Avoiding Duplicate Filenames


Today’s Question: I now own two different Canon camera bodies. How do I import photos into Lightroom Classic from my second camera body that might have the same image numbers? I don’t change file names.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Lightroom Classic will automatically append a number (such as “-2”) to a filename that is copied into the same folder as a file with the same name. However, you could also rename photos upon import to avoid this variability in file naming.

More Detail: It is not possible to have two files with the exact same filename in the same folder. In general, software or the operating system will ask how you want to deal with this issue, such as by replacing the existing file or using a unique name. In the case of Lightroom Classic this issue is handled automatically when importing photos.

Of course, if the photos were exact duplicates, then having the “Don’t Import Suspected Duplicates” checkbox turned on in the Import dialog would prevent those duplicates from being imported a second time. In this case, however, the photos aren’t duplicates, they just have the same filename. Therefore, Lightroom Classic would still copy the files, but will append a number to the filename so that the names are unique.

This could lead to variability in your filenames, such as having one file named IMG_1234.cr2 and another file that had the same name being renamed to IMG_1234-2.cr2. If you would prefer to avoid this variability and the potential confusion of filenames that are nearly the same, you could rename your photos with a different format.

You could, for example, add the camera serial number to the filename structure, perhaps using the serial number as the first part of the filename and the existing filename as the second part. Or you could use a completely different structure altogether. That renaming can be done as part of the import process in the File Renaming section on the right panel. You could also rename the photos later in your workflow within Lightroom Classic by selecting the images within the Library module and choosing Library > Rename Photos from the menu.