20130524.50 Apparently, a recent change broke things on Lr2, which some folks apparently still use.
20130501.49 Update for Lr5
20130416.48 Watch for PNG as well (Lr5+)
20130412.47 Build system update.
20130328.46 Fix for the registration system.
20130306.45 More tweaks
20130304.44 Tweaks for per-catalog setting handling.
20130303.43 In Lr4, the "restart on launch" setting is saved per catalog.
20130209.42 More build-system maintenance
20130206.41 Tweak for my registration system
20130130.39

Added the ability to apply Develop and Metadata presets upon import.

Now can have imported photos added to an “Imported by jf Folder Watch Plugin” collection.

Dialog was getting crowded, so split the watch control from the plugin info.

20120913.38 Fixed a end-of-scan "bad argument #2" bug.
20120821.37

The plugin normally won't try to import a file that has been modified in the last five seconds, but now that five-second threshold is exposed as a setting. Also, on Windows, it won't try to import a file it can't read (because a file being filled by another process disallows us to read it.)

20120705.36

Added min/max filesize settings, so that files outside that range are simply ignored.

20120627.35

Ignore any folder with "picasaoriginals" in it.

Added the ability (in Lr3+) to switch directly to an image when it's imported.

20120608.34 Fix an "attempt to perform arithmetic on field" error.
20120521.33

Update to handle the Mac App Store version of Lightroom.

Don't try to re-import master images that Lightroom has a problem with (because they are corrupt, for example) unless the file actually changes. Upon error, report the full path along with the error.

20120520.32

Better report fundamental master-image-file errors that Lightroom encounters.

Tweak for Lr4.1RC2.

Enhanced the send-log dialog to hopefully make reports more meaningful to me, yielding, I hope, the ability to respond more sensibly to more reports.

20120330.31 Update to handle 4.1RC
20120309.30 Had broken registrations in Lr2; Update to the debug logging to better track down timing issues that might arise.
20120304.29 More prep for Lr4.
20120216.28 Added some extra debug logging, and more work for Lr4. Also end a current scan early if "watch" is disabled.
20120128.27

More on the march toward Lr4, including upheaval in the code to handle Lightroom APIs being discontinued in Lr4.

20120114.26 More tweaks for Lr4b
20120112.25

Update for Lr4 beta: explain in the plugin manager that the plugin can't be registered in the beta.

20111210.24

Had issues with the registration button sometimes not showing.

When doing a plugin upgrade, offer the ability to flush all the old copies of the plugin.

Added a system-clock check and reports to the user if the system clock is more than a minute out of date. An incorrect system clock can cause problems with various kinds of communication and authentication with some of my plugins, so I've just gone ahead and added this to every plugin.

20111020.23 Now imports video as well (ones that Lightroom supports), and tidied up the list of image file extensions to try to import to better match what Lightroom understands.
20110714.22 The remote-filesystem-time-is-off detection wasn't working when there were multiple folders to scan.
20110525.21 Some windows folders couldn't be scanned... think I've got it fixed now.
20110520.20 You can now select multiple folders to scan.
20101017.19 The whole display was getting cut off at the right sometimes.
20100829.18 Made the revalidation process much simpler, doing away with the silly need for a revalidation file.
20100820.17 Discovered a bug in my plugin build system that caused horribly difficult-to-track-down errors in one plugin, so am pushing out rebuilt versions of all plugins just in case.
20100815.16

Added all kinds of enhanced folder-scan logging when Enhanced Logging is turned on, to try to track down some issues.

The plugin now tries to detect and adjust for a remote file system having a different clock than the host system.

Added code to allow plugin revalidation after having been locked due to a bad Lightroom serial number.

20100625.15 Yikes, shaking out some more build issues.
20100624.14 Discovered a nasty build bug; pushing a new version in case it affects this plugin.
20100609.13

This version can be registered in Lightroom 3. It can run in Lightroom 2 or Lightroom 3; it does not work in the Lr3 betas.

It uses my new registration system when run on Lightroom 3, which avoids some of the silly issues of the old one. Please take care to note the details on the registration page: use of this version (or later) of the plugin in Lightroom 3 requires a new registration code, even if you had registered some older version of the plugin.

20100516.12 Update for the Lr3 beta.
20100315.11

Completely changed how the one-click upgrade applies the newly-downloaded zip file, in the hopes that it'll work for more people. Rather than unzipping over the old copy, it now unzips to a temporary folder, then moves the old folder out of the way and the new folder into place. Prior versions' folders are now maintained (with the version number in the folder) in case you want to revert a version; you may want to clear them out from time to time. Of course, it won't take affect until you try to upgrade after having upgraded to or beyond this version.

Wholesale changes that attempt to honor the user's locale settings for numeric display (e.g. Europeans writing 3,14156 for pi). I've probably missed some spots, so let me know if you find some.

Fixed up some UI confusion that happened sometimes if the plugin was not enabled and there was no valid folder to scan. A few other small UI cleanups, and a fix that caused the plugin to abort sometimes in LR3b

20100111.10 Re-import a scanned file if it has changed (size or create/modification date). Thus, if you move a file out of the scanned tree from within Lightroom and later add another file with the same name, it'll get imported. I also now report only the number of files scanned each time; folders are not included in the scan count.
20091221.9 Added some heuristics to avoid importing a file that's still being written to disk. Modification times reported to the plugin are a bit imprecise, but if an image file seems to be less than a second old, it is not imported.
20091205.8 Minor internal debugging tweaks.
20091022.7 Added a first draft of some rudimentary support for Lightroom 3 Beta. See this important note about plugin support in Lightroom 3 Beta and Lightroom 3, including future plans for features and my registration system.
20090714.6

Enhanced the one-click upgrade stuff quite a bit, now detecting ahead of time when it will fail because the plugin is installed where Lightroom can't write (if Lightroom can't write to it, it can't update itself). I also added a progress bar, and now download in smaller chunks to avoid 'out of memory' errors on the larger plugins. Do remember that this new functionality becomes available after you upgrade to or past this version, when you then upgrade with it.

20090521.5 Fixed a "loadstring" error some users got.
20090511.4 Now it quietly ignores images that Lightroom can't process. The failure is noted in the plugin log. (It's on the to-do list to expose an "activity log" where this event might be more readily accessible.)
20090510.3 Added a link in the Plugin Manager to the plugin's update-log RSS feed.
20090509.2

Added a "show splash dialog" option to the "upon import of a new image..." configuration, so that you can be informed when the plugin imports a new image in the background for you. You can configure whether the splash is shown, and if so, for how long before it automatically disappears. I've not tested this too much, so I don't know what problems it might cause having a background task (the folder watch plugin) throw up a splash dialog. It seems to work okay, except...

.. if a splash dialog pops up while you're painting local corrections, it'll do bad things to the current brush stroke, such that after dismissing the splash dialog, you'll have to undo the brush stroke you were working on and redo it.

I also realized one other caution: when the plugin imports a photo for you, that import action is added to the undo stack. This happens whether the import is accompanied by a splash dialog, or if it's totally silent in the background. The worry this creates is that if the import happens just before you do a bunch of undos, you may unwittingly undo back past the import and not even notice. The only option I see around this problem is even worse: having the import pop up a warning dialog that it's about to clear the undo stack, and then actually have it clear the undo stack. So, if this is a practical worry for you, enable the splash screen.

I also fixed the home-page url, and the folder-to-watch edit box, which would sometimes show only a partial folder path on a OSX. The report of overall session imports is now red when something's been imported this session.

It also turns out that if you reload the plugin, Lightroom doesn't completely do away with the previous instance, so it was possible to have multiple versions of the plugin running and not even know it. It's a big hairy mess, but I think I've worked around it in this version. The plugin also refuses to scan if it's not enabled.

I also added an option to restart the watch when Lightroom is started, so that you can have it running all the time. Along with that is an option to throw up a splash screen during Launch if the plugin has been set to scan at launch. You can use this to remind yourself that the thing is running.

20090428.1

First public version. Pretty rough at this point. Currently, everything is controlled from the Plugin Manager, which is probably not the best UI. Pick your folder to watch, the frequency with which to check, then click the "watch!" checkbox to turn it on. You can then leave the Plugin Manager and, most likely, open the target folder in Grid Mode (perhaps sorting to most-recent first).

Some random notes:

  • The plugin infrastructure does not allow plugins to do anything with develop or metadata presets, so the imports are plain vanilla.
  • You almost certainly never want to point this at a slow disk, or if you do, have it check very infrequently. Lightroom can seem to lock up momentarily when attempting to access some disks.
  • In the Plugin Manager, while a folder is being watched, keep an eye on the time reported in the "Scan Status". It's okay if the first scan takes a while, but if subsequent scans take a long time, you'll want to scale back the check frequency. How long is "a long time" depends on your overall machine load and personal preferences.
  • Conversion to DNG not yet supported; I hope to add it soon.
  • A Lightroom plugin has only a limited ability to set image metadata, some of which I've incorporated (rating, label, and title). You may want to make use of a Smart Collection that keys off one of these. For example, have the plugin set the title of auto-imported images to "autoloaded", with a Smart Collection of all images with a title of "autoloaded". This way, you can change the title to something else once you've address a particular image. (It would make the most sense to use a special keyword for this, but Lightroom does not allow a plugin to set image keywords.). Note, though, that a Smart Collection can lag behind reality for a few seconds, so if you're interested in seeing the images ASAP, you'll want to leave the target folder open in Grid Mode.
  • The plugin does not yet ensure that an image file is complete before attempting to auto-import it. This means that images that are written slowly by less-than-smart applications may not be properly imported. (They won't be corrupted, just not imported properly the first time.) Please let me know if you run into problems along these lines.

Comments so far....

Fantastic! I’ve wished that there was a way to setup “in place” auto imports ever since I installed Lightroom.
Thanks!
btw, it would be great if there were the option to have Lightroom call up the import dialogue when new images are detected. I’m not sure if that’s possible.

It’s not possible, unfortunately. The Lightroom plugin infrastructure gives exactly one option to the “import new photo” hook, and that’s to stack the new photo with some preexisting photo. I’m sure future versions of Lightroom will expand on this, but now it’s as bare bones as it can be, which limits the practical usefulness of this plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dylan on May 1st, 2009 at 10:23am JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffrey, when it does an ‘import’, where does it import it to?

I have a file structure, outside of LR…and the catalog inside LR mimics that same structure.

The reason I ask….I have the ’2009′ tree on the watch list (currently ~7K images…take 0,4 sec to scan). Set up to only import new images. I added an image which created a subfolder. I can’t tell if it imported the image, but the folder was definitely not set up (in the catalog). BTW…I have never set an ‘Auto Import’ settings.

Thanks…John

It imports them in place. If the folder doesn’t currently exist in the tree you point to, it’s added. You should find it in the Folders panel on the left side of the Library module. If it’s on a volume (e.g. drive) not currently represented there, it’s added. To the best of my knowledge, though, this plugin is the first and only plugin to take advantage of the (limited) import support provided by Lightroom’s plugin infrastructure, so there well may be bugs that have not come to light, so if you can’t find it after fishing around, please contact me via email. —Jeffrey

— comment by John Schwaller on May 1st, 2009 at 12:59pm JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

just one question.
As i didn’t find a lot of documentation about this plugin, can you tell me the difference between this plugin and the automatic function in lightroom” auto import”?
sorry for my English…
ciao
+Marko

The built-in Automatic import copies from the import location, while the plugin imports in place. Also, the plugin can handle a whole tree. —Jeffrey

— comment by marko on May 12th, 2009 at 1:05am JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

There were a couple “bugs” (caused by what I keep in my file structure). Took me a while to report them, but Jeffrey fixed them overnight…(luckily his day :~)

Folder-Watch is absolutely wonderful. Exactly what Adobe should have built into LR in the first place.

The “tree” I have F-W watching covers the entire 2009 shoots to date. I add things to the tree from multiple sources…from CF/SD card (using Downloader Pro); export from LR; WIP or output from PS, web or email reduced size copies from Qimage Pro. It doesn’t matter where they are from…whenever I add something to the tree F-W will automatically import it…and show it in LR in the subfolder structure that I like and have created outside of LR.

Thanks, Jeffrey….another great plugin.

John

— comment by John Schwaller on May 12th, 2009 at 3:55pm JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

This plugin is great. Just a question: since there is no official API in Lightroom SDK for import, how could you do that?
Cheers

Giuseppe

There is: see LrCatalog:addPhoto —Jeffrey

— comment by Giuse on May 13th, 2009 at 12:43am JST (5 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Plug-in is fast, but I can’t figure out how to have LightRoom automatically display the most recent import using Loupe-view. I thought the point was to be able to review your work while you are shooting, but the current implementation requires me to click on the newly imported image to display it, which is not helpful in a fast paced environment which is the norm for tethered or wireless shooting.

I agree with your assessment of the requirements, but it’s just not possible given the current version of Lightroom. The best I can come up with is to view the target folder in grid view, with large thumbnails, sorted by Added Order or Capture Time, in reverse (click the a/z next to the sort to reverse the order). Then, the most recent picture will always be in the upper-left corner. If Lightroom’s plugin infrastructure would give the plugin a way to make a photo selected, I’d do it, but it doesn’t, so this is the best I can come up with. Sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Anonymous on May 17th, 2009 at 12:25am JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi,
for my workflow it would be best, when a MasterFile, which was recently changed and saved under the same name, would be imported to the catalogue and the last Version removed from the catalogue, because I do not keep all tiff-versions when I work on an image. At the moment I have to save the recent version under a new name (will be imported by FW) and manually remove the old version from the catalogue.
Thank you very much
Dominik from Germany

I don’t quite understand… if you make a change to a tiff master image, I would think that Lightroom would notice the file change and refresh its view of that image. It certainly does this if you’ve invoked the edit of the master image via “Edit in..”. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dominik Wandel on June 6th, 2009 at 8:27pm JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks, I normally invoked PS from LR only the first time after raw conversion in LR, so the further changes were not recognized by LR when I changed a MasterFile in PS later…
No problem to start generally from LR, so this issue is fixed for me, thanks again
Dominik

— comment by Dominik Wandel on June 7th, 2009 at 12:03am JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

You are totally right, the changes are noticed even when the editing was not invoked via LR…
Very nice PLugin
Dominik

— comment by Dominik Wandel on June 7th, 2009 at 12:11am JST (5 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for all the high quality stuff you have got out.

I wanted to check if there is any way I could “sync” my smart folders in LR with a Folder Tree on my disk.

This is because I shoot a lot of pics of similar type like Wildlife in Karnataka, India, My Daughters, Photo Shoots for clients etc. I need a mechanism to display this in multiple places like Picassa Web Albums and keep those albums updated new content as I add more pics into LR any suggestions and tools will be welcome.
Thanks a bunch.

A Vari

There’s not an easy way, no, because LR doesn’t give its plugins any access to collections. However, it’s easy enough to create an export preset for one of my export-to plugins with settings to indicate “upload only new or changed”. You then could develop a habit of visiting a collection, selecting all its photos, then invoking the export preset. I sort of described something similar here. —Jeffrey

— comment by A Vari on July 29th, 2009 at 7:42pm JST (5 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Thanks Jeff for your comments, very kind of you.

I went through the process and it seems like a good process considering what we have now. However I would like to ask you something more…

Would it be a lot of work to create an option in one of your plugins that could do the following?

Save to disk instead of a web service

Create the folder structure from the source in the exported destination for e.g.
Source -> c:/Photos/Japan/Autumn/*.raw
Destination -> c:/Photos/Japan/Autumn/*.jpg

This option is built in to Lightroom… see the “export location” section of any Export Dialog. A related option is Tim Armes’ LR2/TreeExporter plugin —Jeffrey

to take an e.g. from your photo stream

Add a filter to choose images to export from the source folder e.g. Images with 5 Stars / Color Red, Changed Images etc.

You already have the update option.

This will help a lot as LR is a great tool especially

when shooting in RAW
Can provide a nice workflow for most crucial tasks
And is probably as good as it gets with respect to the technology of Post Processing

However, it is not very good at sharing images. I can understand Adobe wanting to control how we use “our” images, use only my slide show etc.. Many have tried and failed before them.

There will be many requirements to share images into multiple end use scenarios – could be Web Services, DVD Slide Shows, Media Center (Apple TV, Windows Media Center), etc. These we understand now, more will come up.

Right now all this is a pain as there is no simple solution. From what I know, you are the closest to one.
A Vari. Bangalore, India

— comment by A Vari on July 30th, 2009 at 6:47pm JST (5 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Jeff,

Thanks for the link. It seems to do some of what I need, but I see that LR/Morgify is also updated, so more experimentation :-)

Thanks Again.
A Vari

— comment by A Vari on July 31st, 2009 at 7:54pm JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Great plugin!

I am shooting a lot of school pictures, and this plugin will save me a lot of time :)

There is one function I would like to have in this plugin, and that is the ability to autotag the pictures when they are imported.
To keep track of the person in a picture I use barcode scanners and a database. If this plugin can connect to a database, capture a name and tag the imported picture that would be a great feature :D

- Jan-Tore -

That’s a bit too specific to add to the plugin, but I’ll think whether I can make some kind of generic something that runs after the import that might allow it…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jan-Tore on October 13th, 2009 at 7:46am JST (4 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

For us that converts our .CR2 (raw files) to DNG upon importing photos in lightroom.
This plugin will not work for us? Hence it auto adds raw files without any dialog?

Yes, sorry, the Lightroom plugin infrastructure doesn’t offer much for doing import… I can just point LR at a file on disk, and hope. Maybe it’ll be better in LR3… —Jeffrey

— comment by Bjørn Tore Økland on February 2nd, 2010 at 8:58pm JST (4 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the excellent addition to basic functionality that Lightroom lacks!

The one thing I’d really love that it doesn’t seem to do is to notice files removed from the watched folder and remove them from Lightroom.

Can it do that? If not is that functionality you could add?

I can’t, no… plugins have no hooks for removing files. You might consider running synchronize on the folder (via the right-click context menu) to have LR delete missing files. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael O'Rourke on February 23rd, 2010 at 2:22am JST (4 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Thank you for your hard work to date. Well done.
I and Many Many others in the Leica community want to shoot with the M9 & M8 tethered. Do you know if your software plugin will create this opportunity. Have you any clients that mention they have succeeded with this. if so I will proceed and also give you a big positive mention on the Leica forum. You will get a lot of hits from these guys if it can work.
Really looking forward optimistically to your reply.
Best regards
Neville porter

It should certainly work, but I haven’t heard of specific attempts. You can use the plugin for free, so give it a try and let us know how it goes for you. —Jeffrey

— comment by Neville on April 13th, 2010 at 10:06am JST (4 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

If photos have had metadata updates made external to Lightroom, those updates don’t seem to be reflected during the watching.

Is this something that your plugin can do? Or is this some option elsewhere in Lightroom? I can get the metadata for a photo to update by right clicking and selecting ‘Metadata->Read Metadata from file’ but I want all this to happen automatically.

The plugin wasn’t designed to watch for updates to already-existing files… just new files. I can perhaps have it look for updates to report them, but it’s not possible for a plugin to cause the changes to be read in. About the only thing I can suggest that might help to mitigate things is that you can use the Synchronize Folder feature of Lightroom to suck in metadata changes on a whole tree at once. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael O'Rourke on May 25th, 2010 at 11:20am JST (4 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I installed the plugin into lightroom 2 by mistake and have lightroom 3 on the same computer which needed the plug-in installed. Now I don’t see a way to unregister it from lightroom 2 so that I can register it in lightroom 3. How do I go about doing this?

TP Woodall

There’s no unregister, so your mistake will cost you a pretty penny… but just one… to generate a new code for Lr3. Sorry for the hassles. —Jeffrey

— comment by TP Woodall on July 17th, 2010 at 5:42am JST (4 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Love your plugins and your continuing contribution to the LR community Jeffrey.
Interested in this plugin, but a little confused. Numerous threads relate to importing directories and trees etc., but most of my importing is done from the camera cards, into a directory structure based on year then month and day …eg: My Pictures\2010\201007\20100731\DSCF2015.jpg etc.
I import and save to those locations during the import. (Wish I could burn to DVD’s simultaneously as well). Once I have a sub directory made such as 201007, LR automatically drops the photos in by day.
Whenever I need a new month or year though, I have to create those directories. Whew …sorry for that long winded description.
I was hoping the auto import would do the above with the ability to set that sort of structure as default and have it create the necessary directories (other than the day …which LR seems to do anyway), on the fly.
Am I correct in assuming this plugin is not designed for the above …but instead is designed to import “in place” from an existing file structure …instead of from the camera cards?
jj

You’re correct, this plugin is designed to import in place, for when some external application is creating image files on the fly. It’s a way to sort of do tethered shooting in Lr2 (or in Lr3 for camera makes that Lr3 doesn’t offer native tethered support for). The import dialog should be able to automatically create the folder structure you want… you should look into the options more. I import to a YYYY/MM/DD folder structure (as described in my camera-workflow post), and Lr handles all the folder creation for me. —Jeffrey

— comment by jjay on November 7th, 2010 at 12:26pm JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

when i have time i will try and put in the plug in i always have troube with these things
however what i saw at the smugmug meeting made it enough for me to want to use lightroom with my account. looks like it will free up my time loading the new files
i’ll thank toy now for keeping me in the loop. just one more step get it to work thank you

— comment by franmcob on November 7th, 2010 at 1:37pm JST (3 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

I’ve got a question regarding this plugin: If photos are imported automatically, which size do the generated previews have? When I import my photos using the Adobe Importer I can choose between different preview sizes and qualities, but I haven’t got this choice with the plugin.

I actually don’t know… Lightroom doesn’t provide the plugin any options other than “import this file”. Lightroom also doesn’t expose to a plugin the preview status of an image, or allow a plugin to invoke preview generation. Basically, the plugin is blind. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael K on March 13th, 2011 at 8:10pm JST (3 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Great job as always.

Are you plan to use metadata into the plugin?. I’m looking for the way to look for photos on which there is only one face: 1) Picasa recognize the faces, 2) Use your plugin to add metadata from Picasa. I didn’t found yet the way to filter photos with only one face into.

Your plugin should do the job if it plays with metadata…

Thanks

In the Library Filter, select “Faces” and then “1″. —Jeffrey

— comment by Alvgarci on March 16th, 2011 at 7:44am JST (3 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

The ability to watch multiple folders (with or without the ‘subfolder’ option) would be great. This would avoid including entire folder trees (with potentially many irrelevant files), while still providing effective coverage for all directories of interest.

Good idea… just pushed a new version that allows this. —Jeffrey

— comment by Wes Neuenschwander on May 17th, 2011 at 1:23am JST (3 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

We are using this plugin in a entertainment location where they sell photos, for the first day it was working fine, but now that about 1k photos are loaded its taking 3-5min for the folder watch plugin to start detecting the new pictures… Does this plugin have to do a scan of all the existing photos in the ‘watched folder’ every queue. I’m trying to figure out what is causing this delay whether or not the computers need to be rebooted because of a lag in the system or if the plugins response time begins to break down after a certain amount of photos.

Thanks

It does have to do a scan each time… that’s the only way to find new photos… but 1000 files shouldn’t be much of a burden, I’d think. Once it gets going, send the log (not via email, but as described here: http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/faq#log ) and I’ll take a look. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jamesk on June 13th, 2011 at 12:50am JST (3 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Everytime i restart lightroom, which is every day, I have to recheck the folder “watch” box. This is really annoying and it didn’t use to do this. I recently did a fresh install of my Snow Leopard and it started after this. Is there anything I can do? Thank you!!

There’s a “restart on launch” checkbox immediately under the “Watch” checlbox. —Jeffrey

— comment by Josef on June 29th, 2011 at 1:08am JST (3 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

This looks like a great plug-in. I have come to Lightroom from Picasa and the capacity to watch a whole load of folders is one of the few things I was missing.

Three quisck things:

1. If I do NOT have “new images only” checked, what’s the effect. I guess it doesn’t “ignore … images present on the first scan of each start”. But what does it do with them, if not ignore them? I’m not sure I understand this option. Me being stupid, I expect.

It imports them into Lightroom, if they’re not already there.

2. When my wife updates and resaves a picture in (say) Picasa (she’s not yet up to speed with Lightroom), it updates in Lightroom, thanks to your plug-in BUT if the folder in question was already open, it updates only one I click on another folder than return to the given folder. Is that a bug?

Once it’s in Lightroom, my plugin has nothing to do with it any more (the plugin is all about getting stuff into Lightroom in the first place). Lightroom will notice master-image changes, such as when your wife rewrites the image, but I’m not sure about the timing of it… it may well be that you can click on the thumbnail and it’ll check, but it seems at least it’s doing a scan when you switch to the folder. In any case, this is a Lightroom thing and not a plugin thing.

3. Picasa saves hidden folders called “.picassaoriginals”. Your plug-in displays them. Is there any way of telling it not to.

I’ve now added something to the most-recent version (20120627.35) to ignore those folders. —Jeffrey

Anyway, great job and, unless there’s some reason not to (?), I think I will set the plug-in to watch ALL of my pictures.

Thanks.

— comment by David Bain on July 21st, 2011 at 8:24pm JST (3 years, 1 month ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeff,

Would it be possible to add an option to bring up Lightroom Import Dialog when new files are detected in the watched folder? I really like to have the options available in that dialog, and cannot find any way to get it to come up automatically when I insert my PCIe card reader into my Mac.

Best,
John

Actually, that might be possible once Lr4 is out (but it’s not possible in earlier versions for sure). —Jeffrey

— comment by John Pane on February 14th, 2012 at 3:25am JST (2 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Hallo Jef,
in my Lightroomversion 4, Folder Watch do not work. LR 4 claims, the installed version is to old.
Regards

Please upgrade to the latest version of the plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tacitus on March 10th, 2012 at 2:26am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I noticed in the latest version (4.1) the newest image is not being selected for viewing. Am I doing something wrong here?

Also, should I disable the native auto-import feature when using this plugin?

Thanks,

Chris

The plugin has never automatically moved to the imported image… it just puts up a splash notice, if you’ve enabled that. Lightroom actually now does offer the ability to switch to the image, so I’ve gone ahead and added it (as of version 20120627.35). —Jeffrey

— comment by Chris Gramly on April 3rd, 2012 at 4:22pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

I’m trying to create a plugin to archive a part of my photos to a usb drive and keep the folder structure. My mackbook air SSD is almost full and I want to free-up space for new photos. Now I can get the folder location from the metadata, but I can’t change this. So the result is that the files are moved, but in the catalog I got missig photos. So the folder location is not updated. Is there a function to update the folder location within a plugin?

First, to answer your question, no, not that I know of. However, you can just drag-n-drop folders in Lightroom, and it’ll handle everything. If the target disk/folder is not shown in the “Folders” list on the left hand side of Library, put a dummy image there and import it. Then you can just drag whole trees of folders to it. —Jeffrey

— comment by Rene van Dam on April 13th, 2012 at 7:19pm JST (2 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

In the settings, I put this: F:\Canon 60D
and then everything worked fine and I had a single folder in the nav area that I could expand to see subfolders (just how I wanted it).

Then I changed the settings to this: F:\Canon 60D,F:\XYZ\Media
and then the “Canon 60D” single folder with expandable subfolders remained, but there wasn’t a “Media” folder with expandable subfolders. Instead, ALL the subfolders of the Media folder were “mounted/imported” at the same level/hierarchy as the Canon 60D folder – so now it looks like a mess and doesn’t resemble Windows Explorer navigation.

What went wrong?

Thank you.

I’m not quite sure what you’re reporting, but the folder hierarchy in the nav area is not something the plugin touches directly. Indirectly, if you import (or via the plugin, have imported) a folder in a tree not already represented in the nav area, of course Lightroom will have to somehow add it there. I don’t see how this should have any impact on the folders that were already there, so perhaps you’ve run into a bug with Lightroom? —Jeffrey

— comment by Clifford on May 13th, 2012 at 11:17pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

I love this plug-in because it allows me to import photos inside of sub-folders. Is there any way to allow the plug-in to import to a specific folder, rather than in place?

No, not yet, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sean on January 24th, 2013 at 3:18am JST (1 year, 7 months ago) comment permalink

Is there a way to have the plugin watch a different folder depending on the catalog? If I open a different catalog (one for archiving for example) it promptly imports all the stuff into this alternate catalog as well.

Good point. I’ve just updated the plugin so that the “on launch” settings are per catalog (in Lr4). —Jeffrey

— comment by Dave on March 1st, 2013 at 11:29am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Following up on a question above, what I’d like is an auto-import function (watched folder) that utilizes Lightroom’s Import function destination options. All my imported photos go into subfolders by date. It would be nice to have auto-import do this also.

— comment by Tim on June 1st, 2013 at 1:24pm JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Great plugin, love it. I’m using this across a network – to pick up files on another computer but this just brings them into lightroom in their current position. This is fine until the network goes down – therefore, is it possible to copy the original files across as well to retain resilience (albeit duplicate the files and space).

This is possible, but not likely soon, because I’d have to build a whole system for where you want the files and how they should be renamed, etc., and I just have too much already on my plate. )-: —Jeffrey

— comment by Dave on June 6th, 2013 at 8:22am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hello,

Your plugin seems interesting but I’m not totally sure it’s a solution for my problem.

When I add in a folder or a sub-folder a picture a received by mail or I downloaded from the web or I scanned, it does not appear in Lightroom. So I need each time to synchronize the folders to see the pictures (I also use Lightroom to simply look at pictures, not only to process them).

With your plug-in, will all pictures added in my folder Pictures and all its sub-folders and sub-sub-folders appear automatically in Lightroom even if they are not imported from my camera ?

Thank you very much for your answer and the job you do.

J

If you point the plugin at a folder hierarchy, it’ll scan it over and over and import any importable images, and import them when found. You can point this at your Pictures folder if you like, and it should do exactly what you want. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jean on June 28th, 2013 at 9:07pm JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hello Jeffrey

Many thanks for your answer. Sorry to insist : do I have the opportunity to choose between the options ‘Move’ (pictures moved to LR) or ‘Add’ (pictures left in their place) with your auto import tool ?

Best regards.

J

No, only “Add” at the moment. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jean on July 1st, 2013 at 5:59pm JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Thanks, great job, Jeffrey.

J

— comment by Jean on July 4th, 2013 at 5:36pm JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Jeffery- does the current version of the plug-in call up the LR import dialog box. I would like the option where LR would indicate any photos already imported with the same name. Also, if the plug-in did call up the dialog box, then the user could Move the photos to a specific folder when importing, if this is allowed. Thanks in advance.

None of the import in the plugin is via Lightroom’s normal import dialog, because a plugin has no hooks there other than “hey, open up the import dialog and hand control off to the user”. If you’re going to be there anyway, I don’t see the benefit of the plugin doing it unexpectedly over the user just clicking the “import” button. —Jeffrey

— comment by DaveB on September 24th, 2013 at 8:17am JST (11 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

After much fault finding, upgrading lightroom to version 5 etc. I now find the reason folder watch was not working – my camera time was two minutes ahead of laptop time. Changed laptop time slightly ahead of camera and works like a charm again. Might be worth adding a note about this somewhere ?
Thanks again
Kevin

I’d think you’d want the time on both devices to be set accurately(!) It seems that whatever you’re using to transfer the images from the camera to the computer is respecting the on-camera file time, which is good… I’d not thought about this, so yeah, this is a good warning. —Jeffrey

Update: I’ve pushed a new version of the plugin. If a file is skipped because it’s too new or dated in the future, a warning note appears in the watcher dialog. —Jeffrey

— comment by Kevin Addie on October 1st, 2013 at 1:07am JST (11 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery, Thanks for all your hard work on a fab plug in to fill in what Lightroom lacks.

I feel I may not be using your plugin correctly, even after reading your documentation on it.

Am I able to have a list of folder hierarchies separated by commas in the “Folder(s) to watch” list? Or do I have to have only the parent folders listed to all the sub folders I want to be watched, even if there are some subfolders I do not want to view in Lightroom.

Asking this because it seems the folder watch is not working with the hierarchy I do have listed and does not import images from the folders listed when I know new imagery is in them. I am still having to right click the folder and select the synchronize.

Any advice?

Every folder you list will have it and all its children searched… there’s no way to selectively exclude children. Perhaps check the log (via the upper-right section of the plugin manager) for clues on why something you think should be imported is not…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Samantha on October 9th, 2013 at 6:21am JST (10 months, 22 days ago) comment permalink

Hi
Based here in Denmark, Europe, I’ve been using your “Folder Watch” plugin a while now. I am very satisfied with. It does exactly what it’s supposed to.

I wonder though – what does:
“New images only — If checked, images found in the first scan are not imported. This is perhaps useful when tethering and are interested only in
new images going forward.”
mean exactly?

I am trying to control what images are imported into my Lightroom library. The reason being a wish to be able to have access to all photos from one location.
The plugin is watching a top folder called 2013 (the folder consists of different subfolders) and this works – it imports photos from one camera.
At the same time I am exporting some .NEF images to .JPG from my other camera into the same top folder (2013), but in different subfolders of course.
Am I able to control this at all? So that duplicate images are not imported again into Lightroom?

Does this explanation make sense?

Thanks.

I’m not sure how to explain the “new images only” option any better. It means that nothing will be imported during the first scan; only images added to disk after the first scan will be imported. If you don’t want the JPEGs to be imported, perhaps tell the plugin to watch the specific folders where you do want things imported, instead of just using the top-level 2013 folder. —Jeffrey

— comment by Per R. on October 21st, 2013 at 7:24pm JST (10 months, 9 days ago) comment permalink

Just discovered this plugin and I’m really excited about the waiting around time it could help me avoid. I’m trying to work out a system where lightroom auto imports photos at night. I can launch LR with task scheduler, but it would be pretty awesome if there was a time of day limitation built in to the plugin so I can just leave it enabled all the time. Maybe a little dialog box – Only scan between _____ and _____ . Not sure if it would be possible, but it would be nice.

That would help me conserve LR resources during the day while I’m trying to edit – I think other people who work with big batches of photos might find it useful as well.

It’s possible, but I think the option would be clutter (in an already-cluttered UI) for almost everyone, so it’s not something I think I’d add. —Jeffrey

— comment by Daniel Berdal on October 28th, 2013 at 1:26am JST (10 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Is it possible to have different settings for each folder being watched?

Ie. folder 1′s images get develop preset 1
folder 2′s images get develop preset 2 etc

Not at the moment, no, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jason on October 28th, 2013 at 8:19am JST (10 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink

your plugin detects and watches for video files but if your file size to consider max is 999.0 megabytes then that wont work for video files that are larger than 1gb . are you able to increase this as in this day and age video files are well over 1 gb .

Good point, I hadn’t thought of that. I just pushed a new version with a 20-gig limit. —Jeffrey

— comment by angel on November 12th, 2013 at 4:14am JST (9 months, 19 days ago) comment permalink

From Minneapolis

I am trying to use your folder watch and Facebook to automate importing, processing (with a develop preset) and uploading to Facebook. I got it to work, except it is uploading the photos twice. Any suggestions?

It’s hard to guess what might be the root of the problem with so little information, but if you’re using a Publish service for Facebook, there are bugs in Lightroom that cause images to inexplicably move from “Published” to “Modified Photos to Republish”, and because FB doesn’t allow image replacement, this results in multiple copies. Very frustrating. —Jeffrey

— comment by michael g on November 16th, 2013 at 7:59am JST (9 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

Further testing I seem to be tracking it down to applying a develop preset in the jF Folderwatch plug in. If I set that to none, things seem to work right.

But if I apply a develop preset I can see it doing to processes and I end up with duplicate images on Facebook. The LR catalog does not show duplications.

— comment by michael g on November 16th, 2013 at 8:23am JST (9 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

Hi,
Would it be possible to add a feature to be able to also/only consider files with a specific name?? In my opinion, this could be handy if you handle files from different cameras (with different file names).

Instead of only looking at the file size (“File size to consider”) as the plugin is able to do…

Thanks.

I’ve added this as of version 20140330.68 —Jeffrey

— comment by Per R. on December 10th, 2013 at 9:16pm JST (8 months, 20 days ago) comment permalink

HI Jeffrey,

Is it possible yet with LR5 to import and convert to DNG. Also is it possible to import into a targeted location rather than import in place?

Lightroom doesn’t provide a way for plugins to do a DNG conversion. The import-to-folder could be done if I build it… your idea is that you watch a folder tree and as files appear, move them to some separate target folder and import? I’m a bit leery to do this because if I move the file before it’s actually been completely written, you could end up corrupting the file, forever losing the photo. Whatever delay I pick (e.g. file hasn’t been changed in 5 seconds), a slow or stuttering wifi download may well take longer. It’s dicey. —Jeffrey

Update: I’ve added move/rename as of version 20140122.64. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. —Jeffrey

— comment by JPS on December 15th, 2013 at 4:01am JST (8 months, 16 days ago) comment permalink

This is almost exactly what I’m looking for but I don’t think it moves the files it imports. I’m looking for a way around the LR Auto-Import which insists on pulling all the files it imports into a single directory. FolderWatch would be perfect if it could move the picture files into the directory structure using the same folder/date system LR uses for the regular imports.

Any chance you will be adding that at some point?

It’s not impossible, but it’s fraught with peril… see the previous comment for why. —JeffreyUpdate: I’ve added move/rename as of version 20140122.64. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mark Chernis on December 16th, 2013 at 8:15am JST (8 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks so much for this plugin — I just tried it, and it is awesome! Do you have or know of any similar plugins for Photoshop Elements on the mac? I am currently using the organizer from Elements to do all of my photo tagging, but Elements on the mac does not have a watched folder functionality like it does on the pc. I really need face tagging functionality as well, which Lightroom doesn’t have. I am currently in the process of cleaning up and tagging all of my 42k image files in the Elements organizer, and thinking about moving it to Lightroom; however, that means that I still have to import all of my future photos into Elements first for face tagging, then import them into my Lightroom catalog (which will be made a lot easier by your plugin). I would really like to stay with Elements until they add facial recognition in Lightroom, but I do a lot of graphic design work from the bottom up in Photoshop, and I have to remember to manually go back in and add those files to the Elements Organizer one by one. Needless to say, a lot of them don’t quite make it into the organizer in a timely fashion!

Sorry, no, Lightroom plugins are Lightroom only; I don’t know anything about Elements. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brigid G on January 16th, 2014 at 9:16am JST (7 months, 15 days ago) comment permalink

First of all Jeffrey, this looks amazing and am excited to go home and try it out. It seems to be exactly the ticket for the automation problem I was hoping to solve.

Regarding Mark Chernis’ recent question on importing to specific folders…Mark: it might be worth your while to look into ExifTool.

I use a Mac, and through OSX’s built in Automator, I am able to accomplish the beginning task of my automation challenge (getting pictures taken of our new son off of my wife’s and my iDevices into one location as well as into Lightroom with the rest of my library):
- Start DropBox
- Wait 10 minutes (for files to sync from dropbox…hoping to find a way to detect completion)
- Run OSX’s shell editor and execute a couple ExifTool commands. These look at my dropbox folders, find any JPG or MOV, read the CreateDate of the file, and moves them to a corresponding date-derived directory (it will create the directory if it doesn’t exist) in “Photo Album/YYYY/YYYY_MM_DD/”

Now with this script from Jeffrey, I will be able to have Lightroom scan all of the folders under YYYY and auto-import and tag these photos with “iDevice” for easy searching. Sounds like it will be perfect! Thanks so much!

— comment by Matt O on January 25th, 2014 at 12:14am JST (7 months, 6 days ago) comment permalink

Would it be possible to use this plugin and a bar code scanner to simply fill in the custom name field before importing? I’d like to use it to organize school or dance photos. Scan a barcode that has first and last name and student id-put the first and last name into the beginning of file name and the student id into meta data maybe.

There is another company that makes a separate piece of software to do this but it’s pc based. I think keeping it all within LR makes more sense.

Simply using the scanner to enter data that can be searchable or used in file naming would be awesome.

Let me know-I’m searching for a solution.

This kind of thing is fairly specialized, and I don’t see an easy way to generically add the functionality. If you can find some application that will do the scan and rename the file, you might be able to work that in with the new file-name pattern and/or readonly-support stuff I added in version 20140330.68. —Jeffrey

— comment by Michael on January 28th, 2014 at 2:07am JST (7 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Jeff,
It doesn’t seem to descend folders completely…. my watch folder is J:\My Pictures and I have subdirs enabled
I have an eye-fi card and it puts picture in
J:\My Pictures\Eye-Fi\RAWs\dated_dir ie, J:\My Pictures\Eye-Fi\RAWs\1-3-2014
It will not find these pictures
the eye-fi card adds the following
_DSC2265.ARW
_DSC2265.xmp
not sure what the .xmp is ….not sure if it needs to be imported….
At first I thought the plugin didn’t like .ARW but I copied that to J:\My Pictures and it worked (didnt copy xmp)
I’ve also put jpgs several levels deep and THAT worked….so it seems like it doesnt like ARW in nested dirs or the xmp ?

Does the folder watch find pictures in the subdirs that are not in the catalog….regardless of when the picture was taken ….or just pictures that were recently taken?
It seems like it scanned the entire folder and subfolder structure and didnt add a single picture to the catalog…. I’m pretty sure there is some in the 47000 pictures that are not in the catalog…
Any thoughts ?
Thanks
Tim

There’s an option to have the plugin ignore any files that are there when it starts up, so that it gets only new images. The plugin is not really intended to watch a large tree, though it should certainly do it, so please send a log if it’s not. It just might be taking a long time. The intent was to watch a small folder where new images are being dropped, such as your EyeFi situation. To bring in a huge tree of images in place, consider Lightroom’s normal Import, or its “Synchronize Folder” feature. —Jeffrey

— comment by tim on March 3rd, 2014 at 11:20pm JST (5 months, 27 days ago) comment permalink

Jeff,
I feel very stupid….my camera has gps and automatically picks up time, however it was off by an hour due to DST setting.
So if I had your plugin open, I saw it saying a picture was TOO NEW… at first that made no sense but eventually dawned on me.
As soon as I changed the time to correct…your plugin picked the pictures up right away. The directory was nested 3 deep with no issue.
I also found the option for New Images Only which I had missed before.
Thanks for your help and sorry to waste your time
Tim O

— comment by tim on March 4th, 2014 at 2:45pm JST (5 months, 27 days ago) comment permalink

This is a great tool, especially with a Lightroom novice such as myself. One question – is there a way (within the app, or in LR itself) of automatically generating an export after every new file is imported (eg: new image enters watched folder, is imported to LR, and a web file version is exported to another folder)?
Cracking work on a function that LR should really have covered already.

Dan

Yes, via the automatic publish feature. —Jeffrey

— comment by Dan on May 2nd, 2014 at 4:03am JST (3 months, 29 days ago) comment permalink

Very HAPPY! This is wonderful for the new Lightroom Mobile workflow!

I’ve managed to upload shots via Wi-Fi FTP canera module to the desktop, auto-import them (ignoring the nested folders who fooled Adobe auto-import feature) and move files to a specific destination!

Now the very last thing: it would be nice if the option to include the shots into a Collection (not a Publish one) could ask for the Collection name, not only the plugin name, in this way I should be able to publish to Lightroom Mobile in a much smoother way…

Yeah I know it’s a mess of a workflow but it works :)

Love this plugin..

— comment by lorenzo on May 17th, 2014 at 2:09am JST (3 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Hi,

I’m currently evaluating the plugin and it works really well with smaller folders. Unfortunately, as you alluded to in earlier replies, it’s cpu intensive with larger folders. In my case, Folder Watch uses up to 85% of the cpu while monitoring a folder tree with about 9,000 photos. To get over this problem, I tried to setup a special watch folder where new photos would be added (from an Eye-Fi card) and then have Folder Watch move those photos to a central folder where all the older photos reside (thus substantially reducing the cpu workload). Unfortunately, Folder Watch only moves the photos and doesn’t preserve the folder structure in the new location. So I was wondering if at some point you would be able to add a checkmark which moves the folders (at least one level of sub-folders) along with the photos?

Basically, I’m setting up Lightroom for a parent and I want to make importing as easy as possible. Currently I have an Eye-fi card that automatically transfers photos from the camera and creates sub folders by date. With one central folder it’s easy to have other devices access the photos in a neat and relatively simple way. Other apps (like Picassa) handle this without any issues and so I’m hoping to duplicate this feature in Lightroom.

Finally, it would also be great if there was an option to suppress any error popups. On a few occasions, I got some error about a corrupt/missing file which kept popping up in a window (maybe about a dozen times). It would be ideal if the plugin either silently logged or just ignored the error and moved on.

Anyway, sorry for the long post. Any reply will be appreciated. Thank you.

The idea about preserving hierarchy is good, and I’ve just pushed a new version with it. The idea about quieting errors is also good, but too complex to work on at the moment, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Sputnik on July 12th, 2014 at 3:05am JST (1 month, 19 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks for this great development and RL plugin.
Currently the following setup works for me.
Camera -> EOS Utility -> Hard disk -> LR and folder watch plugin imports images into LR library and exports (files are heavily shrinked) to a folder on disk (DropBox).

BUT I would prefer to avoid using EOS Utility and would like to make use of LR’s tethering instead. Is this possible? Did I miss something? Export should be triggered automatically after import.

Lightroom has tethering for many Canon SLRs, but I don’t use Lightroom’s tethering much, so I’m not familiar with all its options. I don’t recall any auto-export feature anywhere in Lightroom proper, though. Off the top of my head, your current approach is the best end-to-end solution I can think of. —Jeffrey

— comment by Christian Brand on July 20th, 2014 at 1:47am JST (1 month, 11 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

I’m having a look at your awesome FW plugin for LR. It’s 99% what I’m looking for, the remaining 1% could be just my ignorance though.

I’ve set up the FW to watch a folder (obviously) and then move any files to another folder maintaining the original file’s folder structure. for example “/Pics (the watched folder)/2014/month/day/filename.ext”. The files get moved to the destination folder and maintain this structure, all good so far!
However when the files are then imported in to LR, only the immediate folder containing the file is created and the imported file is added to this folder. So Lightroom only displays the “day” folder under the “Folders” panel.

Is it possible to maintain the folder structure from the watched folder up? So in this case lightroom would create the “2014/month/day” subfolders within as needed?

As i say, ignorance could play a part in my request. :)

many thanks!

The plugin can’t make those folders appear in Lightroom the way you want, but you can do so by right-clicking on the “day” folder (once it appears) and click “Show Parent Folder”. Keep doing that until “2014″ is shown, and then from then anything later added by the plugin anywhere under “2014″ will appear properly in Lightroom. You’ll have to do it again the first time you have a photo in each new year. —Jeffrey

— comment by Leejav on July 31st, 2014 at 2:36pm JST (1 month ago) comment permalink

I have one question about this plugin. When the plugin moves files from the hotfolder to another location, is it possible to define a subfolder-name and filename at the time of importing, with some kind of popup screen?
Thanks.
Best regards,
Mark

That kind of interstitial roadblock sounds sort of counter to how the plugin would normally be used, I’d think. I don’t think it’d be a generally-useful feature, but perhaps email your use case and I’ll take a look… —Jeffrey

— comment by Mark W. on July 31st, 2014 at 5:32pm JST (4 weeks, 2 days ago) comment permalink
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