In general, I rename my files when I'm importing them. I have a preset that looks something like this:
It's basically putting a timestamp as the filename but adding a sequence on the end as a safety net for instances where there's more than one image per second. The result is pretty ugly, but it has some benefits. It ensures that each file has a unique name. All the files list chronologically. And it provides an alternate way of quickly finding the file if for some reason I'm having to search through a filesystem by date.
But there are times that I don't have renamed files in my Lightroom catalog. Quite often I use the Add function in the Import dialog to bring in files that I've sorted elsewhere like PhotoMechanic.
Or maybe you want to batch rename the original files for a client. Or perhaps you just want to change your file naming system for existing files.
Lightroom offers an easy way to batch rename files. Here's how to do it:
1. Select the Images
In the Library mode, change the view to the thumbnail grid to select multiple images at once.
2. Choose Renaming Pattern
From the right panel, go to the File Name line at the top. If you're selected multiple files it should say "mixed".
To the right of that line there's a small gray menu icon. Click on that.
You'll then get a popup renaming window.
If you click on the File Naming option, you'll get a drop-down menu with your file naming presets. You can choose any one you want, whether that's one of the built-in ones or something you've created before.
If you want to make changes, just select one, and then choose the "Edit" option at the bottom of the list. You can build your own pattern using the tokens to dynamically generate text or just insert static test.
This example is a basic time-stamping one, but you can make it as simple or as complicated as you like. You have access to the full range of system file information like timestamps as well as metadata. If you're doing one-off, like adding a client's name to the filename, use one of the presets using a Custom Name and add a sequence at the beginning or end to make each filename unique.
Batch Rename the Image Files
Once you click on OK back in the Rename popup, Lightroom will process the images and rename the files. And that's really all there is to it!