Adding a folder of images to your library allows you to quickly access, organize, and work with photos located on your hard drive, on external hard drives, and even synced cloud storage. When you add a folder, none of your photos are moved. Luminar scans the folder and any subfolders and creates a thumbnail and link to the images inside. If there are folders inside the folder being added, Luminar will keep the folder structure. Folders tie directly to folders on your hard drive. Luminar works with the real-world folder structure of your hard drive(s).

Adding Folders from an Internal Hard Drive

There are three ways to add a folder to your Luminar library. All three methods accomplish the same goal.

Adding with the Library Sidebar

  • Clicking on the + sign to the right of the word folder on the sidebar opens up a browser window in Explorer (Windows) or Finder (Mac.)
  • Here you can navigate to and folders on your hard drive and select them.

When you select a folder, it will be added as a top-level folder to your folder collection.
All folders contained within an added folder are also added as subfolders.

All the folders added will now appear under the word Folders in the Library Sidebar. Each of these folders is considered a Master Folder. Any folders contained within a Master folder are added as subfolders. Additional folders within those folders are also added. These are referred to as Subfolders.

  • Any folder with a small disclosure triangle to the left of its name contains subfolders.
  • Clicking on the disclosure triangle will reveal the subfolders within a Master Folder.
  • You can add additional subfolders to any folder in the future by right-clicking on a folder and choosing the New Subfolder command.

Adding from the Open Button Menu


The Open Button menu is located on the left side of both the Library and Edit toolbars. Clicking on the Open Button menu will reveal two options. Choose Add Folder with Images to add an existing folder on your computer to your library. Once selected, folders are added the same way as from the Library sidebar.

Adding with the menu bar

You can add a folder from the main menu by choosing File > Add Folder with Images. Once selected, folders are added the same way as from the Library Sidebar.

Adding Folders from an External Hard Drive


You can add folders located on an external hard drive. The process is the same as adding folders from an internal hard drive. Be aware that if the external hard drive is disconnected from your system, the media will go offline. If the media is offline, the name of the folder is greyed out, and a warning triangle appears next to the folders name.

  • When an offline folder is opened, thumbnails of the original photos will be available.
  • You can flag, rate, and label offline images, but you will not be able to edit the images until the external hard drive is reconnected.
  • Offline images will also have a warning triangle in the upper left corner of the thumbnail.
  • You can still organize these offline images into Albums. You cannot move offline images into a folder.

When the external hard drive is reattached and mounted, the folder and all the images inside will come back online. The folder will no longer be greyed out, and the warning triangle next to the folder’s name and on each of the images will no longer be there. Any tagging, rating, and labeling done while the folder is offline will be remembered. Also if any images had been edited before the external drive being removed, their edits will be remembered when the drive is reconnected.


If your system cannot locate the drive, you can also right-click on the folder and choose Locate Drive.

Adding Folders from Synced Cloud Storage

Luminar lets you add folders from cloud storage locations that are synced to your computer. In this case, synced means that a physical copy of the photo resides on either your internal or external hard drive. If only a reference copy of the photo is located in the cloud storage photo, Luminar will not be able to create a thumbnail or be able to edit the image.

Adding folders from synced cloud storage is very useful in situations where a client or family member adds images remotely to a cloud service server. Once these images are synced locally to your computer, Luminar automatically adds them to your Library.

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