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2.4 Rules-Based Renaming

Your image names can be much more powerful than “DSC_4323.cr2.” It’s much more useful when some data about the image is built into the filename. This screencast will show you how to use metadata in your image files to rename images according to the capture date and time.

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2.4 Rules-Based Renaming

If you are renaming your images, the filename straight out of camera isn't very useful. It's much more useful if we can rename our files so that we can look at a filename and tell when it was captured or what the photo is about. Our rename structure will help us do just that. In the library module you'll see that I'm working with a few images that don't have very good filenames. The first time you're doing this I definitely recommend not tackling your whole image catalog at one time. You might want to start with just a single shoot while you're learning the tool. Let's go ahead and pick all four of my images from 2009 to test out for this purpose. I've chosen a single folder here on the left side by clicking on 2009 folder. Now I'll select all the images in this folder with Edit Select All or CMD+A on the keyboard. Once I've selected all of those images, let's go to library, rename photos. The window that pops up is where we can set all of our rename rules. The dropdown here has some basic rename options that we can pick from, but let's go ahead and dive a bit deeper. Let's choose Edit to build out a rename rule. What we're doing here is giving Lightroom some rules on how to rename our images. I'm gonna go ahead and move this window here to the center to get a better view. This screen is a rule builder. These rules will look at the metadata on an image and rename an image accordingly. Here's what we're going to build, a name structure that will make our file names much more useful as we're browsing for them. First, we use the four digit year the image was captured in, then the two digit month, and a two digit day. That way every single file has the date of capture built into it. Then, let's go a bit deeper. We'll add the capture time to every image as well with an hour minute second approach. And finally, we'll use some text describe the images. Let's go set that up in Lightroom. On this rule building screen we'll go ahead and add in the first part of the filename. So remember that the first half of our filename is a four digit year, a two digit month, and a two digit date, and that's actually built into Light Room's rename options. Let's go ahead and clear this box and then in the sequence and date option, there's the day option that we want to use. We can go ahead and click Insert. Now from each of these drop downs, what Lightroom presents us with is different formats to rename our images with. We can add all of these rules up here to this box, so that the files follow that name structure. When I add this date option as I just did. It's going to look at the metadata built into each image and get the year then the month. And then the day and then rename each image according to that. After I pressed insert, you can see that the date renamed piece moves into this box up here and Lightroom is actually simulating the file name as we go. Now we'll need to add the captured time. Let's go ahead and add a dash after the day. And go ahead and get started with adding that captured time. Remember that the next thing we wanna add is the hour, minutes and seconds to the image name. Now from that same date dropdown, let's go ahead and pick hour. Then we can just pick minute and then finally second. And as I'm choosing each one of these it's adding it into the rename box up here, and the simulated filename is being built out as we go. So now this is the new simulated file name. The last thing we'll need to add to each file name is some custom text. We can use that text to describe the images so that the file names useful whenever we're browsing for it. From the custom text option all we have to do is press insert and it will be added to our filename. Now looking at my file name right now I actually want to build in a divider between the hour minutes and second custom text. So I'm just going to position my mouse cursor here and then press the dash. And you'll see again that the filename updates. We're going to be able to set that custom text with each rename session that we do. So now that's exactly the filename that I want to build out. You can see here that it shows the capture date then the captured time and then the custom text that will add to each individual shoot. Now one last thing, we'll wanna use this rename structure in the future so let's go ahead and save the preset. I'll go ahead and choose Save current settings as new preset, and we'll call their preset name, organize your images and we'll click create. Now we can actually use that preset any time that we wanna rename our images with just a couple clicks. I'll go ahead and press Done. Now that we're back to the rename option, you can see here that we're using the organizer images preset and all we have to do now is add the custom text option. Now each time that we go in and rename our images and use this preset, all we have to do is set the custom text and it'll be applied to each image. I'll go ahead and call this Tuts+, and when I press okay, you'll watch these file names change according to the structure that we just set up. So, in just a few minutes we can really easily set up all of these custom filenames to keep things nice and clean. Let's go ahead and pick one more folder to rename. And you'll see here that I've got another set of images. I'm just going to select all images by pressing CMD+A on my keyboard then go to library, rename photos. And again we've chosen to organize your images preset automatically, but if not you could choose it from the drop down and then I can add my custom text as well. You'll want to make this custom text something that describes each individual shoot. So that each file name is meaningful. I'll go ahead and press okay and you'll see that the filenames are updated accordingly. One last thing, you can also apply renames as you're importing images. If we go to the file import photos and video option. You'll see that the file renaming drop down also has our template built in here as well. We could very easily pick, organize your images from this drop down and apply it to each image right at the same time as we're importing images. So whether you're doing it after the fact or at the import stage. This is a great way to make our filenames much more usable. And now we have a preset that we can always use for future renames.

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