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File naming - when useful

Joined
Nov 30, 2012
Messages
441
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Lightroom Version
Classic
I remember that era, about 10 years ago. Microsoft apparently decided they needed to muscle in on Adobe's lucrative turf, so they started amassing photography and graphics software. They put more effort behind providing raw codecs for Windows. They released Microsoft Pro Photo Tools with metadata support and geotagging. They bought iView. They hired away some Adobe staff to help Microsoft Publisher. I think they worked with Dell to configure computers marketed as Windows graphics workstations for pros. They sponsored Art Wolfe's TV show about travel and wildlife photography.

They used to flog the URL microsoft.com/prophoto at various pro conferences and in ad campaigns to let everyone know that professional photography was their thing. You can still see vestiges of that era on the Microsoft website if you enter that URL into a search engine. For example, there's a page that says you can still download the Microsoft Expression Media User Guide, and there are blog posts about Microsoft Pro Photo Tools. But one day somebody at Microsoft decided that they weren’t going to beat Adobe, all the funding was apparently pulled, all the "pro photography" products withered on the vine, and today, the microsoft.com/prophoto website directory now redirects to the Microsoft home page.

I kinda wonder how the digital photo world might be different if they had kept it up...
 

thommy

Active Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2011
Messages
163
Location
Sweden
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
Thanks for all feedback and now I more and more realize I should have named my photos during import and why.
How would you recommend doing a rename of my current photos that already have been imported into Lightroom?
I have around 75000 photos in my catalog and many folders. Folders are always named YYYY-MM-DD during import.
Maybe Library-->Rename is the only and best option?

Thommy
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2007
Messages
5,468
Location
London
Lightroom Experience
Power User
There are many good renaming schemes Thommy, and that web site or Peter's book mention a few criteria for deciding which are good. These influenced LR's defaults. For me, the big ones are:
  • Uniqueness - the same name should never be used for two different photos
  • Natural sort order in OS and DAM - so date first, year, month, day etc, and don't use month name which would make January sort after April
  • Not as key is to have short text so Finder/Explorer lists shows roughly what the photo contains
Conrad's was strong, mine happens to be "YYMMDD_1234 short description" where 1234 is a 4 character, leading zeroes sequential number for all keepers.

But one other consideration is important. If you choose to rename existing photos, your backup copies will no longer have the same names as the files catalogued in . You'd need to do a new backup.

So in this situation my recommendation is to get things right from now on, leave the existing stuff alone.
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
28
Location
Photographer and Workshop leader
Lightroom Experience
Advanced
Lightroom Version
I've been using the same naming structure for about 12 years. I'm using Photo Mechanic as a front end for downloads, naming, rating, and keywording - and it uses variables. It's a lot faster than Lightroom, but the ideas are similar.

My folder structure is intended to stand alone without Lightroom or any other catalog product. I need the flexibility to remain organized if I change software sometime in the future.
I include a logical main topic, client name, or location in the name. For common locations or clients that I photograph often, I use a Master folder with subfolders that include the year. For example, I have a Master folder - Smokies, subfolders such as Smokies_2019, etc.
I have a different folder for each day of shooting. If I have a large volume from a single day, I use a 2 digit folder sequence number - 01, 02, etc. The default is simply 01 for every folder.
I include the date in every folder name. It's the Create Date for the images in the folder. With Photo Mechanic I use a wildcard to automatically populate the date in the folder name.
I've considered using my initials or name in the file name based on a suggestion from a stock agency, but I don't because it makes the name too long. I've got it in many places in the metadata.

My file names follow the same methodology. The file name matches the folder name for that day. It's rare for me to break files from one day into two separate folders with separate names, but I will do that if the content is significantly different.
My file names always include the location, client or event name, create date, and a 6 digit non-repeating sequence number. The 4 digit sequence number of the camera allows too many repeats so it is not unique. It's also possible to have two cameras on the same day have the same image number, so everything has a unique sequence number I assign on Download or Ingest.

The idea behind this is I can search by location, file number, or keyword and very quickly find what I need with or without LR.
 
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