make money from photography

Correct naming Conventions

Mark Lait

Mark Lait

Correct naming conventions

How many times have you done a staggering amount of work, created a masterpiece and saved it, never to find it again because 3 weeks later, you can’t remember the name or where you saved it.

You might think this is not that important but it is very much so when you can’t find that document and have to re-create it.

I was looking for a certain document one day so I did a search on my computer using what I thought was the filename and I found hundreds of documents containing that word, nothing unusual about that but what I also found was the same file saved using different names.

The issues this brings about are redundancy and unnecessary use of storage space.

Prefer to watch instead of read? check out the you tube video below.

We use a lot of stock photos for our marketing and as I was searching for that particular file I found a folder called ‘New Year’s Eve’, I wonder what’s in there I thought, so I opened it ­­­­­and there was the file I was looking for, it was this one and it still had the stock photo download name.

This is a photo of people at a party, so how would I have ever found it? I was thinking, I need a photo of a party and at the time you think ‘I know, it looks like ‘New Year’s Eve’ – I’ll call it that -so I did that and it disappeared into the abyss, never to be seen again until I found it by chance.

I hadn’t changed the name when I saved it … ‘I’ll do it later’ I thought, yeah right, you get busy doing other things and the law of diminishing intent starts to apply itself. Using correct naming conventions would have saved the day if I knew then what I know now.

I found the solution once again by breaking it down into the most basic elements and we now do this throughout the business, when you are saving files ask yourself – what is it? It’s a party so the file has been renamed ‘Party’.

Now when I search for ‘party’, everything with the that name appears and I can eliminate the duplicates or choose between the different files with the same name, yes, the machine will tell you that a file with that name already exists in that directory so just put an _2 then _3 for each different file and they will be at your fingertips whenever you want them.

I’m not the most technical guy but I know that computers like ‘underscores’ because it doesn’t interfere with the language they need to use. Don’t overthink it, just use an underscore, I’ve tried most of the others and they can cause conflict because you think you have saved a file with a certain character but the computer will decide that you can’t use that character and politely change it for you, but it won’t tell you that it has done that though.

Why would be do this? Why go to the trouble … I was in a meeting one day and a lady offered the throw away comment ‘10 minutes now or 10 hours later’.

That has stuck with me forever, later never comes and if it does and that document or file is critical, you will spend hours trying to find it, if you can find it all!

As ‘The Profit Catalyst’ this is one of the methods I have identified to save time in my business and it will save time in yours as well, what are you going to do with that time?

Get more customers of course! Or go to the beach, whatever you want really – you’re on the way to creating an incredible life for yourself so take your pick.

There’s plenty of programs out there that will handle this file organisation for you and we came close to spending four thousand dollars on one but at the end of the day, this is very effective.

There’s a great program called ‘everything’ which I have on my Windows machines, it has been fantastic as a file search, I highly recommend it, here’s the url for it.

So to summarise, when you are naming your files, think of the most obvious name for it, if it’s a picture of a Dog call it ‘Dog_1’ or ‘Dog (rolling around on floor)’ because if you call it ‘cute little fluffball on carpet’ you will probably never find it again.

A word of advice here though, don’t do it retrospectively, it’s too overwhelming – just start from now and change the way you do things by creating a new habit, minor adjustments, tiny tweaks, they all add up.

Simple things work, don’t overcomplicate your life by thinking you’re being clever, use correct naming conventions and you will save yourself bucketloads of time, and we all know time is money so off you go now, go and start saving time and money.

I hope this has been helpful, there’s more great tips at and make sure you subscribe to our youtube channel here and ring the bell to stay up to date with some cool time saving tips – see ya.