Digital Photo Tip: Naming Your Files / Digital Photo Storage


Digital Photo Tip: Naming Your Files / Digital Photo Storage

Today’s digital cameras produce awesome image files. Even older digital cameras produce wonderful image files. The problem is the cameras don’t give a description of the image, only a cryptic number. This doesn’t tell much about the picture you took. Below are some tips in organizing your images by renaming them and storing them. When you go back and look for an image, it will make it much easier to track down the one you are looking for. First is a list of things to think about when determining what works best for you when naming your image files. Second, we will explain our practices to digital photo storage in organizing our 4TB of image files (Yes! That is 4 terabytes). So you can see why a naming convention process is important to us as well.

Some ideas to think about when choosing a naming convention for your images:

  • All of your images need a unique name
  • Pick a method and stick to it for all of your image files
  • If you are a pro (all others can as well), consider putting your last name and first initial in the description so your clients, or friends, know where the image came from
  • Don’t put too much information in the file name but enough to identify easily, use keywords in the metadata for any detailed descriptions
  • Put the date of the photo in the name
  • Avoid funky characters (/ ? < > : “ * | , . .) and avoid blank spaces, but do use the underscore character instead
  • Consider using an identifier to specify the version of a file that you have resized, edited for web, or other intended use
  • Consider including the size if you have printed a particular image file
  • Continue using a numeric identifier (sequential numbering like the camera started with)
  • Put in specific folders to group a trip, a job, website, or whatever

Example File Name: Art_Whse_01_14_14_001_web400x600.jpg

Based on the above file name, we can see Art Warehouse took the photo on January 14, 2014, it is the first image, and it has been edited for the web at 400 pixels by 600 pixels.


Here at Art Warehouse, like was said above, we have approximately 7TB (and growing) of image files. When we receive a call to print something from a year ago, we have to be able to locate the file quickly and easily. Based on our naming conventions and digital photo storage practices, we can easily go right to the file. Our naming conventions follow some simple guidelines:

  • We start by creating a customer specific folder – Simply first name and last name
  • Then we create specific folders within each customer folder for specific orders or jobs
  • We maintain an original file that we receive, all edits are done as copies
  • We leave the customers file name and append any of our additions to the end of the file name
  • Since we print all different sizes, we put the printing size of the image in the file name
  • We also print on different media, we put the type of media in the file name

Example of our organization: [FOLDER], [SUB-FOLDER], [FILE NAME (This is your file name, hopefully utilizing our tips from above)+_SIZE+_MEDIA]

Based on the first example and utilizing how we organize, we would see:

smfolderArt Warehouse > smfolderWeb > file Art_Whse_01_14_14_001_web400x600_8x10_matte_photo.jpg


Hopefully we have shared some ideas that will help you in organizing your digital photo files. Now get out and take some pictures so you can have files to name!