do your photo files have dates in them? They probably should so you can easily track them and know when they were taken even if they are not in their original folder.
But… the big questions is how do you put the date in the file name? Apparently there are a lot of wrong ways and one right way.
The matter of dating files is not exclusive to photography and since it has such a broad scope there is a standard way of doing it. It is called ISO 8601 (now, don’t get me wrong, you can name your files however you want, I am just saying that this is a standardized, common, clever way of doing it).
The format goes as YYYY-MM-DD where YYYY represents a year with 4 digits e.g. 1984; MM represents a month is two digits (even if it is under 10), e.g. 03 for March; and DD represents the day of the month, again in two digits, e.g. 23.
That means that your file names will start with something like 1984-03-23-and end with something like location-otherinfo.jpg. The entire files name would be 1984-03-23-location-otherinfo.jpg
if you want shorter name you can remove the dashes to have YYYYMMDD (e.g. 19840323). Since each part has a per-determined length, there is no confusion between year, month and day.
If you are not using this format yet, or considering a new format (just for fun), consider this:
- It is easy to read and easy to write and no “translation” is involved from words like FEB, MAR and so on. So this is easy to export and import
- It is really easy to sort the files by date, even if their original date was somehow changed (say from bringing a “bad” backup on). Or if you are doing a batch export where all the exported files will have the same “creation date”.
- It is short and has constant length (either in the long dashed form or in the dash-free form)
Of course the standard has more like, time format (HH:SS) and week of the year, but it is the date part that makes the bigger difference on naming files.
Here are a few “bad” formats:
- 03-23-1984 – this is not sortable at all. any format that starts with the day will definitely not sort.
- 1984-23-3 – nope, this one is not constant length and will put 1984-23-11 before 1984-23-2
- MAR-03-1984 – really introduce letters, really?
So to recap it is YYYY-MM-DD