I'm an amateur, and have just downloaded Lightroom/Photoshop CC. I understand there are challenges importing pictures from Mac's photos app to Lightroom, and have worked around it by putting my photos on an external hard drive and importing from there. However, the images end up in Lightroom as "thumb_IMG" files, and I'm pretty sure the original quality is lost in translation. Any thoughts?

  • How did you export the image from your Mac ? It seems that you only exported the "preview" of you image (low quality). – Olivier Sep 18 '16 at 10:01
  • I suspect you're right, I'm just not sure why. I copied the photos in the Photos app and pasted them into the external drive. Then imported the files from the external drive into Lightroom. – M. Roberts Sep 19 '16 at 21:17
  • Did importing the original files worked ? – Olivier Sep 19 '16 at 22:12

thumb_IMG files are thumbnail images that Photos generates for imported images. So, you've probably imported the thumbnails, and not the originals.

Assuming you have a default Photos/OSX setup:

  1. Go into your home directory's Pictures folder.
  2. Right-click/ctrl-click on your Photos Library.photoslibrary "file" and select Show Package Contents.

    This will open up the directory that Photos uses to store everything.

  3. Copy the Masters subfolder to your external hard drive.

    The Masters subfolder contains all of your full-size original files.

  4. Import the new copy of the Masters folder on your external hard drive into Lightroom.

Be careful on how you choose to import the images. You have four choices:

  • Copy as DNG—This converts your RAW/JPEG file to a DNG file, and places it in the specified Destination on import.
  • Copy—This simply makes a copy of the file and places it in the specified Destination.
  • Move—This moves the file to the specified Destination, (i.e., deletes the file from the original source).
  • Add—This leaves the file where it's currently resident and simply adds its path to the current Lightroom catalog (i.e., the files would stay where they are on the external hard drive).

This Youtube video with Julieanne Kost gives a good overview on Lightroom's import feature. It's based on Lr5, but still works pretty well for LrCC.

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  • This is all great guidance. Thank you inkista for the detailed steps. Not only am I new to Lightroom, but am also a bit new to Mac, so this is a big help. Very excited to get to work on my photos, and I appreciate the help getting past STEP 1!! I'll give it a shot with this guidance suggested and report back. – M. Roberts Sep 21 '16 at 11:41
  • @M.Roberts, you're welcome. Because this is SE, and not a messageboard, consider accepting, or (when you get the rep) upvoting an answer instead of a thanks comment; also, consider editing your original question with your update. Comments are fleeting and can be deleted; they should be treated as footnotes. Please, take the tour if you plan to stick around. – inkista Sep 21 '16 at 16:10

You have probably imported only low-quality preview files.

You have at least 2 options:

  • Import the master directory of your images into Lightroom. Things can get messy if you are still using another editing software besides LR.

  • Copy the physical files directly from their repertories into a new one and import this new repertory to Lightroom.

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