Sequential Renaming


Today’s Question: I shoot for local running races and send files to the organizers. I import from several different cards. When exporting the photos, the number sequence is not sequential. This makes it difficult for the organizer of the race to tell me which images they want. Is there a way to have the images export in a number sequential order? Is there a way when importing from several different cards to change the “File renaming” so when I export the files would be numbered sequentially?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this type of situation, I generally recommend renaming your photos after importing them into Lightroom. This will ensure that you can rename the photos based on the actual capture sequence, so that even if you are using more than one camera to capture images during an event, the filename sequence will reflect the order that the images were captured.

More Detail: If you are renaming photos during the process of importing the photos into your Lightroom catalog, there is a risk that the sequence number used for that renaming won’t reflect the actual capture order of the photos. For example, if you import images from two different cameras, you would likely use a sequence number where the images from the first camera would always represent a lower sequence number than those from the second camera.

Due to the potential for this type of confusion, it can often be helpful to rename photos after they have been imported into your Lightroom catalog. Once all images have been imported (and any outtakes have been deleted), you can rename all existing photos so the filename sequence will match the capture sequence.

To accomplish this, all you really need to do is make sure that the photos are sorted by capture time before you rename the images. So, for example, you could switch to the “grid” view in Lightroom by pressing “G” on the keyboard, and then change the Sort option on the toolbar below the grid view display to the “Capture Time” option. You can then select all images and choose Library > Rename Photos from the menu. At that point you can use a file renaming template based on your specific needs, but that includes a “Sequence Number” option so that the photos will be renamed with a structure that includes a sequence number based on the capture order of the photos.