File Renaming panel
In order to manage your image files successfully, it is important you rename them as early as possible. Ideally this should be carried out at the import stage. This can be done by checking “Rename Files” in the File Renaming panel (Figure 2.17). The Template menu contains several file renaming templates ready for immediate use. For example, if you select the Custom Name – Sequence template, you can enter text in the Custom Text field and the imported files will be renamed using this custom text followed by a sequence number starting with the number entered in the Start Number box. For an initial import of images, you may well want the numbering to start at 1, but if you are adding files to an existing shoot you will want to set the numbering so that it follows consecutively from the last number in the current image sequence. Note that once the start number has been set, Lightroom automatic-ally readjusts the numbering sequence as you import further images to the current folder.
Figure 2.17 The File Renaming panel is shown here with the default Filename renaming template in use (top), the full Template menu list visible (middle), and with a Custom Name–sequence renaming template selected (bottom).
If you choose the Edit... option from the bottom of the Template list, this opens the Filename Template Editor (Figure 2.18). This allows you to customize and save your own File Naming template designs using tokens, such as Date (YY) or Sequence #(0001). In the Figure 2.18 example, I clicked the “Insert” button next to the Custom Text item in the dialog to add a Custom Text token at the beginning of the File Naming template. Next, I went to the Additional section and clicked on the Insert button to add a series of Date format tokens (see the list options in Figure 2.19). I then went to the Numbering section and added a four-digit Sequence number token. This template was then saved and added to the File Renaming template list.
Figure 2.18 The Filename Template Editor.
Figure 2.19 This shows the Date options that are available when renaming. Note that the Julian Day of the Year option is applicable to things like astronomical dating.
Alternatively, you can use the Custom Name – Original File Number template. This is actually quite a useful renaming option. When you use this template the sequence number uses the original, camera-generated file number and the file renamed sequence numbers will keep rolling over from one job to the next. So, instead of your imported images always being numbered from say, 1 to 500, you will end up with a much broader distribution of sequence numbers throughout the catalog. Consequently, this can make it easier for you if you need to narrow down an image selection based on a sequence number only search. Let’s say for example that a client orders a photo, giving you just the last four numbers and nothing else. If you reset the numbers when renaming so that they start from 0001 before each job, then every shoot you import will most likely have photos that are renamed with sequence numbers in the 0001–0100 range. If on the other hand, you use the Custom Name – Original File Number template to rename your photos, the chances are that there won’t be many other photos in your catalog that have the exact same four-digit number. This method of renaming should work in most instances, although I am aware that with certain camera models there is a compatibility problem where the camera-assigned sequence number cannot be recognized. Lastly, the sample filename at the bottom of the File Naming panel gives you an advance indication of how the chosen renaming will be applied to the imported files.
Renaming catalog images later
Although it is always best to rename files at the import stage, files can also be renamed any time after you have imported them into Lightroom. You can make a selection of images in the Library module using the Grid or Filmstrip and choose Library → Rename Photos (alternatively, you can use the F2 keyboard shortcut). This opens the Rename Photos dialog shown in Figure 2.20, where you can use the File Naming menu to select a custom file renaming template like the ones just discussed, or choose Edit... from the File Naming menu to open the Filename Template Editor (Figure 2.18). My advice is to always rename early before you start sharing your work with clients. If you rename your files at a later stage this can only lead to confusion.
Figure 2.20 In the Rename Photos dialog shown here, I selected a pre-created custom file renaming scheme from the File Naming menu, entered custom text that would be utilized during the renaming, and set the Start Number to “1.”