Tip: Changing time (zone) and complex file renaming

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    Topic: Tip: Changing time (zone) and complex file renaming Read 2264 Times
  • Heiko Hamann
    Heiko Hamann
    Posts: 24
    Adobe Lightroom & Adobe Camera Raw
    on: August 6, 2019 at 5:15 am


    LR has a really great engine to rename files. But it has one problem: it only can add information to the filename and isn’t able to delete information. But sometimes this might be very useful:

    When importing my images, LR renames them to e.g. “20190806_104530_DSC_4711_Nikon D800E.jpg”. I like this naming, because it lets me sort the files outside LR, too. I can also see which camera was used, especially when I look at my vacations, where I use 2 or 3 models plus iPhone. The things become complicated, when I see big differences in date and time, for example when if I have forgotten to set the correct time or time zone in every camera. Beginner’s error, but it happens… LR is great, as it can change the time in tne metadada menu. But – there is no chance to correct the name in LR, as I cannot delete the wrong part of the file name. Changing it outside LR will result in loss of any work, that I did in LR after importing the files.

    After a few days of racking my brains about it, I found a solution:  John Beardsworth’s Search Replace Transfer Plugin. The plugin allows complex  (bulk) changes of metadata. In short, I could do the following with it:

    • First I corrected the time settings of the images in LR in the metadata menu
    • in the plugin I then transferred the file name of the images into an unused IPTC field (e.g. title) with the function “Transfer”
    • then I deleted the letters 1 – 16 in “Search + Replace” with the function “Slices Characters” (I did replace them with nothing)
    • in the field Title now only the original filename is displayed and behind it the correct camera
    • I can now rename the files correctly with LR by simply combining the corrected time with the content of the Title field

    Sounds awkward, but it’s very easy once you’ve done it.

    The tool can do a lot more and I’m already thinking about changing my import workflow so that I don’t rename the file first, but first copy the original file name into an IPTC field and then do all the renaming. But you can also do it afterwards (see above).

    I got the idea through this article: http://lightroomsolutions.com/complex-file-renaming-in-lightroom-thanks-to-search-and-replace/

    There you can also find the link to download the plugin.

    Best regards,



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