File Naming Conventions

If you’ve ever struggled to find an image you need and gotten lost in endless folders in your computer you will understand the importance of having a system to organize your files. A file naming convention will make it easy to use your computer’s search function to pinpoint what you are looking for. Once you set up your system, you will find it that much easier to slot new images into the system next time.

  • When working with a wide range of images for reproduction, it is important to develop a file naming convention right from the start. All images should be named with the title of the artwork. Try not to leave default camera titles such as img0045.tif as searching for images in the future can be difficult and downright frustrating. 
  • Avoid titles like “untitled 1” or “Tree” as you may have many similar images in the future. If you don’t yet have a title chosen, use a nice descriptive phrase “blue house on hill”.
  • If you take 30 shots of one image, do yourself a favor and discard the ones that don’t work out.
  • Save only the best shots and keep a high quality version as a master. You can then make copies from that and use them for different purposes. Make sure to give them a title and what they are sized for (web, giclee, small print, etc). Files might look something like this: Pickle Jar Master.tif, Pickle Jar Print 8×10.tif, Pickle Jar Web 4×5.jpg.
  • You may want to keep all of the versions of that one image in a folder, or you can organize by use. One folder for web images, one folder for note card images and so on. Use whatever system makes the most sense to you! Here at Art Ink files are created and adjusted for specific use depending on the output or need. One painting may have up to 8-10 files (one for small press print, one for large, one for giclee, one for the web, one for emails, one for books, etc…).
  • Make sure you understand when it is appropriate to use a Jpeg. If it is a file you are going to be editing, stick with a TIFF to keep the image quality intact. 

By sticking to a naming convention from the start, you can save a lot of time and ease the organization of all your reproduction and promotional images. As an artist, it’s a necessary practice,  and once you get it sorted out, maybe you’ll be ready to tackle those vacation photos!