1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

What is your file-naming convention?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by Mike Buckley, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Please post your file-naming convention so all of us can benefit from learning what works for you and why.

    My naming convention is designed to accommodate three files of the same image -- a NEF, a small JPEG sized for the web, and a large JPEG sized for my monitor.

    NEF: Mike 2008-06-19--0056.nef
    Small JPEG: Mike 2008-06-19--0056.jpg
    Large JPEG: Mike 2008-06-19--0056-L.JPG

    For the rare photographs that my wife shoots (hopefully they will be less and less rare), her name appears instead of mine. The next set of numbers refers to the year, month and date the shutter was released. The last four-digit number refers to the sequential number of pictures taken that day or in that folder. The "L" in the third file distinguishes the large JPEG from the small one.

    Notice that the extension of the Large JPEG is in uppercase letters. That visual difference helps distinguish at a glance the large JPEG from the small JPEG.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2008
  2. C:/Images
    -------2008-08-12 Annandale trail
    ----------------/Culls/2008-08-12(000X).nef (I delete these a year after the file date; essentially lesser quality or duplicates)
    ----------------/Working/2008-08-12-(0001)p.jpg (actually are files < 750K for internet viewing)
    ------2008-08-13 Washington DC Zoo

  3. That's fascinating, Tom. You've practically got an entire cataloging scheme built in to your filename. Very effective, I'm sure!
  4. Julien


    Jul 28, 2006
    Paris, France
    I have none whatsoever :biggrin:

    But I do keep my calalogs neatly ordered though :wink:

  5. Mike,

    I thought that one of the main advantages of using a DAM application is that it reduces or even eliminates the needs for a strict file-naming convention. That said, the convention I use is almost exactly the same as yours - except that it doesn't begin with "Mike". :biggrin:

    It's BRH_yymmdd_DSC_xxxx.xxx ie: BRH_081308_DSC_0111.nef

    Great minds think alike!
  6. I don't think so, but as you know, I'm brand new at cataloging. My understanding is that effective image management always includes rigorous attention to a file-naming convention and a directory tree whether or not a catalog is used.

    That probably applies to you but not me. I merely copied Jason Odell's file-naming convention for the NEF and modified it slightly for the large JPEG. :biggrin:

    I'm just curious: how is the "DSC" helpful to you? Do you remember what it means? I don't.
  7. Actually, it's not particularly helpful. I don't know what it means, but it's the default with the D80. I do have some images from a Panasonic P&S, so this helps differentiate between the 2 cameras.

    I actually got the naming convention off of a website that had an article on how to organize your images using ACDSee Pro2. If you're interested, the link is listed below. Some of it might apply to IDI.

  8. havezet


    Jul 10, 2008

    Marc Sabatella, the author of the ACDSee article pointed out by Bert, is using the convention as described by Peter Krogh in The DAM Book (http://www.thedambook.com). In fact it comes down to the fact that either which intelligence you are adding to your naming convention will proof to be insufficient. The most commonly used method (as first outlined by Peter) is to use your initials, followed by a date part, optionally followed by unique numbers (for instance the number part of your original file name). Btw; in IDimager Peter Krogh's naming convention is also available as one of the predefined naming rules.


  9. As is your own naming convention. :smile:

    Just in case you're not aware, you should know that Nikon's naming dialog box has a screwup in the GUI in both View NX and Capture NX that prevents the user from appending information to a pre-existing filename. It's not possible to append information without also adding one of three types of new information imposed by Nikon. That's the sort of thing that you would routinely fix and distribute in days, though Nikon has let it go on presumably for years.
  10. havezet


    Jul 10, 2008
    Yes it is :D  I personally include the camera model in the name.

    Isn't it sad how so many products seem to ignore their user base. And I'm even more surprised that it doesn't affect their market. When people are choosing, they are simply ignoring support... and then they get bitten after the sale.
    In my opinion, support is an active part of the product which should be considered *before* making a purchase. I know I always do when I buy something. A simple look at forums is enough to determine a company's level of customer support.

  11. Hi Mike,

    Here is an alternative that I have been using for the last 5 years or so. I have the added problem that Nan & I are both shooting (especially when traveling) so we have the potential of duplicate file names.

    I am using Expression Media (the old iView) software. I load the photos into the catalog and sort by time shot. Then I rename the files using
    Hogeyy_xxxxx where yy is the year (08) and xxxxx is a running 5 digit number. We currently shoot about 15,000 to 20,000 shots a year. The software retains the last used number and I only have to go in at the start of each year to change the "yy". I'm up to about 75,000, but I think I had to start at 10,000 to get it going correctly. When it gets to 99,999 I'll start over.

    I start a new catalog for miscellaneous photos each year just to keep them from getting too big to handle. Big trips get their own catalog. The numbering plan does not care which catalog is being used, the next photo to be renumbered gets the next xxxxx number in sequence.

  12. rsprouse


    Jan 25, 2006
    Encinitas CA
    I am of the school that thinks it is the job of a DAM system to keep track of what is where and help you find what you need. Renaming files and sorting them into various folder structures just seems like needless overhead to me.

    All I do is have my downloader create a new folder for each download. The folder name is just the camera name and a sequential number, like D3-00087. The downloader then names each file using the camera name, date/time EXIF info plus the original file name from the camera, so it might be D3-20080627 022447_DSC2480.NEF.

    I am not a high-volume shooter, and I only have one of each body (D3, D2Xs, D70 and G9) so this is sufficient to ensure unique file names.

    The hard part is having the discipline to go through each shoot and put in the tags and keywords. I have just migrated to IDimager and a controlled vocabulary keyword library for this purpose. It is probably overkill for a hobbyist, but if I am going to do it, I'd like to do it right.

    -- Russ
  13. Ditto. In catalogs of thouands of images, I've never once thought 'what's the filename' or 'which folder is it in' - Mediapro does the searching for me. Otherwise, the effort of keywording seems like wasted effort.

  14. Russ and Sean, despite the stuff I have read about using a somewhat informative directory tree in tandem with a catalog, the two of you are causing me to rethink the advisability of that.

    That's why I participate in the threads. The more I post, the more I learn from everyone else.
  15. I think there's real value in naming conventions for individual catalogs or catalog sets, but not for the files themselves, Mike, unless a person really likes things organized, or if your cataloguing software offers the ability to derive keywords from the filenames as part of the keywording/cataloguing process.

  16. Please elaborate, Sean. I'm the OP :biggrin: so it's okay if we get a little off-topic in such an important tangential area.
  17. In a perfect world all the suggestions and criticisms of naming specific files make sense, but I think very few of us are that organized or patient enough to do the classification work up front. Not to exaggerate or poke fun at people who can and do up front classification (as if our lives are too hectic to do it) it's frankly darn difficult to do for most folks. At least it's a tough task for me.

    I've been shooting digital since 1997. I've scanned every family photo I own and scanned ones borrowed from relatives. When I shoot some weekends I may take 300-400 shots, and do that easily each day while on travel. I just cannot bring myself to sit down after a shoot and carefully do the IPTC information and other classification. So you ask me why on earth I would ever rename images? I have over 600gb of images and probably a handful are properly documented. There! I've said it and I feel much better. I do want to classify them all, but at 66 and still shooting I'm not sure I'll have the time to complete it. At least my survivors will be able to look at a drive's folder and find stuff.

    Said another way, with a huge inventory of uncatalogged images, assigning mnemonic titles to the file names of images ensures they can be found and ultimately properly identified.
  18. Let's say all your images reside in one catalog - in that instance, I don't know that there's value in creating a naming convention for the files it contains, because once you've opened that single catalog in the application, you're using the app's muscle to find everything you need based on keywords and metadata. Now, imagine that your images are spread out several catalog files (some applications have a size limit per catalog), then some of the work gets shifted to you - you need to pick the correct catalog to open first before the application is able to search for you. Now a naming convention starts to help out because catalogs named '1, 2, 3 and 4 aren't nearly as helpful as '2004', 'Mt. Everest climb', etc. and unless the application searches across all catalogs simultaneously, you have to shoulder a bit of the load.

  19. That's what the 'office manager' is for, Rich - you need to start hiring!

    In all seriousness, the photogs that I know personally who do this full-time have at least one person on staff to shoulder the load of cataloguing, licensing inquiries, etc. otherwise they'd never get out and shoot. I personally don't find it difficult to get images catalogued - a location and a few good identifiers. What is hard is cataloguing really well - I'm talking scientific names for individual species, the name of every person in the shot, etc.

  20. Ahhhhh. That makes sense, Sean. I'm fortunate that IDimager apparently has no limitation regarding the size of the catalog.

    You're confirming for me that I really do have to rethink any perceived need for a systematic directory tree. I suppose I could come up with something very basic that speaks to Rich's concern that someone not wanting to learn how to use the catalog could at least find pictures of my trips to Italy if I place them in a directory tree of Travel/Italy.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.