I know a lot of people use their phone as their main camera these days, and this tip will be of no use to those people, but some of us still enjoy the power and flexibility of a dedicated photographic device (OK, a “camera”) and don’t mind that, somewhat like the days of film, we have to wait to see our results. This tip makes the step of ingesting the photos off your memory card to your Mac just that bit more frictionless.

This tip requires that you be using a Mac. Not only is that just how I roll, but it requires a piece of software only available for Mac – NoddleSoft’s Hazel.

In short, I have developed a set of Hazel rules which get the files off the memory card when inserted, and do so safely. Below is a gallery of screen captures which show the rule definitions. Click on the images to see full size. (Or see the end of the post for a download.)

There are three rules:

Go into subfolders is a standard Hazel technique to allow the rest of the rules to work down an arbitrary subfolder tree.

Ingest photos is where the real work happens, and where you’ll need to do some configuration for your own setup.

First, you’ll want to set the matching to suit your requirements. I’ve got mine set to find Pentax RAW files (which have a .PEF extension).

Second, you’ll need to pick two folder locations. The first is the “backstop” folder. The images will be moved here from the card, retaining the original folder structure. The second action does a copy to an “imports” folder without replicating the subfolder structure. The idea here is that the “backstop” folder is a temporary backup of the card contents (and allows for managing duplicates if you ingest the same contents more than once), and the “imports” folder is where you will ultimately want the images stored. In my case, my digital asset manager will be watching the “import” folder. I have an extra rule watching my “backstop” folder and clearing out stuff more than a month old.

Remove empty folders does exactly what it says. Without it, you memory card would end up with masses of empty folders which is undesirable.

Please pay particular attention to the options for the copy and the move in the second rule. These ensure de-duplication and safety.

Below I’ve included my “backstop” folder cleanup rules, which are very similar to the main rules in structure.

Finally, there’s the question of “what if I have multiple memory cards?” You have two choices.

You can ensure the volume names of all of your cards are the same. Then Hazel won’t know the difference and will process each one the same.

Or, you can use rule synching. This is a feature introduced in Hazel version 4. You can read all about it here.

To save time, you can grab my two rule sets here to import directly into Hazel.


1 Comment

Photo Enthusiast · 24 December 2018 at 09:51

EXACTLY what I was looking for. Thank you! Had not explored the realm of folder processing with Hazel, and and tired of limitations and speed of ingestion with Lightroom.

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