Prevent Your Photos and Folders from Going Missing in Lightroom Classic

My two previous posts (here and here) explained how to reconnect missing photos and folders to your Lightroom Classic catalog. You can save yourself the effort of doing this by renaming images or folders ONLY from inside Lightroom. This ensures Lightroom knows about the changes you made and can keep track of your photos in the process.

Rename a Folder
It's easy to rename a folder. In the Library module, open the Folders panel and right+Click (Control+Click for Mac) on the folder you want to rename. Choose Rename Folder, then type the new name in the box and click Save. This technique is helpful if your folder name is just a date and you want to add a brief description of the contents to the folder name.

Adding description to date folder name

Rename Photos
Renaming photos takes a few more steps. Usually you want to do this to a group of pictures rather than just one or two. In the Library module, begin by selecting the folder of images you want to rename. Select all the photos in the Grid view by typing Ctrl+A or Command+A (A means all). Once the images are highlighted, from the Library menu choose Rename Photos (or press F2).

Lightroom opens a window from which you can select a file-naming preset in the drop-down list. You can also create your own preset by choosing Edit. In the dialog box that opens, delete anything in the box at the top. Then type or insert fields that you want Lightroom to use to rename the photos.

File name preset of my first initial and last name,
the year the photo was taken
and the original file number

In this example, I created a preset that includes my first initial and last name, the year the photo was taken, and the original file number from the camera. This ensures the picture is identified as mine by name and the year helps distinguish photos with the same number from each other. (I have pictures from several different cameras in my catalog and for some of them the file number counter has started over so I have duplicate file names.)

When you're happy with the file naming characteristics, save the preset with a descriptive name by clicking on the Preset drop-down list at the top of the window and choosing Save Current Settings as New Preset. Then click Done. Your new preset shows in the File Naming window. Click OK to apply the new file name to the selected pictures.

Custom file name preset ready to rename 30 pictures

Learn more file management tips in Clean up Your Lightroom Classic Catalog starting October 7, 2019, in Missoula, Montana. Click here to register.