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Do you change camera generated file numbers?


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#1 TexasPhotographer

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Posted 18 February 2007 - 03:16 PM

Do you change the cameras file numbers when you process the imagery in Photoshop? Last night I spent about two extra hours converting a lot of photos from Picture Project as PP was changing the file numbers going into PS. It took me about an hour to find that there are two places in Picture Project that has blocks if checked automatically change file names. We have, I think, a very simplified workflow. When we are out of the studio the cameras file numbers last three digits is recorded on our shot sheet and the job is uploaded to our lab using the entire number. When the photos come back they are in order of being taken and its very easy to stuff them in pre-prepared envelopes so the number is always the same. In the studio the cameras file numbers are put on the proofs as we use John Hartmans Quck proofs and this same number stays with the image forever. Do you change file numbers? Why? Thanks.
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#2 justshootit

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 01:08 PM

I put them into folders with the folder name as assigned by PP, which becomes my digital negative storage, and keep the names as the camera assigned them. Then I name them as needed in post processing, but I don't usually shoot the volumes you do. When I do shoot high volume, I don't usually change the numbers because trying to name each file becomes an exercise in itself. I'm just exploring Bridge's method for keywording and other indexing for searching later instead of having to pore through thousands of images to find what I'm looking for.
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#3 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 23 February 2007 - 03:02 PM

I use Nikon View's transfer function. I didn't like PP's file naming or folder naming scheme. I could never find anything outside the app and I don't like being beholden to an app for something so important. NV allows me to set the number of digits of the sequential number, a constant suffix or prefix, it remembers that number fro the next transfer, and I can set that number to whatever value I want in the event I screw something up. I can also easily set up descriptive folder names and it can add a user defined sequential number (as a tie breaker to keep the folder names unique). The only downside to this is that the image name on the card is changed, one time, when the images are transfered to the hard drive. It is an occasional nuisance, for example, when I am trying to keep notes of non-exif data as I am shooting. However, since the new name is in the same order as the original images on the card (chronological shooting sequence) it is just that- an occasional annoyance, at least for my workflows. I have about 75,000 images on my hard drives and AFAIK they are all unique numbers even though I am currently using 3 or 4 bodies. I would go nuts relying on the in-camera generated numbers and have dozens of duplicates of each number by now. I always retain at least the sequential number of the images, although sometimes I will add descriptive suffixes or prefixes as a clue to whatever PP I did, and as tie breakers so different iterations can co-reside in the same folder. Without the original (NV generated) number, I would never be able to find anything. I can always do a hard drive search on that sequential number, and because of the way NV works, I don't have duplicate iterations of those numbers. Regards, Neil

Edited by Neil Rothschild, 23 February 2007 - 03:06 PM.


#4 Luis V.

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Posted 28 February 2007 - 03:28 PM

I don't change the Camera's file number but I do add some information to that file name.... This is b/c I rotate through the posibilities more than once. In other words the numbers go from 0000 to 9999 or 10,000 shots. After that we go back to the same number. The added info lets me keep the number from the body but ads a unique identifier. My flow of files is pretty much stable for a while now. It came from a book I read called "The DAM Book" by Peter Krogh. It works fro me and it has saved a great deal of trouble. The shots are taken and named _PBLnnnn where nnnn is the count from the camera. Simple of course. I import with the "Import From Camera" plug-in in Adobe Bridge. This lets me import the files from the card, rename then, add basic metadata and place them in a specific location in one step. The rename this does follows a fixed naming system I use. That is "PBL_yymmdd_filename" . The middle section is the unique identifier. By placing the year first I get all the files in proper sequence and I can quickly search for the files based on date. If the month is first then you get all the shots from January first, regardless of year, then February, etc. With the year first I get all the shots in order by year first, then month, etc. Much better and I guarantee no two files will ever have the same name regardless of directory. From there the files get put into directories based on the same idea. The directories are split into "Personal" and "Commercial". Each of those is split into "Original" and "Derivative". Originals are the shots strait from the camera without edit, RAW in my case. Derivatives are the edited files from the originals. In each of those directories the files are split into directories named by date and customer/subject. For example, yymmdd_John Doe. While I don't alter the name, I do add some information so as to avoid having two files names that are the same. If you don't add something, you will get repeated names once you pass 10,000 frames. The only thing that this mindset requires is the discipline to put metadata into the files so you can know who's who. That I am less stringent on but am begginning to get better with. The whole archive of files is managed with an asset manager. 90% of the folks out there will be able to handle the whole thing with Bridge or the file manager in Elements. You can also use less pricey asset managers like Adobe's Album and/or ACDSee. In the end..... consistency. With digital cameras we are simply keeping a great deal more photos than we did before.
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#5 José

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Posted 18 October 2008 - 10:05 PM

Hello Everyone, This is some really good information. I can definitely appreciate your experiences and plan on adopting much of this in my own file naming. Thanks to all of you for sharing your naming steps.
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#6 MikeP

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 12:00 AM

I rename all my images. I'm a small-time operator with just enough volume to be confusing, and I like things organized. So here's how I rename them:

For an image captured today...

I would create a folder named 081019 - event name

Year: 08
Month: 10
Day: 19
Sequential No.: xxxx

So, the resulting file name would be 081019_xxxx. So, that means I can take 9,999 photos per day with no file name repeats. (Like that's ever gonna happen!)


All this is done automatically during upload into Bridge from the CF card.


Simple stuff, but it works for me...all folders and images are in capture order and as long as my long-term memory holds out, I'm cool with it. :P
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#7 Old Dog New Tricks

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 07:54 PM

I use the Lightroom to import and keyword all my work now. It is very similar to Bridge. I use the folders created by LR, very similar to Mike, only I use 2008 so my filenumbers look like 20081015xxx. I then create collections, keywords, etc. Then I can search any way I want to. That's my style. ODNT
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#8 Rebel

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Posted 20 October 2008 - 03:34 PM

I rename all my images. I'm a small-time operator with just enough volume to be confusing, and I like things organized. So here's how I rename them:

For an image captured today...

I would create a folder named 081019 - event name


I use exactly the same method for my folders. Each event gets its own folder just they way you do it.

For file names, I sometimes rename them (automatically of course) and sometimes renumber them, it depends on whether I think it's worth bothering with or is needed.

Because each event is in its own folder organized by date and location it doesn't matter much to me if the images are all called _DSCXXXX. If I need information to go with the image I stick it in the IPTC. I like to use this rather than proprietary tagging in photo browsers as the information stays with the image whatever software I'm using.
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#9 Edo

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 11:11 AM

Now you've done it---pushed me into a near depression. Okay, I'm totally disorganized, but must you hold a candle to my shame? The following is what I do, although I advise no one to follow my pointless ways. I'm a Nikon shooter (aren't we all?), and I shoot RAW and use Nikon software for the first part of my workflow, ending up in CS2. NX2 does a far better job converting the RAW image to tiff than any third-party program. NX2 also does a whole bunch of other things--automatically. Remember that most of the time I'm shooting for stock. I move the images from the camera to my Mac using the cable and Nikon Transfer with the images going into numbered folders in ViewNX. (No, I don't use a card reader.) In ViewNX, I have a full-screen look at the day's captures, then star the one's I want to submit to stock agencies. When I'm ready to edit, I drag a starred NEF image into Capture NX2 and do what I can with the NX2 tools, then convert to a 16-bit tiff that I put on my desktop, than move into CS3, where I'll polish, upsize and convert to jpeg. At the tiff stage, I rename the file . . . and here's where my idiocy enters the picture. ER2201NYC, ER2202NYC and so on. (I guess I begin with my initials so I don't forget that I took the picture???) The numbers are in sequence, and I end with the first three letters of the location. I'm only interested in images that make the cut; all the rest will (someday) be deleted. To sum up, I have no idea what I'm doing.
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#10 Old Dog New Tricks

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 01:10 PM

Edo, I wish I were so clueless. One thing that I have done in LR is to create different import metadata presets. My wife has taken an interest in taking pictures (vs photography, although she is paying more attention to what I do). So I have a preset for my copyright and one for her. I can pretty much tell hers from mine by the camera, but it embeds her name so when I create a slide show or web-page she gets credit. Encourages her to take more. OD
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#11 mule_patterson

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Posted 24 February 2009 - 07:00 PM

The real issue is access - after the fact, of course. Sorting through or searching for files should be second nature if we have a simple but effective system. I put an abbreviated subject reference up front, then the date, then let Lightroom add a numerical suffix - all after I have postprocessed them and culled the keepers. They go into similarly-named folders into specific subject folders: Landscape, People, etc. and get backed up. Inside a category folder (Weddings), the individual project folders (ie., nicholsmccoy022009) also hold web galleries, a print JPG folder, and the like so it's all there for future use. Works very well for all my subjects. Mule
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