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Laura Shoe's Lightroom Blog

Renaming Your Photos in Lightroom

Many photographers like to rename their original image files.  I personally don’t — I look to the folder name and image keywords I have applied to tell me about a photo rather than the file name, so the camera-generated file name is fine for me.  There is no right or wrong on this — I suggest that you come up with a system that makes sense for you, and most importantly, stick with it for consistency.

Even if you don’t rename your originals, you may still find that you want to rename copies that you export for email, Shutterfly, Zenfolio, etc…

I have produced a short video to show you the basics of how to set up and apply a filename template that you can use to rename your files, whether during import, after import in the library module, or during export.

Click HERE to watch the video.  [UPDATE: This is an old video with not-great audio and it requires Flash to watch it, but it is applicable to later versions of Lightroom. The only difference is where Renaming is in the Import dialog – in Lightroom 4+ look for it in the File Handling tab on the right side.] Note that in the video when I show the template editor drop-down list, Edit is cut off — but it is the last choice.

One note on export:  if you have arranged your images in the Library module in any other order other than filename and you want to preserve that order upon export (for example you want them to show up on Shutterfly in that order), make sequence number your first field in your renaming template.

2017-07-09T13:12:43-07:00 February 26th, 2010|11 Comments


  1. Semblance » Blog Archive » how to rename pictures June 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    […] Renaming Your Image Files in Lightroom В« Digital Daily Dose Feb 26, 2010 … Many photographers like to rename their original image files. I personally don't — I look to the … […]

  2. […] not going to go into how to use the template editor here, but I do have a video on using it  HERE.   It’s an old one, so (a) it uses Lightroom 2, but there have been no changes, and (b) […]

  3. Alicia February 3, 2012 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Thanks!!!! So helpful.

  4. Lori Kennedy April 28, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Laura, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart! I just came across your video, and this is going to save me so much time. Thank you for sharing.

    • Laura Shoe April 28, 2012 at 1:47 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Lori — I am glad it was useful! Thank you for leaving a note!

  5. Patti Stirk September 10, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Still helpful. I usually rename on import, but needed to now how to remove untitled-originalfilenumber. So still serving your photog friends a year later, THANK YOU!

    • Laura Shoe September 11, 2012 at 10:49 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Patti!

  6. Ebbe Suntum January 4, 2013 at 8:08 am - Reply

    Very good and helpful…
    I usually rename on import too, but sometimes forget to change the text… this does it perfectly… thank you.

  7. Christy June 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    Thank you! The explanation for creating custom names for pictures was very helpful!

  8. Chris Wesselman March 5, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Laura, what happened to the File Renaming panel in the Import Dialog Box? It’s gone! Don’t see anywhere to set that as a Preference. I used to set the Shoot Name there. Now I have to rename all my photos after an Import. Did I miss something?


    • Laura Shoe March 5, 2017 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      It’s only available when you choose Copy in the top center (or Move, Copy as DNG) – not Add. If not there when you choose Copy, right-click on another header in that area and select it.

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