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What's your recommended file naming format when importing and exporting in Lightroom?


shlomki
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My current workflow is as follows:

When importing photos into LR: keep the original filename (for example: SHCO1234.CR2)
When editing the photos in PS, they are saved back to LR in the original filename, but with a TIFF extension (for example: SHCO1234.tif).
When exporting photos from LR, I use the following format: CustomName-Date-Filenumber.ext (for example: ShlomiCohen-20160101-1234.jpg)

 

This has worked for me for quite a while, until I started backing up my photos to a cloud service (in addition to a full local backup, on site).

I decided to back up only full sized JPGs to the cloud, because my connection is too slow to upload hundreds of gigabytes of data to the internet.
I use a lightroom publish service to help me export all of the photos just the way I want. The problem is when it tries to export both the pre-Photoshop edit and the post-Photoshop edit, they end up in the same filename (for example, both SHCO1234.CR2 and SHCO1234.tif end up as ShlomiCohen-20160101-1234.jpg), and only one file ends up being uploaded to the cloud.

This has led me to realize I need to change the way I name files, both when importing to Lightroom and when coming back from Photoshop, so the name of the original file would be different from the edited PS file, and not just the extension.

Can you share the way you name your files when you import to LR and edit in PS? 

Thanks!

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Can I ask, just so I better understand your workflow -- why do you want to create a full-size JPG of both a pre-PS edit and a post-PS edit?

My initial reaction is that changing the filename in the middle of your workflow (so you'd have, say, SHCO1234.jpg and SHCO1234-edit.jpg) would introduce unnecessary work and disrupt your workflow more than any benefit it would produce.  But I might just not be understanding why you want that pre-PS edit as a JPG as well.

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Hi Christina, thanks for your reply.

The reason I create both pre-PS and post-PS JPGs is for having smaller copies of my photos, which will be uploaded to a cloud backup service. Since I am not going to upload a 60-150MB TIFF and/or a 35MB RAW file to the internet, I went with JPG. The pre-PS and post-PS JPGs are a compromise, surely, but they give a last-resort kind of backup, and some extra peace of mind in case my hard drives die. I have the TIFF & CR2 files backed up locally on a separate hard drive.

I hope this clarifies my workflow.

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I guess I can see why you'd want to do this, though I still think working out a way to back up your raws plus xmp would be better for you in the long run.

The easiest way I think for you to differentiate the filenames of your post-PS TIFF files would be to change the naming convention in your external editing preferences.  I actually have mine set to name the post-PS edited file the original name plus -edit (so CSK1234.cr2 becomes CSK1234-edit.tif automatically).  It's the bottom field of the external editing preferences window, here:

56c8b47ac6b24_ScreenShot2016-02-20at1.44

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Crystal, I had that reaction at first too. :)

The one possible benefit I can see to having a pre-PS JPG backup would be so you have all your raw edits done and could start from the SOOR to redo or change your PS editing.  I personally wouldn't bother making a JPG of the SOOR for backup purposes because I think this is an unnecessary extra step, but maybe OP goes back to re-edit SOORs on a regular basis?

In any event, as long as you're simply adding a -edit or something similar to the original filename, and not actually renaming the file something different, you should be able to stay organized enough not to lose any files.

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The problem with adding "-Edit" to the filename when exporting to PS is that LR will lose the ability to read the original file number later on, when exporting the image to a client.

The original file number needs to be at the end of the filename when you export, otherwise LR will not be able to read it.

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1 minute ago, shlomki said:

 

The problem with adding "-Edit" to the filename when exporting to PS is that LR will lose the ability to read the original file number later on, when exporting the image to a client.

The original file number needs to be at the end of the filename when you export, otherwise LR will not be able to read it.

OK, you're going to have to walk us more explicitly through your workflow now, because this makes no sense to me.

How and when are you exporting the image to a client?  When do you need the ability to access the original file number through your export and delivery process? 

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11 minutes ago, Crystal Felton said:

hmm...but you wouldn't want to edit a jpeg...so it's kind of pointless?  you'd save the SOOR as a psd.

Oh, agreed.  But if you accept her premise that she won't backup a PSD/TIFF or a raw file, then I suppose a SOOR JPG is better than nothing?

 

12 minutes ago, Crystal Felton said:

she's renaming completely.....and OP, it's not good to have filenames over 16 characters I believe. The labs don't like it.

I thought she was only renaming at the very end of her process (as I always do, for the client output files, to have them named in sequential order).  But her last comment is making me think I don't understand her workflow at all. :)

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LOL, let's start by calling me a "he" ;) Sorry, I know my name/username might confuse you. My name is Shlomi, I'm from Israel. Hi :)

Workflows are hard to explain, that's why I basically just want to know how YOU name your files, when you import to LR and when you export, to get new ideas about my own workflow.

 

As I said in the opening post, when I import I use the original filename, and when I export I tell LR to completely rename the file to something more client-friendly.

A part of that client-friendly file naming convention is to use the "Original File Number" option, just so I could refer back to my original file if the client wants a change in edit or something.

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Ok, I think I've found a solution.

1. Regarding file naming:
When importing I'll use this format: ShlomiCohen-20160101-1234.CR2,
when editing in PS I'll add a "-Edit",
and when exporting to a client or the cloud I'll just export the filename as is. This way there are no filename collisions, and it's still pretty enough for clients.

2. I've found out that if I save as a lossy DNG it's pretty much the same as a full size JPG (5-8 MB), but DNG it's better because it saves the edit I did in LR. So I'll start saving the Pre-PS as a lossy DNG now. There's still a compromise there because it's lossy and not uncompressed, but it's something I'm willing to live with. 

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