Typically, it’s best to dedicate a memory card to one shoot. After the session, you import your images into your computer, rename them, add a few keywords, then format the card —  in-camera — for the next shoot. This is a solid workflow until you’re forced to photograph multiple sessions or subjects on the same memory card. Worry not, here’s a simple workflow to help you organize multiple shoots from one memory card.

The organizing concept

This organizing concept can be used with both Mac and Windows with several different programs. In this example, we will organize images shot of four different models  — Erika, Ariel, Amanda and Miranda — during a collaborative meetup. We will open two Windows File Explorer windows and use Adobe Lightroom Classic to rename and apply keywords to the images.

Step 1: Create a new folder and subfolder

Let’s start with Erika. Since I’ve worked with her before, I already have a folder created so I just need to create a subfolder. I click on her folder and create a subfolder, called 20181006 Florida Tech. This naming convention helps keep all of Erika’s shoots in order.

Step 2: Copy all images into one folder

Then I select all images on the memory card and copy them to Erika’s subfolder. This is a fast way to import images but comes with a few drawbacks that we will fix in a moment.

Step 3: Browse images and create a new folder based on the image

Once all images are in Erika’s subfolder, I create a new subfolder for Ariel by browsing to her folder and applying the same naming convention and do the same for the remaining models. If the model is new, I create a folder with her full name first before adding a subfolder.


Step 4: Sort, organize and move images to the different folders

I select Ariel’s photos from one Windows File Explorer window, then move them by dragging and dropping them onto her subfolder in the second Windows File Explorer window. I do this for the remaining models until the only images left in Erika’s subfolder are hers and each model has their own images in their own correct subfolder.


Step 5: Connecting Lightroom to the new folders

This is where Adobe Lightroom Classic comes in. Open Lightroom and browse to Erika’s folder. Notice the new subfolder isn’t there. I select Erika’s subfolder (20181006 Florida Tech) in Windows File Explorer, and then drag and drop it onto her folder in Lightroom.

Note: This will only work if her images are in Grid mode. Press keyboard shortcut G to enter the Grid mode.

Step 6: Rename and add keywords to the images to help organize

I select all images by pressing the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-A. Then I click File Name in the Metadata section of the side panel to rename all selected images. I choose Custom Name — Original File Number from the File Naming drop-down list, and type Erika Magin in the Custom Text field. Notice the example gives you a preview of how the images will be renamed. Click the OK button to rename the images, and then apply a few keywords to all the images. Repeat this for each of the models.

Investing 15 minutes to organize, rename and adding keywords to multiple images from different shoots will eliminate wasted time when you need to quickly find them.