Lightroom Classic: Rename exported file with catalog name

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In Export/File renaming/Custom settings it would be good to have the option of using the "catalog name" to automatically rename the exported files.
Really useful to speed up the export process when using multiple catalogs without having to rename the custom text all the time.
At the moment I have a text placeholder that I manually rename every time I change project which usually has the same name of the catalog
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Francesco Russo

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  • I suppose this would be a very easy feature to add

Posted 2 months ago

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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The general consensus is that it is best to work with a single catalog. That is why I doubt that this suggestion will be put high on the priority list.
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Francesco Russo

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I doubt that professional photographers would use a single catalog, when you have hundreds of thousands of raw files it gets very hard to manage and if the catalog crashes it's very risky. Ideally I would like to use a single catalog, but none of the photographers I know does it, and for a reason.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The reason being that they don't make backups? Like so many other people who come here or in other forums for help, after disaster has struck? Make daily catalog backups and the risk is eliminated and smaller than when you use multiple catalogs that you do not backup! I teach Lightroom Classic to photography students and I have 195,000 images in a single catalog myself.
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Francesco Russo

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I understand that and I have not 2 but 3 backups, but for my workflow and my folder structure it works better this way. I'm just saying that it shouldn't be too difficult to add that option when renaming files, just to give some flexibility.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I'm pretty sure this isn't going to happen, for the reasons I explained. Adobe needs to set priorities, and this won't be (high) on the list.
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Francesco Russo

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I understand this
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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How many catalogs do you have?  You could just create an Export Preset for each Catalog and Pick that one out when you export from that catalog.  As Johan said, I doubt Adobe will spend valuable development time on this request so you might as well develop a workaround.  
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Francesco Russo

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That could be a solution, but I have one catalog for each commission so quite a lot. How would this workaround work?
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Robert Somrak, Champion

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You just create a preset for each catalog using your screen clipped export File Rename template and change the Custom Text for each one.  If you have more than 20 catalogs it would probably be unwieldy but that is one of the many issues that pop up when using multiple catalogs.
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Francesco Russo

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Yeah, this wouldn't work for me but thank you.
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john beardsworth

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Plenty of users who make their living from photography use a single catalogue to manage all their work and have proper backups to eliminate the risk. The job field is ideal for identifying commissions and is available in filters, smart collections, and in export's renaming template.
(Edited)
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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To add on what John said: When you import the images into a new catalog, add the catalog name to some metadata field that you are not using right now, and that can be selected in the file renaming options on export. You can do this by applying a metadata preset on import. There are plenty fields, so there should be one you're not using. The job field could be the one.

Then create an export preset where that field is used for renaming the exported image. Just like you would select the catalog name if that was an option.


(Edited)
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Francesco Russo

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This makes sense and is very useful, thank you!

Going back to the organisation issue, I shoot mainly interiors and architecture. The trouble comes when I have to organise the images within a job because I need to separate i.e. Details/Interiors/Exteriors/Aerial/etc. and I found that the best way is to create collections so that I can manually rearrange even the order of single images when exporting in a contact sheet for the client.
If I had to do this on a single catalog it would be a huge quantity of collections and hard to handle. Any advice for this?
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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Lightroom can certainly handle many collections. I don't think there is a limit to the number of collections. By putting them in collection sets (named per job), you can keep them organised by job and collapse all jobs you are currently not working on. And you could nest the jobs in a second level of collection sets, so the collection panel doesn't grow too large.

The best solution is a solution that works for you. If you prefer to use multiple catalogs, then by all means keep working that way. Using multiple catalogs has drawbacks, such as not being able to search for images in more than one catalog, but if the advantages outweigh the drawbacks, then there is no reason to change your workflow.

Just don't think that using multiple catalogs has any advantage in terms of safety, like you initially claimed. The fact that quite a few professional photographers work this way does not mean that it's the best way to work for professional photographers. I know many very talented professional photographers who have no clue when it comes to digital asset management and have a system that I can only describe with the words 'a total mess'. :-)
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john beardsworth

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Quite a few ways to handle this! One would be to put each job's collections in a collection set, so you don't get one long list, and remember the filter box at the top of the collections panel. Another way would put all jobs' interiors in a single interiors collection, and then you select the Job in the Library Filter whenever you want to focus on just one assignment.


If you name the jobs carefully, you can easily select multiple jobs. So maybe your job names might be Client and Property. Or maybe you would reserve job for the client, and use the Location field for the property. These are both standard IPTC fields, and job especially is overlooked, but they are available in key places in LR like the filter and smart collections, and your export template might include job as well as property.
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Francesco Russo

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Right, ok, now you guys are responsible for all the work I'll need to do to go back to a single catalog structure. Shame on you! Just kidding ; )
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Francesco Russo

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So, before doing the whole merging I was trying to set up a trial collection structure that allows me to make the most out of the catalog, but I'm facing a couple of difficulties that make me think it's not really worth it:

1. The folder structure of the smart catalogs seems to be not duplicable as a whole, do I need to duplicate the folders one by one every time I create a new job? This seems quite absurd and I hope I'm doing something wrong – again.

2. One of the main filters I'm using is the Title that corresponds to the job name, and applies to all the smart collections to pick the right files from the catalog. Having 14 smart collections in the structure I worry that this means having to manually change the rule in all the 14 folders every time I create a new job.

3. One of the good things of the normal collections was the chance to manually reorder the images to give them a logical sense. With smart collections this seems not possible, but if I don't use them I lose the whole purpose of using accurate metadata.

I feel like I'm using the wrong tools for the job. Any idea of how to structure the database to achieve this kind of organisation?

Thank you for the patience and support