TABLE OF CONTENTS


The workflow begins for many Photo Mechanic users with Ingest... While there are many options on the Ingest window, the main job is to copy your images from a source (such as a camera card) to a destination (such as an external hard drive).

Ingest can automate tasks involved in getting your images from a source to the correct destination for your workflow, such as: renaming your images, adding metadata, creating folders, and keeping track of which images have already been copied. Since Ingest works as a background task, you won't have to wait for the ingest process to finish before you can work on your images. As soon as it has copied some images into the Primary Destination Path, a contact sheet will open to that location.

Starting ingest and bringing up the ingest window 

The ingest window can be accessed by

  • Going to the File menu and selecting Ingest... 
  • Keyboard shortcut: Command+G (MacOS), Ctrl+G (Windows)
  • When Inserting a camera memory card (see Auto Ingest below) 
  • When Photo Mechanic is launched (this is set in Preferences **needs link

To begin an ingest, you must select a Source to ingest from, and set a Destination for ingest to copy your images to.

You can begin to work while an ingest process is running in the background.

Tip: Verify that all photos have successfully been ingested and copied to your hard drive before ejecting your camera cards. You can do this automatically by checking Unmount Source Disk(s) after Ingest.

Understanding ingest options [Selecting a Source]

There are three types of sources that Photo Mechanic can ingest from

  • Disks- Will show all disks connected to your computer: memory cards (SD, CompactFlash, XQD, etc.), hard drives, and other connected drives
    • The Rescan button will scan for any drives that are mounted to the computer but do not appear in the source list. Photo Mechanic should automatically show drives as soon as they are connected, but if you don't see them, select Rescan.
    • The Unmount button will unmount the selected drive(s). 
  • Folders- Will show any folders that you have added to the list below as sources for Ingest.
    • Select Add button to choose folders to add to the list of folders to use as an Ingest source.
    • Select Remove to remove the selected folders from the list. 
  • From Selection - Will use the selection on the Contact Sheet as the source for the Ingest.

Once a source type is selected, the available sources of that type will appear in the list below.  Select a disk, folder, or Selected Items from Contact Sheet to choose it as your ingest source. To ingest multiple disks or folders during a single session, hold Command on MacOS or Control on Windows and while selecting each disk you would like to ingest.

Setting a destination

To set a destination for Ingest to copy your images to, select Primary Destination...

  • This will bring up your operating system's folder picker window, which will allow you to select a drive or folder to use as the primary destination
    • If you would like to copy the contents of your Source to two locations, check the box for Secondary and select its destination.
  • By default, Photo Mechanic will create a folder with today's date in the format of YYYYMMDD inside of your Primary (or Secondary) destination, but this is highly customizable. Read more below.

Once a Source has been selected and a Destination has been set, selecting the Ingest button at the bottom right of the window will begin the Ingest. By default, as soon as some files have been copied to your Primary destination, a contact sheet will open and can view the newly ingested images immediately while Photo Mechanic continues to work on the ingest task. 


Note: It is not necessary to ingest images in order to see them on a contact sheet.  Read more about how to open a contact sheet of images that are already stored in a permanent location. 


Incremental ingets, auto ingests, auto cataloging, and merged destinations 

Incremental Ingest: When enabled, only new photos since the last Ingest on this computer will be copied. Any time you do an Ingest, Photo Mechanic will remember which images it has Ingested to that computer, so this option does not need to be enabled for a prior Ingest in order for it to work when enabled on a later Ingest.

Auto Ingest: With this option enabled, Photo Mechanic will automatically begin an Ingest when a camera card is mounted to your computer, using the most recent settings on the Ingest window. Note that in order for Auto Ingest to work, your General Preferences must be set to Show Ingest Dialog for the 'on mount of camera disk' settings.

**THESE DONT APPEAR FOR ALL USERS ALL THE TIME** 

Merge Folders into Same Destination: Collapse the folder structure from your source (such as your SD card). Note: This option only appears when multiple items are selected in the Source list. 

Auto Catalog: This option will only appear if you are using Photo Mechanic Plus and allows you to add your photos to your active catalogs as you ingest. 


Tip: If you'd like Photo Mechanic to start ingesting photos as soon as you plug a memory card in, you must also go to Preferences> General and change On Mount of Camera Disk to Show ingest dialog.


Source Directory Structure


More ingest destination options:

Below your source options are two dropdown menus which will determine what folders get created inside of your primary and secondary destination folders.

  • Source Directory Structure- this option determines if Photo Mechanic will keep the folder names from your memory card when it copies your files to their destination. 
    • Ignore: the folder structure from the source will not be copied over to the destination
    • Keep Separate source folder names only:only copies just the parts of the folder structure that are separating different photos
    • Preserve all source directories: copies the entire folder structure on the source drive.

These options allow you to control if and how folders are copied while ingesting photos. Photo Mechanic will ingest the photos from nested folders no matter which of these options you choose. 

Copy Photos

In addition to keeping or discarding the photo structure of your memory cards, you can choose to create new folders. Advanced users can also use variables to create folder names. 

Your choices to copy photos are:

  • Directly into primary and secondary folder(s): Ingest will copy your images directly into the Primary Destination folder, as well as the Secondary if set.
  • into dated folder only: Ingest will create a folder of the date that the Ingest is performed in the YYYYMMDD format. 
  • into folder with name: With this option selected, Ingest will create a folder with the name typed in the text box that appears under "Folder Name:". 
  • into dated folder with name: A combination of the two options above. A folder with the name entered into the "Folder Name" field will be created inside of a folder with the current date, and the dated folder will be created inside of the Primary (and Secondary) destination. 

When using one of the options above that allow you type type in your own folder name, there will also be a checkbox for Use Folder Sequence. With this option enabled, the {ingestsequence} variable will be added to the foldername field. This variable works much like the {seqn} variable, but instead of incrementing for every photo, it increments for each Selected Ingest source, or every completed Ingest.


Filter Files

Ingest can be limited to copy only certain files from the source. By default, Photo Mechanic will not filter out any files, and Ingest will copy everything from the source. 

  • Filtering for locked or unlocked photos: Many camera models will allow you to lock files on your memory card to prevent deletion. When set to "Copy Locked and Unlocked Photos", Ingest will copy the locked files first.
  • Filtering for file type: Specifying non-RAW photos can help speed up an Ingest or could be used to separate video files from RAW files.


Note: Cameras with two memory card slots often only lock files on one card. If filtering for locked files isn't working correctly when using a camera with two card slots, make sure you are using the card where the camera locked the files. 

If you have a Metadata (IPTC) Template, you can apply the metadata to your ingest. Choose local (ingest only) or global (for all uses of the Metadata Template.)

Applying Metadata Template on Ingest

Read more about the Metadata Template here: Using the Metadata (IPTC) Template.

When Apply Metadata Template to Photos is enabled, Photo Mechanic will apply the Local or Global Template, depending on which option you have selected beneath the Metadata (IPTC) Template button.

Local Template

When Ingesting images, you can use the Local or Global Metadata Template. The Local template is 'local' to the Ingest window. If Use Local Template is selected, choosing Metadata (IPTC) Template..." will open the local Template, and the local template will be applied on ingest. Conversely, when Use Global Template is selected, choosing Metadata (IPTC) Template... will open the global template. Additionally, when the  metadata template window is opened from anywhere else in Photo Mechanic, that will also use the Global Metadata Template.


Tip: The local and global templates allow you to set up a separate metadata template for Ingest from what you would use elsewhere in Photo Mechanic. One way this can be useful is filling out the the local template with information like Copyright or Location Taken that will apply to the entire ingest, and progressively fill out the metadata template to apply to smaller groups of ingested Images.

Rename ingested photos as

When this option is enabled, the files copied on ingest will be renamed according to your settings. Batch renaming is also available in the Copy/Move Photos utility and when using the Uploader. You can take advantage of the ingest process now to rename your photos from the defaults set by your camera. You can enter text, use variables, or use a combination.  

Tip: Don't forget to include spaces, dashes, or underscores between words and variables where necessarily for legibility. 


Use the Sequence option to add a number count to each filename. Specify the first number in the photo count and how to increment. We recommend starting with 001 rather than 1. Note that Photo Mechanic will default to the last number you used between ingests until you reset it. 

Additional options: 

When to open contact sheets:

  • Open Contact Sheets during Ingest  - As soon as the Ingest operation copies some files to the destination, a Contact Sheet will open and display the newly copied images
  • Open Contact Sheets after Ingest - The contact sheet for any Ingest destinations will only open once the Ingest has completed
  • Never open Contact Sheets - Ingest will not open any Contact Sheets for you. You can still open a Contact Sheet using any of the methods described in Introduction to Photo Mechanic contact sheets

Open Contact Sheets in background: When this option is enabled, Photo Mechanic will follow your setting for when to open a newContact Sheet (as set above), but will not make that Contact Sheet the active tab. Enabling this can be useful if you would like to keep a certain tab active while Photo Mechanic is working on an Ingest that creates multiple destination folders.

After Ingest

Unmount Source Disk after Ingest: Enabling this option ejects or unmounts the card after Ingest is finished. This option is only visible if you have Disks selected as your Ingest Source.  

Erase Source Disk(s) after Ingest: With this option enabled, Photo Mechanic will erase any source disks once it successfully completes an ingest. For best practice, we recommend that you do not use this setting. This option is only visible if you have Disks selected as your ingest source.

Bottom Buttons:

  • Lightning Bolt: Snapshots
  • Variables: Shows the list of Photo Mechanic's variables. Read more about Variables here: Introduction to Photo Mechanic variables
  • Job: Opens the User/Client Variables panel
  • Close: Close the Ingest window, but keep any changes that were made since the Ingest window was open for next time
  • Cancel: Close the Ingest window and forget all changes that were made on the Ingest window
  • Ingest: Start the Ingest with the currently set options on the Ingest window.