Batch Renaming: Organizing Your Images with Adobe Bridge

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The default file name your photos have are assigned by your camera. With our Canon gear, the files are named IMG_0001 (or _MG_0001 if the photo’s color space is Adobe RGB). This is actually fine if you’re just using one camera since the photos are saved sequentially. The problem arises when you are using multiple cameras for a single shoot, or for when you delete a couple of pictures and leave gaps in the sequence. Renaming your files will help keep everything organized.

When Lisa and I cover events, we rename the files so that the DVD the client receives will show the photos taken by at least two different cameras in correct sequence. There are a lot of freeware/shareware programs online that deals with renaming numerous files at once but you really only need Adobe Bridge.

Open Bridge and go to the folder where your photos are located. Click on the first photo you want to rename. You should see the thumbnail now highlighted. Go to the last photo in the batch and hold down Shift key and click on it. You should see all the thumbnails now highlighted.

Right-click on any one of the thumbnails and select Sort then By Date Created. Your photos should now be arranged according to the time and date the photo was shot.

While the thumbnails are still highlighted, right-click again and select Batch Rename.

This will bring up another dialog box with all the options you have for renaming your files.

I would suggest that you select Copy to other folder at the top of the dialog box so that the original files will remain intact. This will save you a lot of trouble in case anything goes wrong during the process.

Under the New Filenames section of the dialog box, you can select what format you want your new file names to be in. We personally like the date to be at the front of the file name before entering a text description. We also always select 4 digits for the sequence numbers since we end up with around 1, 000 plus images for some of the work we do.

You click on the Plus button beside the file name options to add more fields if you want to be more detailed or click on the Minus button to remove a field. Once you’re done with the file name fields, you can see a preview of what the file name will look like at the bottom of the box.

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