When to Rename


Today’s Question: If you rename photos upon import into Lightroom Classic, and later delete some of those photos, you’ll have gaps in the numbering for the images. Is that not a concern, or would it be better to rename later in your workflow?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t consider it a significant issue to have gaps in the sequence numbers for filenames, but I certainly understand the desire to avoid those gaps. If you do prefer to rename photos after you have deleted outtakes, I do recommend being sure that the original filenames aren’t being referenced by others (such as clients) before you rename the photos.

More Detail: The primary reason I prefer to rename photos during import is to make sure that any reference to the filename will be a reference to the new filename. For example, if you had sent copies of photos to a client for review before renaming photos, they would be seeing the “old” filenames and you would be working with the “new” filenames.

Of course, if you later delete outtakes, you’ll have gaps in the sequence numbers for your filenames. So, if you want to avoid those gaps in sequence numbers, you can wait until you’re finished reviewing photos and deleting any outtakes.

Keep in mind, by the way, that if you do rename photos in Lightroom Classic either during import or later in your workflow, the original filename will be retained in metadata. For photos that have been renamed by Lightroom Classic, you’ll find the original filename in the Preserved File Name field in the Metadata section of the right panel in the Library module, after selecting the “Default” option from the popup to the left of the Metadata heading.

However, this “Preserved File Name” metadata field is not searchable natively in Lightroom Classic, so actually locating a photo based on the original filename can be a bit tricky. You would need to use a filter plug-in such as Any Filter by John R. Ellis: