Simple But Great Tip To Naming Your Photography Folders

There is no wrong or right way of naming the folders on your computer. It is really just a matter of preference and what works best in your workflow. Having been doing this for a number of years though I have experimented with quite a few different ways and this is by far the one I like best. Here's a quick video, less than 2 minutes long, that shares with you how I name my folders and why I chose to do it that way.

In short, I like to keep things in chronological order by date (YYYY-MM-DD), then category, then name of the clients. By doing it this way I am able to not only keep my files organized on my computer but it also makes a work queue for me in Lightroom so I know what job is up next to edit. Once I have finished with the job, I remove it from Lightroom and go right into the next job. As I said in the title, it's a simple tip, but definitely one that helps keep things organized and helps me stay on top of my editing workflow.

Fstoppers How to name your photography folders

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Joeha's picture

I use a system that includes my job numbers. I can reference any image based on the client and job title. 3145_dennerWineryPortraits and each image inside that looks like 3145_0001.dng, 3145_0002.dng, and so on. I keep a database with all my jobs in it. I use www.studio-manager.com and have been for over ten years. In most cases it's clients or potential clients asking for images and I can do a find for that client>job>image and away it goes. I've found really good piece of mind with this system. There is no "right" way to do this but does anyone do the same, or have any suggestions on how to improve this?

normal_one's picture

I do something similar but I have year folders, then within those I have the month folders (as opposed to all folders being at the same level. Within each month folder is the project.

If you use Windows, here's a simple batch file script that will create year and month folders in bulk. Just copy and paste the code below (between the ***** but not including them) into notepad and save as a .bat file (for "save as type" choose "all files" then enter .bat after the name. Put the file wherever you want to create the structure and double click to run. takes 1 second to create a bunch of folders.

*********************************************************

MD 2013
CD 2013

MD 01-January
MD 02-February
MD 03-March
MD 04-April
MD 05-May
MD 06-June
MD 07-July
MD 08-August
MD 09-September
MD 10-October
MD 11-November
MD 12-December

CD..

MD 2014
CD 2014

MD 01-January
MD 02-February
MD 03-March
MD 04-April
MD 05-May
MD 06-June
MD 07-July
MD 08-August
MD 09-September
MD 10-October
MD 11-November
MD 12-December

CD..

MD 2015
CD 2015

MD 01-January
MD 02-February
MD 03-March
MD 04-April
MD 05-May
MD 06-June
MD 07-July
MD 08-August
MD 09-September
MD 10-October
MD 11-November
MD 12-December

*********************************************************

Thomas Steigerwald's picture

I use this kind of system since 1991 and it works just fine and without errors.
I have used several paralel archiving and organizing software. But this still only work with a database. If this is not available or is defective, the order has reached its end and there is nothing more to find. So it is always system independent no matter what operating system you are in it. Used naming system: YYYY-MM-DD - Description

Thomas Steigerwald's picture

I use this kind of system since 1991 and it works without problems and proper.
In parallel, I have tried different archiving and organizing software. But they work only with a database. If this is not available or is defective, the order has reached its end and there is nothing more to find. Through this type of storage, everything is system independent, no matter what operating system you are in it. My name system used with separator "-" is: YYYY-MM-DD - Description.
In addition, I use parent folder system with dates: YYYY.
The result is always sorted chronologically shelf with simple key words:
1991
1991 YYYY-MM-DD - Description
1992
1992 YYYY-MM-DD - Description ...
...
...
2012
2012 YYYY-MM-DD - Description
2013
2013 YYYY-MM-DD - Description

Jason Clishe's picture

Ugh, I cringe when I see folders like this. I use 1 folder per month: YYYY-MM, everything goes in it and my LR keyword hierarchy manages the organization. I simply don't understand the reasoning behind so many folders for anyone that uses LR. I end up with thousands of images per folder and everything is nicely organized and super efficient.

Megan McAllister's picture

Thank you for this tip Trevor! I was wondering, do you name your individual file names this way too or just your folder structure? If different what is your file naming structure? I'm trying to get organized! Thank you!!

Deleted Account's picture

I've been sticking to "../YYYY/MM.DD (relevance, ex. Max)" with subfolders as 'MM.DD raw', _00_Print, _01_WebLarge, _02_WebSmall, _03_FullSize, and _04_Print. I made a simple script which creates the appropriate folders from the current date and imports the images/videos on my SD card into the raw folder.

This works great because I import frequently enough for there to be many folders but not enough to the point where I see a need to use folders for each months. Someday I might do this if I believe it'll benefit, but in that case it would be "../YYYY/MM/DD (relevance)".

Been doing this since day 1 nearly 3 years ago now and it's been great.