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How to Import Photos to Photoshop

Published: 20/06/2021

In Photoshop, importing an image refers to the procedure of adding new image files to a Photoshop project you are already working on. In this tutorial, we will elaborate on how to import photos to Photoshop using different methods. By learning these techniques, you can magnify your productivity and efficiency in no time.

How to Import Photos to Photoshop

You may think that adding or importing new photos into Photoshop will be similar to opening files on other programs. However, due to the unique layer structure of Photoshop, that is not the case. Importing new images to Photoshop requires some additional steps, unlike other image editing applications.

Nevertheless, the number of steps required to import images in Photoshop may be more, but the procedure is fairly simple. In addition to that, it is more nondestructive and hassle-free. So, let’s learn the different ways of importing images into Photoshop.

Different Methods of Importing Photos Into Photoshop

When we start with a Photoshop project, we usually begin with opening an existing image in Photoshop. Once the file is opened, we proceed with the editing procedure. However, in some scenarios, we might need to open more than one image in Photoshop at the same time. 

Either we are creating collages, blending different images, or designing a layout, we may need to use multiple images or objects at once. Plus, each of the images must have its own layer within a single Photoshop document. This is when the feature of importing an image comes in handy. 

Here are some of the easiest methods through which we can import as many pictures as we like into Photoshop.

Importing Images by the Open and Drag Method

This method of importing images to a Photoshop project is very easy and conventional. Here are the steps you will have to follow for this importing technique:

  1. If you are importing images, you must have your Photoshop project already running. Go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface and click on ‘File.’
  2. From the drop-down menu, click on ‘Open.’ Alternatively, you can press CTRL + O to achieve the same results.
Opening a file in Photoshop
  1. As you select open, you will see the dialog box for File Explorer. Find the file that you want to import and open it.
  2. You will now see that your file is open in Photoshop. However, it is still not imported to your Photoshop project. You can see that your existing Photoshop project and the newly added photo both have different tabs. This is because whenever you open up a new file in Photoshop, it gets opened up in a different document. 
  3. In order to add this new image to your project, we will use the dragging technique over here. Simply click on the image, and while holding down the mouse button, drag it across your Photoshop canvas. Keep dragging it until it reaches the tab of your existing Photoshop project. As your cursor touches the other tab, your screen will switch to your project. Now, drop this image onto your canvas.
  4. You will now see that your desired photo is imported into your Photoshop project and has its own individual layer.
Successfully imported photo with its own individual layer

Importing Images by the Drag and Drop Method

The above method imports images into your Photoshop project, but it may affect the quality of your photo if resized. This is because, with that method, your images are added as rasterized objects. On the other hand, the drag and drop method imports new images as smart objects.

Here are the steps to follow for importing images into Photoshop using this technique:

  1. With your project up and running in Photoshop, go to your file explorer.
  2. Find the image that you want to import to your project.
  3. As you see your image, simply click it once and keep your mouse button held down. 
  4. Drag this image directly from your explorer onto your Photoshop canvas.
  5. This time, you will see that the image will not load in a different document. Instead, it will be imported onto your project.
  6. You can see a small folded paper icon on the thumbnail of this layer. 
Imported photo as a smart object in Photoshop
  1. This icon shows that this new image is a smart object. Therefore, this method is best for you if you want to resize this image as it will not affect the pixels and quality of your imported photo.

Importing Images by the Placing Method

This is the third method of importing images into Photoshop that we will discuss here. When we use this method, it also results in the new image being added as a smart object. So, let’s look at the steps we will follow:

  1. Go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface and click on ‘File.’
  2. You will see a drop-down menu. From this menu, select ‘Place Embedded.’
Using the Place Embedded option in Photoshop
  1. You will then see the dialog box for file explorer. Navigate to the file you want to import and open it.
  2. You will see that your desired image has now been imported to your Photoshop project, and that too as a smart object.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Import Multiple Photos Into Photoshop at the Same Time?

Yes, you can easily import multiple photos into Photoshop at the same time. Firstly, let us tell you that all three methods explained above allow you to import as many images as you want. However, you will have to repeat the whole procedure for every image. This may be time-consuming.

Thankfully, Photoshop also offers an alternate method of importing images, which is dedicated to importing multiple images at the same time. To use this feature, you will have to follow these steps:

  1. Go to the menu bar present at the top of your Photoshop interface and click on ‘File.’
  2. From the drop-down menu, navigate to Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
Loading multiple photos using the Load Files into Stack option
  1. You will then see a dialog box, through which you can select as many files as you want. Click on Browse and find the images that you want to import. Hold down the CTRL key, and select each of the images individually, and then click OK. You will see that all the files you selected will appear as a list in the dialog box. Press ‘OK.’
Load Layers dialog box in Photoshop
  1. At this point, all your desired images will be imported onto your Photoshop project at the same time.

What if I Want to Convert My Smart Object Layer Into a Regular Layer?

If you want, you can convert your smart object layer into a regular Photoshop layer. In two of the methods above, we saw that the newly imported images open up as a smart object. However, if you don’t want that, you can convert it easily by following the steps below:

  1. Select the smart object layer that you want to convert. 
  2. Go to Layer > Smart Objects > Rasterize. Alternatively, you can also convert it through the layers panel. Simply right-click on your smart object layer. This will open a popup menu. From the menu, select the ‘Rasterize Layer’ option.
  3. You will now see that the thumbnail of the selected layers no longer has the folded paper icon. It means that it is not a smart object anymore.

However, we recommend you use smart objects while editing multiple images within the same photoshop document. It offers you various benefits. Some of the most useful benefits include keeping your layers panel organized, preventing your images from getting pixelated or blurry during editing, allowing you to edit each object individually, and many more.

Conclusion

Photoshop is a massive image editing program that allows you to work with multiple images with maximum ease and minimum effort. In order to take full benefit of Photoshop’s layers feature, you must know how to import and work on multiple images simultaneously in Photoshop. 

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