File naming best practice

If you are like me shooting hundreds of photos weekly and sometimes with three different cameras, you are definitely thinking of a standard for file naming that will release you from having duplicate files, or even misplaced files. If you have a blog or you are posting on some photo sharing website like flickr or 500px, you don't want your viewers to see your file names as untitled-10121 or IMG_1234.DNG.

Off course you can rename your files anytime using your operating system after importing them from the camera but if you always rename things the same way you might as well do it from the import dialog of the software you are using. I for example use Adobe Lightroom and my naming standards is:

{yyyymmdd}-{Custom Text}-{Sequence#0000}

{yyyymmdd}-{Custom Text}-{Sequence#0000}

“{yyyymmdd}-{Custom Text}-{Sequence#0000}”.DNG

For example: 20130916-Sunset-0001.dng (*dng is Adobe digital negative file type)

I let Adobe Lightroom handle the naming of files by applying a custom naming template. I usually type a common prefix into the “Custom Text” field and have Lightroom auto-number the photos as they get imported. This gives me something more meaningful than the “IMG_1234.DNG″ and the date in front of the file name makes it easier for me to sort in Windows Explorer. You can also add the place of the shoot but I prefer to have that one in the metadata.

But what about the folder structure? 

I use the following structure: 

And all processed images for the year go to a "Processed Images" folder for easier reference later on. I also create one Adobe Lightroom Catalogue per year and put that catalogue inside the year's folder. 

I hope this helps you in some way organising your photos better. Stay tuned for later posts.  

Gaby Awad