Lightroom: How to Set the File Names

category: Lightroom • 1 min read

Most people, including Adobe’s default, use the date as the directory for the name of the photo, so the names look like: 2008 then 05 then 01 then the filename. So when did you travel to New York? Do you remember the year and the month? I don’t, because I don’t think that way.

I like my filenames to be NewYork-20080501-0345.dng. This means that I took the photo in New York, on 1-May-2008, and that was the 345th photo of that series.

You could do the naming by hand, but… It’s too hard, too time consuming and too prone to errors. Why not let Lightroom do it for you? Here is my import template.

Lightroom: File Naming Import Template

Lightroom: File Naming Import Template

  1. The custom text: you will be prompted for it during the import. In my case, I typed NewYork
  2. The date: always in the format YYYYMMDD. That way, there will no misunderstanding in the filename, and the photos will be sorted in ascending or descending order. Lightroom will take automatically the date from the EXIF.
  3. The sequence: 0001. That way, 1 will be before 10, and 10 will be after 2. I have never shot more than 9999 photos in one day and I don’t import into Lightroom more than 10 thousand photos at the same time.

Now, I can find easily the photos that are New York related, and if there are multiple trips to New York, they are easily identified. It’s also much easier to search for them in Lightroom.