8 Replies Latest reply: Mar 15, 2011 7:40 AM by GrandmaSmithy
GrandmaSmithy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
As a new user of Aperture, and about to embark on a shiny new library, I'm doing as much research as possible to find the best way to start, and to stay organised.
I've been reading Kirby Krieger's posts about organising your library, which has been really useful in understanding the basis of how Aperture works and how to keep things as clean and uncomplicated as possible.

One question I have, how do seasoned Aperture users name their files?
What are the best practices for setting up rules?
I'm assuming they should include some of the metadata - dates (ie YYMMDD_) and possibly original filename too (to pair .jpg and .cr2 files) - along with location or memorable shoot name.

I'd be really interested to hear what systems people use - and what's the best way to bulk rename files on import.

Thanks in advance.

MBP 17, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 1. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)
    And you're going about it the right way!

    Link to thread on [Naming Convention|http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=12757157&#1275715 7].

    Thanks for the complement.
  • 2. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)
    (Managed to truncate my own message. Here's some more:)

    So for me that's:
    "{Image Date}_{Custom Name}_{Sequence #}_{Master File Name}"

    where the fields in curly braces are supplied by Aperture in the File Naming dialog. "Custom Name" prompts me for a custom name. I use "Shoot_Location", e.g.: "DawnBirding_Blackwater". So:

    +2010-11-04DawnBirding_Blackwater91 of 233_DSC09415+

    . Putting the date at the head of the file name in Y-M-D sequence means I can sort and group easily inside and outside of Aperture
    . Putting the shoot and location allows me to find stuff when I've forgotten to (or not yet) keyworded, and adds information very useful outside of Aperture
    . Sequence number gives me a quick-to-see unique identifier within each Project, and also helps me confirm proper file selection during import (I always click one image and check the file name before I click the import button)
    . Sequence number has also been useful when re-joining missing Masters
    . Master File Name is the original file name (for me, straight from the camera).

    Note that there is no reason to use a short file name. The total amount of data contained in the file name is trivial compared to the amount of data in the database. Set up your file naming convention in any way which helps you meet your needs -- and stick to it.

    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger
  • 3. Contrarian Reply
    DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Just to be difficult, err, different.

    Naming files is really more of a Finder/Explorer/Photoshop concern. With Aperture, you no longer really have a Name=File, one to one relationship. Thus, I simply use the names that spit out of the Camera.

    Same reason that you don't really have to include dates in Project/Folder names; Aperture will ALWAYS give you your images by date.

    This isn't to say that Kirby doesn't make a lot of sense (He always does) or that I don't still embed a date in my Project names (Sigh, I still do) but none of that is really necessary.

    I do, however, name the files I export.

    As with all advice, YMMV.
  • 4. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (23,830 points)
    I got to go along with DiploStrat on this one. I tried a number of different naming schemes but nothing really gelled for me. I find images in Aperture by date or keyword or by the stage of development or by album; by a number of things but name just never worked for me.

    I leave the masters with the camera name, this also lets *Do not import duplicates* work for me. I sometimes name versions if it seems appropriate but I don't kill myself sticking to any formal convention.

    Of course on export I'll name the image but the name depends more on how the image will be used rather than on what the image is.

    I think good key-wording and captioning are more important then worrying to much about filenames. I also added a field, comments , which I use to hold varied information about the image and its current stage of development.

    This doesn't mean that what Kirby wrote isn't valid (again as DiploStrat wrote) its just that a lot of this is very personal and you should feel free to find the combination of factors that work for you.

    One thing I can say for certain is whatever scheme you wind up using better feel natural or else you won't stick with it and in the end it will be worst then doing nothing.
  • 5. Ouch!  Ouch!
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)
    Two of the most commendable commentators in this forum have recommended that the Aperture user not bother renaming files on import.

    I don't strongly disagree. In fact, I mostly agree -- and for everything one does within Aperture, this makes sense and hews to the concept of +image management+ as primary (replacing +file management+, with which we all had to contend when images were always files and image managers were simply fancy file browsers).

    I propose the following two reasons for spending the time to informatively rename files when importing them into Aperture (and I mean renaming the Master files).

    Before I settled on Aperture 3 for my DAMS, I used, concurrently, Lightroom 3beta, Aperture 3, and Capture One Pro (not, at the time, an actual DAMS, but a great RAW developer). When I decided to go with Aperture, I had a few thousand images in LR3b, and several hundred developed in C1P. Moving these images in any organized fashion proved hard to do. A good part of that was simply user ignorance and bad practice -- I was new to photography and DAMS and made a curdled mess of things. I realized there were two things I wanted to take into consideration as I invented my workflow in Aperture:
    . I should prepare for the eventuality of using other (non-Aperture) tools on the same files (I shoot RAW only)
    . I remained responsible for the +file management+ of my RAW files even as Aperture provided great tools for managing the images I would be creating from the RAW files.

    My ornate file naming is designed to let me recreate my core Library easily from my complete collection of RAW negative. That's the first reason.

    The second reason is simply that it is so easy to implement a file naming convention that there is no reason not to. I have set mine as a preset, called (in case I have another biking accident) +"Kirby Standard My Captures"+. I keep the "Rename Files" bricklet in the Import Files bricklet stack. I fill in my custom name field for each shoot, and Voila! Done.

    The bonus is that each of my image files has enough information in the name that at a glance I know what it is and where it belongs. I don't need to view the files, I don' need to any cross-reference. I like that so much that I often retain much or all of the file name for the Versions I create and the image files I create via exporting.

    For me, it's a negligible effort which knits me a safety net which comforts me. Each user's knitting and pluck are his/hers to determine and satisfy.

    I don't mean that lightly. Repeating Frank's excellent & sage advice:
    +One thing I can say for certain is whatever scheme you wind up using better feel natural or else you won't stick with it and in the end it will be worst then doing nothing.+

    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger
  • 6. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    GrandmaSmithy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thank you so much Kirby, Diplostrat and Frank for replying in such detail. I can't tell you how helpful it is and how much I appreciate it.
    Apologies also for asking what seems to be a regular question!
    To be honest, embracing Aperture is a steep (but pleasant) learning curve. I come from years of fiddling in Photoshop, so getting my head around the concept of a program that does all my management and organising for me is still a little overwhelming! It does everything that I wanted PS to do, without having to constantly dip in and out of Bridge.
    It's for this reason that I'm trying to come at Aperture from a completely different angle, learning how it works and how to maximise it - rather than trying to force old Photoshop conventions and workflows to fit.
    I'm actually really excited about having a program that will let me tweak and organise to my heart's content - which is a bit of a sad, geeky confession, but it's better to have a program that lets you enjoy your photography, rather than just dumping them and wondering where the **** it was you put them!

    I can see now that using date criteria, etc, for naming becomes superfluous, with Aperture doing the donkey work for you and being able to virtually organise files based on any criteria you choose. I admit to being a little like you though Kirby, in that although I embrace Aperture whole-heartedly, I'm still a little belt and braces in case in the future I migrate to something else.
  • 7. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Braces indeed!

    There is nothing wrong with a robust naming convention and indeed, if you use referenced masters, it may be a very good idea. (I much prefer a Managed library, but our own Sierra Dragon can give you very detailed descriptions of the times and reasons why Referenced masters may be better.)

    The only thing to remember is that all of your edits ("adjustments" in ApertureSpeak) are separate from your master image file until you create a new file by exporting. (Incidentally, Lightroom works the same way.) This is, of course, the opposite of a normal Photoshop workflow.

    All the best.

  • 8. Re: Workflow Question - Naming Rules
    GrandmaSmithy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Diplostrat.
    I'll bear that in mind.

    I'm currently making stacks of notes in Evernote, to keep track of all the great advice I'm getting.
    Thanks again.