Ingest is the name of the process Photo Mechanic uses to import and copy photos from a card, folder, or other location. You can save time using the Ingest process to batch rename files, organize photos into folders, and add metadata information. 


To launch the Ingest dialog box, navigate to File: Ingest…  
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

Starting from the upper left, the first area is Source Paths. From here you can specify if you want to ingest from Disks (such as SD cards), Folders (from any location, including  SD cards), or From Selection (a selected group of photos within a folder or disk).

Note: to use Open as Selection from an SD card, you need to first change your preferences to open the SD card as a contact sheet. 

Incremental Ingest: copy new photos only  This option creates a file on your disk that tracks which photos you’ve ingested. 

Auto Ingest: This option will automatically ingest from the selected file or disk when you open the Ingest dialog. Note that this is not the same as opening the ingest dialog as soon as you insert a disk. 

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

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.  Ignore just copies photos into your destination folder and eliminates folders. Keep separate source folder names only copies just the parts of the folder structure that are separating different photos and removes folders that only contain other folders. Preserve all source directories copies the entire folder structure. 

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. 

Check Use folder sequence if you want to reuse the same folder name but keep separate folders, such as separating photos for multiple cards for the same photoshoot.

Destination Folder Roots

Use this section to specify the location for your ingested photos. You can also specify a secondary location to store a backup copy.

Filter Files

Use this option to only ingest certain types of flies, such as locked, unlocked, RAW, and non-RAW. 

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.)

Rename ingested photos as

You can take advantage of the ingest process to rename your photos from the defaults set by your camera. You can either enter text, use variables, or use a combination. Use the Sequence option to 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 t the last number you used between ingests until you reset it.

Open Contact Sheet during Ingest: Choose to open a contact sheet as files are being ingested or only after ingest is finished. You can also choose not to open a contact sheet if you want to ingest all the photos before culling.

Unmount Source Disk after Ingest: This ejects or unmounts the card after ingest is finished. 

Erase Source Disk(s) after Ingest: this option checks to see if the photo has been copied and then erases the photo after the transfer. Use extreme caution. For best practice, we recommend that you do not use this setting and instead manually erase photos/reformat camera disks after verifying that all your photos have been successfully transferred.