Derivative Image Filename


Today’s Question: When you send a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop, Lightroom assigns a filename to the resulting image. What if you want to give that image a different filename?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can edit the filename for a derivative (or any other image) by updating the File Name field in the Metadata section of the right panel in the Library module. In the specific case of images sent to Photoshop (or other external editor) you can also change the filename structure in the Preferences dialog in Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: When you send a photo from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop and are finished working with that image in Photoshop, it is important to use the File > Save command rather than the “Save As” command. If you use the Save As command and put the image in a different folder or give it a different filename, the image won’t always make it back into your Lightroom Classic catalog.

If you prefer to use a different filename for that derivative image, there are two options for making this change.

First, you could simply rename the individual image. After selecting the image you want to rename, go to the right panel in the Library module and make the desired change in the File Name field in the Metadata section. That will rename the image within your Lightroom Classic catalog as well as renaming the actual file on your hard drive.

If you simply don’t like the filename structure used for these derivative images in Lightroom Classic, you can also change the renaming structure in Preferences. By default, Lightroom Classic simply adds “-Edit” to the existing filename, but you can change this to anything you’d like.

Start by going to the menu and choosing Edit > Preferences on Windows or Lightroom Classic > Preferences on Macintosh. On the External Editing tab, click the Template popup at the bottom of the dialog. If there’s a file renaming template that suits your needs on that popup, you can select it (or select one as a starting point). You can then click the popup again and choose Edit from the popup to make changes.

In the Filename Template Editor, you can change the template based on your preference. For example, you could simply replace the word “Edit” with “Derivative” if that was your preference. You could also use a completely new filename structure if you prefer, though I do recommend including the original filename as part of that structure so it will be easy to find the source image from which the derivative was created if needed.

After defining your file renaming structure, if you want to save the new structure as a preset click the Preset button at the top of the dialog and choose “Save Current Settings as New Preset” from that popup, enter a meaningful name for the preset, and click create. Then click the Done button to apply the change, and photos sent to Photoshop (or another external editor) from that point forward will reflect the changes you made to the filename structure.