May 12, 2010

Notes on Naming Files

Recently I have had a couple of requests for digital photos that I took a few years ago. They took a while to find because at the time I filed them chronologically but didn't have a consistent system for naming them. Thus it took me longer than I would have liked to find them.

They were "filed" before I worked out a system of renaming every picture as I downloaded it from the camera. Now I do this using Adobe® Bridge and I'll describe the process in case you need a system for doing this.

I copy files off the camera frequently, often the same day as I take the photographs. This way I minimize the chance of losing them, plus I can keep my blog up to date with fresh images.
Above: Here I've inserted a memory card from a camera and navigated to it in Adobe Bridge. I've highlighted the pictures that are of the same place because I can give them the same name followed by a number.

Adobe Bridge, which comes bundled with Photoshop, has a tool called Batch Rename. This is my key to the system because it allows me to quickly rename multiple photos as I copy them to the computer.

On the memory card the images were named with a code and series of consecutive numbers. For any pictures worth saving on my computer, I want names that help identify them so I can easily find them later.
The eight photos that I selected above were all taken at Packsaddle Ridge Golf Course. Therefore I gave them all the name "packsaddle" on the next pop-up screen. Clicking the plus sign provided me with another line which I use to assign a starting number for the series of images. Personally I like to use the last three numbers that were assigned by the camera.

In this case, I put them in a folder on my computer that I created for the current month. If they were for a particular website other than my blog, I would use a special folder for that site.

After I've saved all the new photos with appropriate names, I can open this month's working folder in Bridge and click on an image to open in Photoshop. Usually I brighten the photo and crop if needed.

Since I process a fair number of photos this way, I've create another folder for the files that I've worked on this month and I save them there as Photoshop (PSD) files. I also have a folder for pictures that are ready to print, but that's another story.
Every day or so I back up my computer, an easy process because of an Apple® program called Time Machine. Even if I change computers, I'll be able to find photos on the storage device by searching by name or date.

P.S. You can search from Bridge and see a display of pictures found.

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