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 Classic, and older versions as far back as Lightroom 4, 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 20180503.126; the current version of the plugin is 20190831.142.

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. Non-absolute folders are relative to the catalog folder.

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; this indicates how long 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.

Ignore suspected duplicates  —  Ignores (does not import) new files that have the same filename, byte size, and pixel dimensions as a photo already in the catalog. (If a catalog photo is currently offline, that is, its master file is not currently available, then the byte-size comparison is not included in the decision.)

Filenames to consider  —  Lets you include or exclude filenames that match a filename pattern like *.jpg.

Special rules for when the provided pattern includes a slash: in this case, the pattern is matched against the full path of the file being considered. To exclude files in a sub-folder named junk, for example, select exclude names matching pattern and enter a pattern of /junk/. To exclude files in any folder that has junk in its name, use a pattern of junk*/ or /*junk.

(The special rules about folder patterns make sense only when Also watch subfolders is turned on.)

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   

Just before a file is imported, you can have the plugin move it to a target folder, and rename it as well.


If you enable the file-move option, the plugin moves images it finds into a folder you specify.

In specifying the target folder, you can use many preset template tokens, though most that refer to photo metadata are not available. However, tokens that refer to the capture time of the image, such as {YYYY}, are available.

You can also use tokens that refer to the master image file (in this context, the file to be moved/renamed, prior to move/rename and import), such as {FileYYYY} for the file's creation year, or {FolderName} for the name of the folder that the file to be imported was found in.

In writing the target-folder template, sub-folders can be separated by either kind of slash (forward or backward).

Optionally, you can then append the name of the watched folder (test2 in the screenshot example above) to come up with the final target folder. (This is the same as using {FolderName} at the end of the move-to path, or at the beginning of the rename-to path.)

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 within whatever target folder the above steps resulted in.


The rename to field also accepts preset template tokens: tokens accepted are the same as those mentioned in Moving above.

For example, a rename to value of {YYYY}-{DD}-{MM}/{Filename} has new images moved to a subfolder (of the target folder computed by prior steps) based on the image capture time.

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.

You can use either kind of slash (forward or back) to separate sub-folder names.

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 that arise 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 below.

Advanced Flexability: Execute Your Custom Lua Script

Those with the technical ability to program computer code in the Lua language can tap into that flexibility to perform custom actions as each photo is imported.

Your Lua script, which must be in a *.lua file, is executed within a simple environment that includes the variable photo, which is the LrPhoto object representing the newly-imported photo. The script can access information about that photo, and if it wishes to make changes to the photo can return a function that makes those changes. If such a function is returned by your script, the plugin will then execute it when Lightroom allows catalog updates.

As a simple example, here's a script that sets the star rating of newly-imported photos to 3 only if they currently have no star rating:

if not photo:getRawMetadata('rating') then
   return function()
             photo:setRawMetadata('rating', 3)

The simple environment in which the Lua script is run includes the basics from the standard Lua environment (e.g. the string and table libraries), and also some namespaces provided by the Lua SDK, such as LrDate and LrPathUtils.

It also includes the function log(), which dumps its arguments to the plugin log (see the upper-right section of the plugin manager), and printf(), which is a standard formatted print to the plugin log.

Note: Lightroom uses Lua version 5.1.

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 old Picasa software.


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 Lr6 to Lr7 (or the equivalent under the hood for the Lightroom Classic subscription) 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 )


Added the ability to import only images or videos, and the ability to have multiple filename patterns.

Added the LensInfo template token.

Updated the Exposure token to allow customization.

More token work: added {Urls}, and updated {ISO} and {Copyright} to allow customization.


The 20190805.139 update to work around develop-preset woes introduced a new bug; fixed it.

Respect the "ignore errors" option even for file-move errors.


Fixed the SST1 and SST2 tokens.


Work around a bug in Lightroom that saw the develop-preset selection forgotten with any develop-preset change.


Updated the PublishCollectionName token (and CollectionNames and CollectionFullNames) to remove the MIRROR: prefix from the name that mirrored collections within my Collection Publisher plugin automatically get.


Work around a bug that sometimes causes plugins to be disabled when starting Lightroom via clicking on a catalog file.

Fix an "Unknown key: captureTime" crash.

Added the GPSCoords token.

Fixed a problem related to template tokens and photos without capture times.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 11.50.

Added functions uc(), ucFirst(), lc(), and lcFirst() to the LUA token.


Add the ability to clean up empty subfolders after having moved from them to the catalog.

Upgraded to the embedded copy of ExifTool to version 11.30.

Updated the keyword-related tokens to accept standard filters.


The auto-publish didn't publish unless some already-published photos had changes.

Added the PEOPLE variable to the LUA token.

Fixed a problem with the SpeedKPH token.

Added TempC and TempF to the template tokens that my plugins understand.

Added the TempC and TempF tokens.


Added some extra debug logging to try to track down a problem.

Dropped support for Lr2 and Lr3. Too much hassele. They're a decade old.


Updates for Lr8 (Lightroom Classic CC Version 8).

Added the special PP() function to the {LUA} token.

Added hierarchical options to the Keywords token.

Added the 'nicknames' modifier to the {People} token.

Try to work around a Lightroom bug related to photo timezones and how Lightroom handles accessing plugin data.


Added a few more filename extensions to look for for whom support has been added to Lightroom since the last time I looked.


Added support for CR3 files.

Added the SST1, SST2, and SS3 tokens to the template tokens that the plugin understands.

Have the include/exclude pattern to apply to full paths (as opposed to just the leaf filename) if the pattern includes a slash.


Try to avoid having unexpectedly-long error messages create too-big a dialog.


Remove some debug logging that wasn't helping


Updated how the log is written, for better consistency.

Clicking on the version number in the Plugin Manager now copies version info to the clipboard

Added the folowing template tokens: {home}, {desktop}, {temp}, {pictures}, {documents}, {IptcDateTaken}.

Added the 'PCH' variable to the {LUA} tag.


Allow relative folders to be specified for watching (non-absolute paths are relative to the catalog)


Added the ability to execute a user script upon each import.

Re-fixed the "set star rating" stuff.

Revamped the UI.


Added the ability to have the plugin instigate a publish every scan, even if nothing new imported.

The "set star rating" stuff was unclear before.... the "none" meant "don't change" and not "no stars". Now things are clear whether you're changing nothing or setting zero stars.


Fixed a bug when 'Token Examples' invoked in certain situations.

Added a bunch of token filters: F2D F2S F2X B2D B2S B2X S2X A2D A2S A2X


Some more debug logging.


Added some debug logging to try to track down an error.

In the scan-status area, report on videos distinctly from images.


Updates to the data templates that my plugins understand: updated the Keywords token, added CollectionNames and CollectionFullNames tokens, and added a bunch of stuff (KWf, CN, CFN, CNf, CFNf) to the {LUA} token.

Better handling when the plugin is reloaded in the middle of a session.


Oops, more Lr7 stuff.


Updates for Lr7

Better handle some character-encoding issues related to template tokens.

Allow the "If Exists" feature of Templat Tokens to work with the PluginProperty token.


Properly handle a raw+JPEG situation.

Update registration support to handle a stupid bug at PayPal that PayPal refuses to fix )-:


Fixed a bug introuded the other day in template tokens, related to Windows filenames.


It was difficult to enter multiple watched folders after having browsed for the first one. It should be easier now (so long as none of the folder paths have commas in them).


Added the "only if it has a value" feature to template tokens.

Updated the pre-import move/rename to not allow the result to land within a folder tree being watched.

Updated the {FolderName} token to allow {FolderName=1} (rather than requiring the plus as in {FolderName=+1})


Added "Ignore suspected duplicates" option.

Enhanced the FolderName token


Added an option to keep scanning even when a folder doesn't currently exist.

Added the Newline template token.


Quiet the "preset no longer exists" warning after being presented once.


Switch the log-sending mechanism to https.

Added the following tokens to the template tokens that my plugins understand: Artworks, ArtworkTitle, ArtworkCopyright, ArtworkSource, ArtworkCreator, ArtworkDateCreated, ArtworkInventoryNum, ISO8601Date


Added preset support.


Better support for network shares on Windows.

Added Weekday, Wday, weekday, and wday to the list of template tokens that my plugins understand.

Fixed a bug with the keyword tables in the LUA token.

Try to avoid a race condition with how Lightroom starts up the plugin the very first time on a new install.

20160728.108 New graphics.
20160709.107 Maybe get around an issue with file-move specifications.
20160702.106 fixing a minor boo-boo introduced in the previous build

Added the following tokens to the templates that my plugins understand: FileModYYYY, FileModYY, FileModMM, FileModDD, FileModHH, FileModMIN, FileModSS, FileYYYY, FileYY, FileMM, FileDD, FileHH, FileMIN, FileSS.


Reworked the auto-publish stuff.

Added the {FilenameNumber} token to the templates that my plugins understand.

Don't complain if a file disappears somewhere between when a scan starts and when the plugin gets around to trying to import it.

Respect the "exclude names matching pattern" setting when considering sidecar files.


Try to work around an issue when moving files prior to import.


Added recognition for a few more video file extensions that Lightroom seems to now support. Importing video via a plugin could potentially be iffy, though, since I'm not sure that Lightroom's plugin structure supports video import in the same full way that Lightroom itself does. Not sure.

Added Russian-langauge support for the People-Support {People} tag.


Work around a bug in Lightroom on Windows that causes the Library Grid filter to be disabled when Folder Watch imports a photo. The plugin now grabs a copy of the filter settings just before import, then restores them just after.


Added the ability to use the photo-capture time when moving/renaming a file prior to import.


If there's an error in trying to import an image (e.g. because it's corrupt), you now have the option to pause processing and see the error, simply log the error, or ignore all import errors.

Added ChildOf and DescendantOf filters to the {Keywords} and {KeywordsAll} template tokens that my plugins understand.

Fixed how custom {People} formatting works with people keywords that have no birthday associated with them.


Added {SpeedKPH} and {SpeedMPH} to the list of template tokens supported by my plugins.

The {People} token wasn't working properly for some keywords without a registered birthday.


Allow the "Frequency to check" and "File unmodified for" values to be as low as 0.1 seconds. Not recommend for most folks, but might be useful for special needs.


Collections with very long names could cause the dialog to overflow the space Adobe allots for it.


Fixed the "SpecPeople:259: attemt to index al nil value" error.


When moving/renaming image files prior to import, look for sidecar files (e.g. XMP, audio, etc..., anything with the same filename except the extension) and move/rename them in parallel.

Added *.FFF files to the list that the plugin recognizes as image files.

Added the ability to keep a log of moved/imported files.


Allow folders with commas in their names to be watched.

Give the UI some love on Windows.


In the POODLE-vunerability dialog, display a raw URL of a page on my site that discusses the issue, so that folks can be independently sure that the dialog is indeed from me and not malware.


Offer the ability to abort a scan if a file can't be imported.

Fix to the date_diff() function supported by the LUA template token.

Plugin could crash when first launched after a Lightroom upgrade.

20141220.90 Fixed a boo-boo introduced in the previous build
20141219.89 Registration was broken on Lr2
20141019.88 Windows Only: Add a one-time check for the POODLE security vulnerability, and alert the user if it exists.
20140923.87 Added the LrMD5, LrLocalization, LrSystemInfo, and LrMath packages to the {LUA} template token.
20140902.86 New build system
20140731.84 Registration fix for Lr5.6
20140729.83 Previous updates broke support on Lightroom 2

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.


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.

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.


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

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

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

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


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.

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


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

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


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.


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


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.


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).


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.

Ignore corrupt develop presets instead of crashing due to them.


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.

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

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


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.


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

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.

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.)


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


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.

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.


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.

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

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

The 30 most-recent comments (out of 159; see all), most recent last...

You’re a god

— comment by Leonhard Kreisdig on May 31st, 2018 at 8:31pm JST (1 year, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Unfortunately the plugin doesn’t work for me. After starting (scan the folder) I got this message:
“Folder Watch initplugin115 attempt to call a string value” in Lightroom.
What’s the problem?

The next time you encounter this, please send a plugin log. —Jeffrey

— comment by Felix on June 19th, 2018 at 5:52am JST (1 year, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, another great plugin which I will put to much use. Thank you for your efforts.

In my workflow I get a bunch of images of various products on a weekly basis. I place these in the watch folder in their correct sub folders. The sub folders are never the same and will change on a weekly basis as I use brand and type info of the product when creating the new files.

I end up with a lot of empty sub folders in the watched folder which will not be used again. Is it possible to add an option to remove the folders if an file has been imported from the subfolder? Only the last ‘leaf’ folder has to be removed.

This seems a bit dangerous. After importing the first file, it might delete the folder before you take the next photo. (If you get the photo files as a one-time dump, then I’d think you’d just import them normally and not use Folder Watch?) If you’re on MacOS, it’s easy to create a little script to delete all empty folders in a certain tree (e.g. find path-to-root-folder -type d -empty -delete); it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s also possible under Windows. —Jeffrey

— comment by Robbert on July 7th, 2018 at 5:57am JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, great plug-in and works well for certain scenarios. I use Dropbox Folders with my clients to share photos and have to constantly use the Synchronise Folders option in LR. Your Plug-in works well to bring in new images that have been added to shared Dropbox Folders so that at least means whenever I am in LR i know I have any new images automatically imported. However, it doesn’t remove and photos that have been deleted from a Dropbox Folder so I still have to do a manual Synchronise.

Would it be easy/possible to add a Synchronise option to ensure LR catalogue matched the Dropbox Folders changes?

Sorry, no, that’s beyond the plugin’s scope (and not possible for a plugin anyway). —Jeffrey

— comment by alan ranger on July 16th, 2018 at 7:38pm JST (1 year, 2 months ago) comment permalink

I am using the Folder Watch addon with much satisfaction to sync two locations. Works very well!

However I have a request: would it be possible to ignore an folder when “also watch sub sub folders” is activated?

I tried including the folder name in the “Exclude names matching pattern”, but that did not work.

Would it be possible to implement an feature so “Exclude names matching pattern” matches the full path?

In this case I would add /foldername/ to the exclusions. The slashes would indicate its an folder to avoid breaking backward compatibility. Making it possible to use a seperate function for folder comparison.

Sorry if I am asking a lot here.

Seems reasonable; I’ve added it as of version 20181004.131. —Jeffrey

— comment by Robbert on September 4th, 2018 at 5:50pm JST (1 year ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeff,
I just stumbled on your plugin page and its awesome. I have a quick question, or maybe its a feature request.
Is there anyway to mark a subfolder as ignored in a scan. For example, say all my photos are under D:\pics
I have a sub folder called memes that shouldn’t be imported. But every other subfolder should. Is there a way to either put a file in the subfolder .ignore or something like that, or list the folder in options as an ignore.
Thanks again for the plug in.

As easy as that sounds to implement, it’s not, as the plugin uses a Lightroom API hook to walk the folder structure, and that API service gives no access to do this kind of short circuiting. Sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Jay on September 22nd, 2018 at 6:41am JST (11 months, 25 days ago) comment permalink

Does the “Folder Watch” Lightroom Plugin support CR3 files? I have “any importable filename” set, but it is not picking up CR3 files from my Canon M50. I am able to import the files using the Lightroom native “Import Photos and Videos” function.

Ah, I hadn’t noticed that Canon had a new filename extension. I’ve added support for it. —Jeffrey

— comment by David on October 4th, 2018 at 9:38am JST (11 months, 13 days ago) comment permalink

Great plugins, all around- you develop some really cool stuff!

Only question- is it possible to have the plugin grab only a specific type of rated star? Like, if a whole bunch of photos are being dumped into a folder, and say, 3 of them are rated 2 stars, can it only import and process those? Similar to the lock image on the camera function, but for ratings.

Thank you for everything you do!

Sorry for the delay in responding to your comment. What’s the use case for this workflow? What are you using to set star ratings outside of Lightroom? It sounds like a simple request, but for the plugin to know the star rating of a file that’s not been imported, it has to read the entire file (or, look for and read a sidecar, depending on the format) and try to figure out the star rating itself. Not really an easy thing. —Jeffrey

— comment by Adam on October 25th, 2018 at 7:15am JST (10 months, 23 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
long time happy users of Folder Watch from the UK.
I do have an issue however. I am a professional event photographer and we use viewing stations at out events. The sales stations run LR. The customers write down the number of the images they want to buy at the viewing stations then bring that to the sales station.
Sales staff then type all of the file numbers into the “text” search box in order to find the required images. However if Folder Watch is running it interferes with this process and interupts the search. Its very frustrating and has resulted in us not being able to use folder watch at an event where we are running viewing stations. The ability for us to quickly find images using the “text” search is crucial.
Would appreciate your thoughts and feedback.

In what way does Folder Watch interfere with the search? Is Folder Watch configured to run quietly in the background? —Jeffrey

— comment by Mark Eaton on December 4th, 2018 at 2:56am JST (9 months, 13 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks for your work on this plugin.
I would like to auto print once photo is imported, do you know if it is a possibility to do that with lua script, i don’t find any related command.

No, sorry, plugins have no access to the print module at all. —Jeffrey

— comment by Olivier on December 4th, 2018 at 9:52pm JST (9 months, 13 days ago) comment permalink

Hi there! Graham from San Francisco. I’m wondering if it’s possible handle photos imported from one folder with one set of metadata but those imported from another folder with a different set of metadata.

I tried creating two copies of the plugin, but LR disables one version — it seems you can only have one at a time.

(For context, my wife and I take photos very differently, so I tag hers and mine for a separate workflows — plus I add Creator metadata and so on. Right now I have to import them manually and change the metadata presets as I do.)


Sorry, there’s just the configuration that’s there. The plugin isn’t meant to be a replacement for all imports; it sounds like importing normally, with import presets, would apply best for your case. —Jeffrey

— comment by Graham Charles on December 14th, 2018 at 2:26pm JST (9 months, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, i was playing a little bit with the plugin (great work, by the way), but it seems not to be suitable to “import” (in terms of move, rename file, apply Metadata, …) files synced to the local filesystem by the CC Cloud. I guess, this is because these files are already (somehow) a part of the LR Catalog (log is saying “seen before is [true]”)?
thanks in advance, Mathias.

Yes, I would imagine that files synced by Lightroom are in Lightroom. The “seen before” part of the log refers to the fact that this image has been seen during a previous scan, and decided upon one way or the other, so it’s just being ignored this scan. The “new files only” option, for example, turns the “seen before” flag on for all the files in the target folder that are there when scanning starts. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mathias on December 30th, 2018 at 1:34am JST (8 months, 18 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, I want to use folder watch in my studio to display the last shot image( Lightroom) on a big screen (Business profile shots ). This way the customer can review as we go and we can adjust the shoot. Using flash Air card and copying images to a folder . Using folder watch to import into lightroom but displayed image stays on last image selected . Thanks in advace , Owen

There’s a “switch to photo” option in Folder Watch… is that turned on? If so, then are you perhaps using multiple monitors, and you need to set the secondary monitor mode to “Loupe – Normal”. —Jeffrey

— comment by Owen on January 5th, 2019 at 8:10pm JST (8 months, 12 days ago) comment permalink

Writing from Washington State. I have just installed the plug in for the first time . Windows 10 and latest Version of LP Classic CC. The plug in window does not show full page and I can see all the options to select, i.e browse the files to select. I get an arrow on the border of the window but it does not extend it. Also if I want to scan more than one file, do I just add it after the first file selected separated by a comma?

Thanks, Mitchel

Lightroom doesn’t give the plugin any control here; it’s frustrating because some combinations of screens and OS text settings make things not fit well. And yes, Lightroom shows the controls to resize the window, but doesn’t let you. If you send a screenshot so that I can see how it’s failing, I can try to update the plugin to get things to fit, but it’s an ongoing struggle with such a wide variety of systems out there. And yes, you can list multiple folders to scan, separated by commas. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mitchel Osborne on January 12th, 2019 at 10:29am JST (8 months, 5 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey, thanks a lot for this great plugin! My only problem is that for me it’s not usable if I can’t turn of the automatic creation of 1:1 previews while importing the files. On my Imac it only creates the smart-previews like I wish, but on my Macbook I didn’t find a way to stop the 1:1 preview-rendering 🙁
I thin I could manage to stop it on the Imac by importing some pictures manually and turn of the 1:1-preview-option in the manual import dialog. But for my Macbook it doesnt seem to work. I’m using Lightroom 8.1 on both computers. Imac with Mojave and Macbook with High Sierra. Do you have any Ideas to get rid of my macbooks automatical 1:1-preview-rendering while importing via your plugin?
Thanks a lot in advance for your help

The preview rendering is not influenced by the plugin, so I’d imagine it’s related to your settings. Check the “File Handling” settings in the “Catalog Settings” dialog, perhaps? &mash;Jeffrey

— comment by Joseph on January 17th, 2019 at 10:38pm JST (8 months ago) comment permalink

Sorry – I just wrote this message in the wrong plugin-section …

In case the stopping of the 1:1 previews is just not possible it would be also fine for me to import the data via LR-Autoimport. The only crux is that autoimport doesn’t support autorendering of smart-previews :-/ do you know if there is any possibility/plugin to automatically create smart-previews while auto-importing? I guess if you want to do it via an collection which is shares with lr cc, it only creates the smartpreviews in case there is an internetconnection (which i don’t have at the time when i want to import the pictures).

another solution could be that lr is doing the rendering of the 1:1 previews AFTER it has renderd all of the smart-previews. in this case I can stop the process manually if I want to start working on the pictures. do you know if there is an option for that in your plugin?

thausand thanks for your help!!

Plugins have no control over normal previews (1:1, etc.) at all, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Joseph on January 17th, 2019 at 10:52pm JST (8 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffery,

Love your plugins, I use a ton of them. When this plugin runs, it imports files one at a time, playing the “done importing” file each time. Do you know of any way to treat the whole batch of files as one operation, and only play the tone at the very end?

Thanks, and keep up the good work.

Lightroom is making a sound when a file is imported? I’m not familiar with that. —Jeffrey

— comment by Chris Alleyne-Levy on February 4th, 2019 at 3:38pm JST (7 months, 13 days ago) comment permalink

Hello there, the plugin works great, thank you for that. Though i have a small inconvenience. I have it set up to move the files from the watch folder and keep the subfolders structure, and i works fine, but it keeps the subfolders in the original folder, so i end up with a bunch of empty folders that i have to delete manually. Would it be possible to add a “move subfolders with files” option?

That seems like a reasonable idea. I’ve added it to the version that I just released. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eduardo on March 8th, 2019 at 5:19am JST (6 months, 9 days ago) comment permalink

Your plugins are awesome, thank you for the good work. may i requested a feature or a new plugin, idk if its possible, but would be great to have an auto hdr option or plugin. Lightroom hdr merge takes forever, there is no way to do it in bulk, so we have to select the pics, 3 by 3, merge it, select the next 3, merge and so on, there must be a better way…

Lightroom doesn’t open up its HDR stuff to plugins, sorry. —Jeffrey

— comment by Eduardo on March 8th, 2019 at 5:29am JST (6 months, 9 days ago) comment permalink

Hello there, the “clean up empty subfolders” thing doesn’t seem to be working, it moves the pictures, respects the subfolder structure in the new folder, but it doesnt delete the original subfolders.

Could you send a plugin log after you notice that a subfolder wasn’t cleaned up, being sure to note the full path of the offending folder? —Jeffrey

— comment by Eduardo on April 5th, 2019 at 8:00am JST (5 months, 12 days ago) comment permalink

Thank you for your plugins! They are much easier to work! Tell me, is it possible to add an imported photo to the STACK? I then work in PHOTOSHOP save 2 files, one TIF and JPG second. It is imported after saving, thanks to this plugin, but you have to add it to the stack manually. I tried to write a script considering the condition that photo:getRawMetadata(‘isInStackInFolder’) = False, but could not assign it a stack with the same file names, only with other extensions. That is, the stack already has filename.tif and filename.arw + virtual copies. Is it possible to send it there based on some conditions?

This sounds like too-specific a thing for Folder Watch, but I’ve gone ahead and added group-by-filename to the “Find Next Photo Group” feature of my Bag of Goodies plugin. —Jeffrey

— comment by Alexander on April 23rd, 2019 at 8:42pm JST (4 months, 24 days ago) comment permalink

This is a great plugin! Is there a way to also add watermarking?

Watermarking is something done during export/publish, and you can have Folder Watch invoke a Publish operation. So set up your Publish Service to include watermarking as you like. (Lightroom has rudimentary watermarking built in; consider the Lr/Mogrify plugin for advanced needs.) —Jeffrey

— comment by Josh on May 1st, 2019 at 6:32am JST (4 months, 16 days ago) comment permalink

The pluging imports one and one photo, as opposed to the native autoimport that does all images it discovers in a folder in one batch. For large amounts of photos that increases the time it takes to import using the plugin quite much. Is this intentional? Is there any workaround on this?

The plugin will import as many files as fit the current criteria (age and newness, etc.). If it’s not working as you think, perhaps send a plugin log after a failure, being sure to include specifics on exactly which file wasn’t imported when. —Jeffrey

— comment by Tore on June 8th, 2019 at 11:56pm JST (3 months, 8 days ago) comment permalink

Can i use it with multiple catalogs? each with their own settings and “drop” folders?

If you make a preset of settings, you can tie that to load automatically when you load a specific catalog. —Jeffrey

— comment by eduardo on July 20th, 2019 at 11:58pm JST (1 month, 27 days ago) comment permalink

Hello! I have to thank you for developing this plugin. It has allowed me to build a stable workflow at a live event I’ve been working for years.

In a nutshell, I shoot tethered RAW files with another application and use Folder Watch to import photos into Lightroom, apply a develop preset, and publish processed/watermarked jpegs to a shareable folder on my hard drive. This way, I can shoot RAW files all night while processed JPEG files get saved in close to real time.

Everything works great, but I have two minor issues. If I have a develop preset applied with the plugin, and then later in the develop panel change the settings for that develop preset (right-mouse-click on preset, “Update with Current Settings”), the preset then gets deselected in the Folder Watch plugin (Apply Develop Preset gets set to None). This is just a little annoying if I’m making quick adjustments during a job because after I change a Develop Preset, I then have to reopen the plugin settings to make sure it gets applied in the workflow. I only bring this up because there was one release awhile back that didn’t clear a preset if i altered it. If that’s something that can be looked at, I would appreciate it, but understand if it’s also a limitation of how Lightroom does business.

One other light issue i’ve noticed is that if I right mouse click on an image in a publish collection and hit “Mark as Up to Date” (so it won’t republish certain images after changes have been made), the plugin stops publishing all together, even if there is still a collection selected in “Publish This Collection”. Photos will import just fine, but I have to reload the plugin to restore it to full functionality any time i selectively mark certain photos as up to date.

Thank you! And I can’t overstate how helpful this plugin has been to my workflow.

The first issue seems to be a bug in Lightroom… I’ve submitted a bug report, and made a workaround in the version of the plugin that I just published. I can’t reproduce the second issue… please send a log just after encountering it. Thanks. —Jeffrey

— comment by John Carlson on August 3rd, 2019 at 7:29am JST (1 month, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

I hope you’re doing well.

Me and my colleague have been testing a few options for lightroom plugins to convert, run a basic preset and then export as jpeg. Your one looks exactly like what we’ve been looking for!

We’ve been testing but we’ve got one issue that we expect will be a simple fix.

We tried to use a basic preset with the plugin which converts the image to black and white and then publish via a publish service, we manage to get the basic flow running where plugin picks up images from the watched folder and then sends them to the folder defined int he publish service, but the preset doesn’t get applied at all, only the settings from publish service gets applied, we tried all the possible settings but still no luck.

Could you direct us in where we’re going wrong?

I take it you’re using the “Apply Develop Preset” option (third under “Upon Import of a New Image”), and it’s not working? Does it work when you apply the same preset manually? If so, please send a plugin log and I’ll take a look. —Jeffrey

— comment by David Price on August 15th, 2019 at 1:07am JST (1 month, 2 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Thanks for a great plugin.
Have had an issue, with FW placing new folders outside of the main images folder.
Which I then have to manually reimport.
Was on v 8..140
Just updated to latest.

Any thoughts on this?


The plugin doesn’t move images unless you’ve asked it to move images, and even then moves them only where you tell it to move them, so I’m not sure what exactly you’re reporting. Perhaps send a plugin log, citing specific examples. —Jeffrey

— comment by Niels on August 16th, 2019 at 2:12am JST (1 month, 1 day ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

This plugin has been working well for years now, but I’m having an issue. Years ago I suggested the “silently ignore errors” option which you implemented (thank you!). However, while this option works, I recently noticed that when an error occurs (particularly a file moving error), the plugin stops scanning and the “enable scan” option becomes unchecked. As a result, I have to go into the plugin manager to enable scanning again (and then it starts without issues). Would it be possible for the plugin to simply always continue scanning rather than stopping?

This issue happens when a file is not finished writing from a camera wifi SD card to the location that folder watch is monitoring (because sometimes the wifi signal is lost). Folder watch tries to move the file but can’t at that moment so an “unknown error” occurs and folder watch stops scanning. I have tried using longer times for “file unmodified for” but that still doesn’t work well because the SD card could be offline for an extended period of time. Eventually that same file finishes writing and after I re-enable scanning, folder watch moves the file and imports into lightroom without issues.

Would it be possible to make it so that the plugin continues to scan (by simply moving to the next file or just waiting for the next scan) rather than just completely stopping?

Any reply will be appreciated. Thank you.

I’m a bit worried about unintended consequences, but I’ve updated the plugin to honor the “ignore…” option even for file-move errors. We’ll see how it goes… —Jeffrey

— comment by Sputnik on August 16th, 2019 at 6:17pm JST (1 month ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey

I do like your plug-in very much.

There’s one thing I could not accomplish: I want to import only images files. Means: *.jpg, *.nef, *.dng, *.arw (all of them)

In the settings I found: Filenames to consider — Lets you include or exclude filenames that match a filename pattern like “*.jpg”.

This works as long as I only choose one type like *.jpg
I want to put in a list like: *.jpg *.nef,*.dng,*.arw
For me this doesn’t work. I tried several separaters like commas, pipe, hyphens…
Should it work?

Cheers, Werner

Yes, it should work….. if you upgrade to the new version of the plugin that I just released 😉 —Jeffrey

— comment by Werner on August 30th, 2019 at 10:37pm JST (2 weeks, 4 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,
thank you this plugin seems what I need to import whole sessions into LR.
Unfortunately, my incoming folder contains sub folders per sessions (client, name and location) and I don’t see how to add each session to a different collection, there is one ‘Add to standard collection’ but only existing and not using Template Tokens. What I would need is to add in a collection located in an existing collection set root then specify a sub collection set and collection path with text and tokens (like FolderName).
Master photo is in folder: {watch root}/client/20190831 Big Party
Add to collection is set as: (existing collection set) Import sessions (collection path): {FolderName=0}/{FolderName=1}
then photo lands in collection: Import sessions/client/20190831 Big Party

Would it be possible? It would save a lot of time in batch. Thank you for any feedback

Right now I move 1 session folder at a time in the watch folder, copy the name of the source folder, wait for the plugin to finish the job, go to an “Import unsorted session” collection, select all, create a collection with pasting the name in “Import sessions/client” collection set with “add selection to this collection” checked (having eventually created the client collection set while waiting)… 🙁

Lionel (France)

It’s not possible at the moment, sorry, but I’ll add it to the todo list. —Jeffrey

— comment by Lionel on September 14th, 2019 at 2:03am JST (3 days, 9 hours ago) comment permalink
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