Having proper file naming and folder structures in place makes it easy to find images, see key information at a glance and ensure you do not lose images.
Everyone has their own way of working and this is just our recommendation for maintaining a tidy and practical workflow and ensuring your images can be uploaded to multiple platforms without error.
If you are a publicist or producer, you can link your unit photographer to this page, or download this PDF guide to give them so that they follow best practices before handing images over to you.
For photographers shooting stills for a production, we recommend the following file naming convention:
shoot day in YYYY-MM-DD format _ ProductionName_EpNumber(if TV)_Photographer’sInitials _ 4 digit image number
Why do this?
- It makes it easy to retrospectively find images.
- The production can identify who took the shot when sharing a job with other shooters and credit correctly.
- Starting each day’s count from 0001 makes it easier to track daily shooting totals.
What not to do:
Do not include any spaces or periods in your file name. The only period that should appear is for the file extension, for instance; .JPG or .ARW etc
This is because some platforms and operating systems get confused when they find these characters in filenames and assume it is the start of the file extension. This risks file corruption and lost images.
How to rename images in bulk:
If you are a publicist or producer and have already received images from your photographer and they do not follow the above convention, here is a 2 step guide on how to do this yourself.
Having a good folder structure in place is vital for maintaining a quick and secure workflow. Here’s how we recommend structuring your folders when shooting for a production:
>Production Name – this is the parent folder for all the images taken for the movie/show.
>Shooting day – we recommend using the naming convention: YYYY-MM-DD_ProductionName_PersonalClue
We recommend naming sub-folders this way so that again, you can easily identify its contents. The personal clue is something we like to add that acts as a personal reminder as to what images are in there. For instance it could be “deathofactor1” or “carexplosion.” Personal clues are super handy when you are trying to find that one killer shot you love from 60 days of filming!
>File formats/versioning – Eg. RAW, JPG Full Res, JPG Low Res
What about categorising images themselves, eg BTS vs unit or by actor?
This is where Adobe Bridge’s star rating and labelling system comes in handy! Other popular asset management platforms such as Adobe Lightroom have these features but we recommend Bridge for its simplicity of use and the fact you can now download it for free!
Using Bridge’s star rating and labelling systems mean you can identify very specific parameters within images without having to create endless amounts of folders and duplicate images when the fulfill multiple identifying criteria.
For instance, if a producer asks if I have any images of the director working with an actor during a particular day/scene, I can quickly identify the folder I need to look in, and can then filter for my Behind the Scenes images within that folder in Bridge in order to find it without having to spend ages sifting through dozens of folders and thousands of images.
Check out this article for more information on how to use Bridge’s star and labelling features.