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).
With these choices, the renaming features are enabled (circled). The renaming features are not enabled if you select Import Photos at their Current Location.
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.
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.
To do this:
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.
You can always rename your files after import in the Library module. After selecting the images you wish to rename:
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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