How to batch-rename RAW+JPEG pairs in Adobe Bridge

Here’s part 2 of my mini-series on creating a basic image filing and naming system. Part 1 explains the basic folder and file naming structure and how to batch rename photos in Adobe Bridge. This part looks at specific situation that lots of us face – what to do when you shoot RAW+JPEG pairs with your camera.

This is often a very useful thing to do. You get a JPEG file you can share straight away, and use as a benchmark for your RAW adjustments, and a RAW file you can hone and tune at your leisure. And sometimes the camera has effects modes you want to use with the backup of a RAW file too, such as the rather good Art Filters in Olympus cameras.

Batch rename in Adobe Bridge
Here’s a folder full off RAW+JPEG image pairs. So what happens if we try to rename them in Adobe Bridge?

But these RAW+JPEG pairs do present another layer of complication for image cataloguing because now you’ve got twice as many files and ideally you need to keep these image pairs together or associated in some way so that you know they’re two versions of the same image.

How Adobe Bridge handles RAW+JPEG pairs

I use Adobe Bridge for batch renaming and it has a very smart feature that makes renaming RAW+JPEG pairs a breeze. This might work in other image browsers too – I confess I haven’t tried.

What happens in Bridge is that if you select all the RAW+JPEG pairs in a folder and attempt to batch rename them with unique index numbers, for example, as used in my photo filing system, it will automatically recognise that the RAW+JPEG pairs are the same image, and add the same index number – the files still have unique filenames because the file extension is different. One will end with the .jpg suffix while the other will end with the .NEF extension (for Nikon RAW files) or whatever file extension your camera’s RAW files have.

Well that was easy! Adobe Bridge has recognised that the RAW+JPEG images are the same, and has applied the same index number to both – they are still distinguished by the file extension.

Two times this won’t work

Easy! Except that there are two exceptions. The first problem is that if you have a camera whose RAW files are not yet supported in Adobe Bridge, it won’t be able to render any thumbnails and – for some reason – it will no longer recognise them as RAW pairs for the JPEG images.

If you attempt to batch-rename a folder full of unrecognised RAW+JPEG images, Bridge will number them individually – your RAW and JPEG pairs will end up with different filenames, so don’t do this.

This time there’s a problem. The camera is too new for Adobe Bridge to recognise its RAW files so the thumbnails are blank.
If I rename the files with the same settings as my first example above, this time Adobe Bridge gives the unrecognised RAW files a different number.

That had me stumped for a while until I figured out a solution which not only fixes the unrecognised RAW+JPEG issue but also fixes another problem I’ve struggled with for a long time – having to cull my photos before batch-renaming them.

The second problem with my file renaming and filing system is that if I do any work on any of my images before I’ve done this – and often I do need to get work out quickly – then Adobe Bridge won’t recognise the edited images as ‘pairs’ of the originals when I carry out the renaming process.

The problems get even worse if I do some editing on my shots before I’ve renamed them…

The solution? Adobe Bridge’s String Substitution option, coming up in part 3 of this series. I’ve discovered this only recently, but it’s a bit of a game-changer!

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