Renaming for Sort Order


Today’s Question: I have a folder of images that I want to keep in their present order. Is there an automatic way I can add a prefix number that will keep the order? I have both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop Elements.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can easily rename the batch of photos, such as by adding a numeric prefix, so the photos will be in your custom sort order when you sort by filename.

More Detail: Renaming photos to add a sequence number at the beginning is easy to do in Adobe Bridge, which is available to anyone with an Adobe ID, even if you don’t have a paid Creative Cloud subscription. Note that Lightroom Classic users can use a similar approach to that outlined below for Adobe Bridge by using the Library > Rename Photos command.

In Adobe Bridge you would first navigate to the folder containing the images and drag the thumbnails into the desired order on the Content panel. The Content panel is set to a large size in the Light Table workspace, for example, which you can switch to by choosing Window > Workspace > Light Table from the menu.

You can then select all the photos and choose Tools > Batch Rename from the menu to bring up the Batch Rename dialog. Set the Destination Folder to “Rename in Same Folder”. Then under the New Filename heading, set the first popup to “Sequence Number”, enter the starting value (presumably “1”) in the textbox to the right, and specify the number of digits from the last popup based on how many images you’re renaming. You want to have leading zeros in the sequence numbers so that the photos will sort properly by filename. So you would only need one digit if you have no more than nine photos to rename, two digits for up to 99 images, and three digits for up to 999 images, for example.

If there isn’t another row of criteria already, you can click the plus button to the right of the row that you just updated. If you want to have a dash or space separating the sequence number from the rest of the filename you can set the first popup on the second row to Text, and then enter the desired text in the textbox to the right.

On the next row (adding it with the plus button if needed) you can set the first popup to “Current Filename” and the second popup to “Name + Extension”. If there are any additional rows you can click the minus button to the right of them to remove them.

Once you’ve defined the structure for the renaming of the photos, click the Rename button, and the photos will be renamed accordingly. When you sort the photos by filename, they will therefore be sorted in your custom sort order.

Two (or More) Exports at Once


Today’s Question: As a follow-up to your answer about saving photos as both TIFF and JPEG for archival purposes, is there an easy way to create both of those file types at once when exporting from Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can export multiple copies of selected photos for different purposes by turning on the checkbox for presets in the Export dialog in Lightroom Classic rather than simply selecting a single preset.

More Detail: The “normal” process of exporting copies of photos from Lightroom Classic is to select the photos, click the Export button at the bottom of the left panel in the Library module, click on the name of the preset you want to use for export (or configure the settings to your liking if you don’t have a preset created) and click the Export button. The selected photos will then be exported based on the established settings.

However, it is also possible to export multiple copies of selected photos by selecting multiple presets within the Export dialog.

The first step is to create the applicable presets if you haven’t done so already. In the Export dialog you can configure all the settings you’d like for an export preset, then click the Add button at the bottom of the left section of the dialog. In the dialog that appears enter a meaningful name for the preset, choose the folder you want to save the preset in (the default is “User Presets”), and click the Create button. Note that if you anticipate exporting photos for multiple presets I recommend using unique folder names for each of them. For example, you could set the primary location for the export as the Desktop, then create a subfolder with the same name as the preset so that the images for each preset will be saved in individual folders.

Once you have the applicable presets created, you can export photos for multiple presets. Rather than clicking the name of the preset in the Export dialog, turn on the checkbox to the left of the preset name for each of the presets you want to export for. For example, you might want to export the photos as TIFF images for printing, as well as small JPEG copies for sharing on the blog. You can turn on the checkboxes for as many of the presets as you’d like, then click the Export button.

By using this approach, you can easily export photos for different purposes with one simple workflow. Just select the photos you want to export, click the Export button, turn on the checkboxes for the applicable export presets, and click the Export button to initiate the process of exporting the photos for all presets you selected.

Archival File Format


Today’s Question: Over the decades I’ve created photographs that would be of potential interest to others in the future. An example of this would be photos of historic architecture. What would be the ideal form for the files to be formatted for this type of use? Would metadata fields transfer?

Tim’s Quick Answer: For an archival repository I suggest saving these photos as TIFF images. However, it is also a good idea to have additional copies as JPEG images for greater accessibility.

More Detail: When it comes to making images available for archival purposes, the two general goals are accessibility and image quality. To maintain maximum image quality, I recommend saving archival images as flattened images (no Photoshop layers, for example) in the TIFF file format.

However, while the TIFF file format is widely supported, it isn’t as ubiquitous as the JPEG file format, and the file sizes will be considerably larger for a TIFF image compared to a JPEG image. I therefore recommend also saving the images in the JPEG format to make them more accessible, recognizing that image quality will be degraded to some extent when saving the images as JPEG files.

Standard metadata fields such as caption, keywords, and more, can be included. You would obviously need to update the metadata in the source images, and then be sure that the metadata is included when creating the archival copies. For example, in Lightroom Classic you have options related to what metadata will be included when you export copies of the photos. Just note that not all updates you make to photos will be reflected in metadata. For example, in Lightroom Classic pick and reject flags and membership in collections are not preserved in metadata beyond the catalog.

For this type of photo archive, I recommend saving the TIFF images at full resolution. If you’re going to also prepare JPEG copies of the images, those could be at a reduced resolution if you want to keep the file sizes smaller, such as by sizing to perhaps 2,000 or 3,000 pixels on the long side.

Managing Color for Print


Today’s Question: When printing photos what does in mean to let the printer manage the process [rather than software such as Photoshop or Lightroom Classic]? What is the alternative and does it relate to ICC profiles?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When printing a photo, you can choose whether you want color management to be handled by the software you’re using or by the printer. In general, I prefer to let the software manage the color, but the most important thing is to avoid “double color management”.

More Detail: In the context of printing, color management primarily revolves around converting the color values for pixels in the image to appropriate values that take into account the printer, ink, and paper combination being used for printing.

This often involves selecting an ICC profile for the paper you’re printing to in the software you’re using to print the image, such as Photoshop or Lightroom Classic. The software then takes the color values for pixels in the image and converts those values based on the profile. The resulting data is then sent to the printer, where the print should be an accurate reflection of the source image based on the color management that was applied.

Another option is to not select a profile in the software you’re using for printing, but rather select the option to have the printer manage the color. In this case the source data is not altered by the software, but is instead sent to the printer driver, which will then perform the conversion as needed to ensure accurate color in the print. This process doesn’t necessarily involve the use of ICC profiles, depending on how the printer software operates.

In most cases either approach is perfectly fine. You may also find that in some cases it is better to have the printer manage color, rather than the software you’re using to print. For example, some Epson printers include a special mode for producing black and white prints, and letting the printer software manage color in this case often results in a more accurate print than you would get by having the software manage the color.

The key is to choose one or the other. If you’re having your software manage color, you need to disable color management in the printer software. If you’re using the printer software to manage color, you need to select the applicable option in the software you’re using. If you select a printer profile in the software you’re printing from and also enable color management in the printer software, the color data will be converted twice, resulting in an inaccurate print.

This Week: Lightroom Virtual Summit


This week is the Lightroom Virtual Summit 2024, with 45 classes from 15 instructors (including me!) happening all week.

I’ll be presenting on “Lightroom Classic and the Cloud”, “Managing Folders and Collections”, and “Advanced Color Adjustments”, all focused on Lightroom Classic.

You can attend all of the online classes for free from virtually anywhere. In addition to the free registration there is also a VIP Pass option, which provides you with class notes from all instructors, lifetime access to recordings of all presentations, and a variety of other special VIP bonus content and benefits.

You can register for free and learn about the special VIP Pass, by following this link:

I hope you’ll join me for my three classes as part of the upcoming Lightroom Virtual Summit!

Birthday Special: 51% Off “Backing Up with GoodSync”


With my birthday falling on a Monday (today!), I’m turning it into a three-day weekend to relax and enjoy the day. Before the weekend, however, I recorded a completely updated video course on “Backing Up with GoodSync”, demonstrating the workflow and benefits of my preferred approach to backing up photos.

To celebrate my birthday, this course is available this week only for 51% off the normal price. You can use coupon code birthday51 to apply the discount, or use this link to get started with the discount included automatically:

Updating Folder Location


Today’s Question: I downloaded photos from a memory card to two different hard drives before importing into Lightroom Classic, with the intent of having one copy in my primary storage and another copy on backup storage. However, I accidentally imported from the backup location, and made metadata updates after that. Is there a way to tell Lightroom Classic to use the primary location rather than backup location for the photos, but without losing the work I’ve done in the meantime?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can change the source for a folder of images in Lightroom Classic by using the “Update Folder Location” command.

More Detail: The “Update Folder Location” command is one that most photographers aren’t likely to need, but that can be incredibly helpful when it is needed. This command enables you to change an existing folder in Lightroom Classic to point to a different folder. This would generally only be used when you had more than one copy of a folder, and Lightroom Classic isn’t referencing the correct copy.

In the scenario for today’s question, for example, photos were imported from the backup location rather than the primary location. You can fix this by simply redirecting Lightroom Classic to use the primary folder rather than the backup folder using the “Update Folder Location” command.

To update the folder location, right-click on the folder that is currently in the wrong location in the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module in Lightroom Classic. From the popup menu choose “Update Folder Location”. In the dialog that appears you can then navigate to the correct folder location and click the Choose button. Lightroom Classic will then update the reference for the applicable photos to the updated folder location, with the prior folder location disappearing from the Folders list.

Note that this command should only be used when the duplicate folders represent an exact match, since Lightroom Classic will be expecting the same photos in the updated folder location that are already being managed within the catalog. Again, that means this command isn’t one that very many photographers likely need, but it does streamline the process of updating a folder location in a situation where you have multiple copies of a folder.

Unable to Eject Hard Drive


Today’s Question: Recently one of my hard drives refuses to be ejected through the operating system. Instead, I get a message that the drive may be in use, even though I’ve quit all applications. Is this an indication the drive may be going bad?

Tim’s Quick Answer: While not being able to eject a drive could be an indication of a problem, most likely the drive is being used by a background task.

More Detail: In most cases if there aren’t any applications running, or at least no applications are actively using an external hard drive, you should be able to eject the drive through the operating system so it can be safely disconnected without the risk of file corruption.

If you are finding that a drive won’t eject properly, there’s a good chance that a background task is accessing the drive. For example, I use and recommend Backblaze ( for backing up photos and other important files to the cloud, and this type of backup will run in the background without being obvious that it is doing so.

In the case of using an online backup such as Backblaze, you can pause the backup when you need to eject a hard drive that is being backed up by the service, and then resume the backup when it is convenient to do so.

If backup software or another background task isn’t the reason the drive can’t be ejected, the next thing I recommend is to shut down the computer with the hard drive still connected, then disconnect the drive and start the computer again. I’ve often seen that this will resolve whatever issue is causing the drive to not eject normally.

If you’re absolutely certain that no software is accessing the drive, and it still will not eject properly through the operating system, then I would recommend running diagnostics on the drive to see if there’s an issue that can be resolved or that would indicate that a replacement is in order.

“None” Option for Smart Collections


Today’s Question: I’ve been creating smart collections in Lightroom Classic based on your lesson on the subject from your video course. When defining the criteria for a smart collection you can choose “any”, “all”, or “none” from the Match popup. But I can’t think of any reason why I would every need the “none” option. Can you explain how this might be used?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think it is easiest to think of the “None” option for matching rules with a smart collection in Lightroom Classic as providing a way to get results for the opposite of criteria you may have defined using the “All” option.

More Detail: Smart collections in Lightroom Classic can be thought of as saved search results, in that you define specific criteria based on metadata and the smart collection is automatically populated with the images that match the criteria you defined.

In my experience when photographers are creating smart collections most of the time, they need to use the “All” option from the Match popup, so that only images that match all the metadata criteria you’ve defined will be included in the smart collection. For example, you might create a smart collection for photos that both have a star rating above a certain level and that include a particular keyword, so that the smart collection will contain the best photos of a given subject, for example.

In some cases, you may also want to use the “Any” option. For example, if you use both a star rating and a pick flag to identify favorite photos under different circumstances, you could create a smart collection that includes criteria for both having a pick flag and having a star rating above a certain level, but then use the “Any” option for the Match popup so that photos will be included whether they have a star rating or a pick flag, without having to have both of those attributes. One of the potential challenges of using the “Any” option, however, is that the smart collection might then contain a particularly large number of photos.

Sometimes, however, you may just find it easier to create a smart collection based on the “None” option when the way you’re thinking about the images is to think of the criteria they don’t meet. For example, I add a keyword of “InstagramShare” to images I share to my Instagram feed, and I use star ratings to identify favorite photos. So, of course, my favorite photos would not have a rating of zero stars. So I could create a smart collection where the criteria include the Keyword field including “InstagramShare” and the star rating being zero stars, but then use the “None” option from the “Match” popup so that the smart collection would include photos with a star rating but that haven’t yet been shared to Instagram.

Note that I will be covering the creating of smart collections in Lightroom Classic both in presentation and my detailed notes (included with a VIP Pass) for my class on “Managing Folders and Collections” as part of the Lightroom Virtual Summit that starts next week. You can sign up for a free pass or get details about the benefits of a VIP Pass (including recordings of all sessions and class notes from all instructors) by following this link:

Webinar Recording: Optimizing Detail in Photos


On Wednesday, May 15th, I presented a live online presentation on “Optimizing Detail in Photos” as part of my “GreyLearning Live!” webinar series.

During the presentation I shared tips for determining how much detail should be revealed in a photo, and demonstrated techniques for revealing just the right amount of detail and enhancing overall texture in photos.

You can view a recording of the full presentation on my “Tim Grey TV” channel on YouTube (be sure to subscribe and like!) here: