Set Digital Camera Auto-import Options in Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard addressed a long-standing complaint for those of us with multiple digital cameras--we can finally set different preferences for different devices. That is, when I connect my iPhone, I don't necessarily want iPhoto to launch. In OS X 10.5, though, that's what happened. In 10.6, you can change this behavior by running Image Capture with the device you wish to modify connected and powered on.

Select your camera in the Devices section of Image Capture, then look down at the bottom of the left-hand column to modify its behavior when connected.

You can use the pop-up menu to specify which program--or no program--runs when you connect that camera, and two checkboxes let you share the camera and delete pictures after importing. (Changes made here will be active the next time you connect the particular device.)

This ability alone is a nice upgrade over the (lack of) control we had in OS X 10.5. But there's actually a bit more you can do here, at least if you select the AutoImporter option. The AutoImporter is exactly what you might suspect it is--a small little application that automatically imports all the images from your camera when you connect it. While ImageCapture doesn't offer any control over how AutoImporter works, it turns out that this little program has preferences of its own.

To set the AutoImporter option, you just need to launch it yourself, outside of the control of ImageCapture or your digital camera. In the Finder, navigate into the top-level System folder, then drill down into Library -> Image Capture -> Support -> Application.

There you'll find the AutoImporter application; double-click it to launch it like any other OS X application. Once running, select AutoImporter -> Preferences, and you'll that you can modify its behavior in a couple of useful ways. First, you can change the destination folder using the pop-up menu at the top of the dialog.

Second, and quite useful, is the ability to create a new custom-named subfolder.

Check the box to create a subfolder for each import, then drag and drop each of the label items (in blue on the right) into the filename field. You can intermingle your own text, too, to create a naming scheme of your liking.

Finally, you can also delete the images after importing (which you can also set in ImageCapture). Keep in mind that the settings you use appear apply to any camera that you set up to use the AutoImporter. That's why I've created a naming scheme that includes the camera name, so imports from my various cameras will be found in easily-identifiable folders.

Once you've got the preferences set to your liking, close the window and quit AutoImporter. From now on, any camera you set up (in ImageCapture) to use AutoImporter will use the preferences you created.

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