Our File and Folder Naming Conventions

Figure 1-24 illustrates the system we use for naming files and folders. This system is chronological and is built on two or three levels. We use one folder for each year, and the folder's name always includes the year. The year folders contain subfolders organized according to shoots. If we use only one camera, all the images from a shoot are stored in a single subfolder. If we use multiple cameras for a shoot, the images from each camera are stored in a separate subfolder.

Figure 1-24:

Our system for storing original images downloaded from the camera

Figure 1-24 illustrates the system we use for naming files and folders. This system is chronological and is built on two or three levels. We use one folder for each year, and the folder's name always includes the year. The year folders contain subfolders organized according to shoots. If we use only one camera, all the images from a shoot are stored in a single subfolder. If we use multiple cameras for a shoot, the images from each camera are stored in a separate subfolder.

► 2010: All source images shot with all of our cameras in the year 2010 are stored here in appropriate subfolders.

► 20100325_5DH_Church_NB: This folder contains the images we shot at the church in Niebelsbach on March 25, 2010.

The individual image files are named as follows:

Date_Camera_#_Shoot_im age#:

- The date format is jjjjmmdd,* to make sorting easier

- 5DII stands for the Canon 5D Mark II camera

- Options "_oi", "_02", ..., are used if we shot and saved images using more than one memory card (not shown in figure 1-24).

- The name of the shoot or the broad subject (here "church") or a customer or job number.

- The image number that the image receives on the memory card (usually between 0000 and 9999)

We rename all of the downloaded images according to these rules immediately after downloading. Ideally, the renaming process takes place during downloading.

If you have more than one camera of a particular type, you still need to uniquely identify each image. Once it has reached 9999, the camera starts numbering again at 0000. The jjjjmmdd suffix nevertheless allows you to create unique filenames.

We save the images we process in Photoshop as TIFF files. These files contain the original Date_Camera_Shoot_mmm data in their filenames and also receive an additional sequential number and possibly a code that identifies the processing involved, for example:

Original: Processed image:

20i00325_5DII_Church_iii4.CR2 20i00325_5DII_Church_iii4#02BW.tif

This way, we can always find the original image based on the information contained in the name of the processed image*. Lightroom automatically saves a RAW image and its derivatives as a stack.

* The standard international date format is jjjj for the year, mm for the month, and dd for the day. If you need to save space or characters, you can also use a two-digit number for the year.

* We will call all processed and converted RAW images "processed images" or "derivative images".

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