I’m sure many of you may already know this trick, but I was thrilled when I heard about it. I’ll call it the F2 trick. Did you know that you can rename virtually any group of files you’ve pre-selected in Lightroom? Suppose you’ve just imported dozens of shots you took a long time ago and they all still have the original camera file names. Pretty useless, eh? I actually believe that the original filenames are useful because they’re relatively unique. If you precede them with a custom name, such as the name of the shoot or the name of the subject, they become completely unique because the chances that you’d shoot that exact same camera file number and add the same custom information would be slim-to-none.
So here’s all you have to do: Just import your files (yes, you can do it on import, but you actually have a little more flexibility if you do this afterward). Now, if you have one name that all shots in the shoot should have, just press G to show all the thumbs in the Library module’s Grid mode (of course, you can skip that step if that’s where you already are), press Cmd/Ctrl + A to Select All, and then press F2. The dialog you see below will pop up.
Choose Custom Name - Original File Number from the File Naming menu. Then type the name you want to assign to the shoot or to the whole category of images that this folder represents in the Custom Text field. As you can see in the example below, I usually place an underline after the name to separate it from the filename. Then just click OK. Every file you’ve selected (in this case, all of them) will have the custom text you just entered added to the beginning of whatever file name you already have.
Now I know that some of you already like to name your files on import. That doesn’t really change the usefulness of this tip, because there will still be groups of files within this folder or import that you want to add a unique name to the beginning of. No problem. Just select the thumbnails for the group that needs to be renamed (Cmd/Ctrl + Click) and then repeat the instructions above.