A recent question from a client:

“I have already confused myself in my own naming conventions and would like your advice. For FolioSnap (my website) I have been putting the state first, card name (for my named cards), or State, subject, year and number (if applicable). But then getting into it for my designer and GuestGuide site, I seem to be all over the board. I then put SM_season_year_what_number, so SM_winter_skiing_01 (if I had more details like family, kids, or location, I would put that in as well. No one way seems to be correct for all uses- yet I could be starting a real mess here. Any tips on this??”

My answer:

“It’s quite possible that your “internal” naming convention might not be suitable for all outside uses; other people might want you to use specific conventions. This is fine.

For your original, working or master files, do what makes sense to you. When saving your derivative files for specific usage you can use alternate naming schemes. Lightroom’s File Naming Template make this easy.

Also, if you rename files from within Lightroom, LR will keep track of the “original” file names, on the Metadata panel.

Keep in mind that you should use keywords to describe the specific subject matter of a photo. Don’t worry about making your file name too specific; usually date and location is plenty. For example, you can always find your winter skiing pictures later, using keywords.”

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