Renaming Files on Import

OK, now back to the Import Photos dialog box. You can rename files on import, but in order to do so, you must first choose "Copy Photos to a new location and Import", or "Move Photos to a new location and Import", or "Copy Photos as DNG and Import" from the File Handling pop-up menu (circled).

Figure 2-21

With these choices, the renaming features are enabled (circled). The renaming features are not enabled if you select Import Photos at their Current Location.

Why rename?

Digital cameras generate unique file names but you'll probably want to customize these file names on import to make them more useful and to lessen the chance of inadvertently overwriting them at a later date. Most digital cameras are capable of generating eight-character file names. If you set your camera to generate sequential numbers and don't reset every time you erase files from card memory, you are off to a good start. However, what happens if you shoot with multiple cameras by the same manufacturer? The chances of creating image files with the same name goes up and so does the chance you'll overwrite one file with another.

Figure 2-22

To avoid this potentially disastrous situation, Peter Krogh, a member of the Iceland Adventure team and author of the definitive work, The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, recommends you create a unique file name the first time you "touch" your image file and never change it. (Derivatives, of course, get their own unique file name later.) A good time to do this, he argues, is when you import images into Lightroom.

Creating custom file names

Although several presets are available in the Filename Template Editor pop-up menu, I prefer create a custom file-naming nomenclature recommended by Peter Krogh.

Figure 2-23

To do this:

  1. Select Edit... (circled) from the Filename pop-up menu.
  2. The Filename Template Editor will appear. Directly in the field window (circled) type in your name, followed by an underscore. Use the Delete key to correct any errors.
  3. f02024.png
    Figure 2-24
  4. Choose Date (YYYYMMDD) in the Additional field pop-up menu and click Insert. (You'll have a choice how the year, month, and day are displayed. I prefer the YYYYMMDD format.) The actual date will be derived from camera EXIF data. Type an underscore after the Date field.
  5. Choose Filename under the Image Name field and click Insert. Again, the actual file name is derived from camera EXIF data.

As you "build" and customize the file name an example will appear above the field window. When you are finished, select Save as New Preset from the Preset pop-up menu. Name the preset and then click Done. Next time you select the pop-up Template menu, the new preset will appear as a renaming option.

Figure 2-25

Rename After Import

You can always rename your files after import in the Library module. After selecting the images you wish to rename:

  1. Select Library→Rename Photo... from the menu bar.
  2. f02026.png
    Figure 2-26
  3. In the resulting dialog box, select your new naming protocol from the File Naming pop-up menu, or type in custom text in the Custom Text field. An example of the new file name will appear at the bottom of the dialog box.
  4. f02027.png
    Figure 2-27
  5. Bring up the Filename Template Editor by selecting Edit from the File Naming pop-up menu. Here you can create a new file name template based on numerous criteria. See previous page for more on this.

Proper Punctuation

To create file names that are readable by all systems, you should follow certain universal rules. For example:

You can also rename while exporting, but I'll get into that in Chapter 9.

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