Know your digital image file extensions and how to use them?
Create an "image description" for every artwork.

How to "name" your digital image files for distribution.


Ruffle Bracelet
Artist: Harriete Estel Berman

Collection Museum of Art and Design

Every time you send your digital images to a fellow artist, writer, editor, customer, store, gallery, or museum, the "name" of your digital image files can help the recipient organize your images for easy use and more likely exposure for you.

Effectively "named" digital images will assure that your files stay together on another computer and not get lost or mixed up with other  images.

A document in the Professional Guidelines titled Working with Digital Images Effectively offers solid information for the arts community. I suggest that you take time to review this document for more comprehensive information about digital images.


Names for digital image files should include (in this order): 


Obverse Obsession
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

Use your last name at the beginning of your image file names and adopt this as a consistent method when you send your images.

Here is an example for my images.  I added my first initial because my last name is common. 

  • berman-h-aol-earring.tif  (all lowercase example)
  • Berman-h-identity-chair.tif.  (lower and uppercase)

BermanPenguinDrop72 If you are sending a large group of images that you want to stay in a particular order (not alphabetical), add a number immediately after your name.

  • berman-h-1-bad-earring.jpg
  • berman-h-2-Penquin-Drop72.jpg
  • berman-h-3-aol-earring.jpg
  • berman-h-4-candy-earring.jpg

Do not add spaces or an underscore (_) in the file name.

  • bermanh_greenbr.doc

AOLBlue72 Try to make sure that your image names actually identify the photo and relate to your image description.  Generic names like "Earring1"  or "earring2" make it difficult to remember which item is in each file.  Instead use a descriptive name such as:

  • berman-h-blue-earring.jpg
  • berman-h-hearts-earring.jpg
  • berman-h-eye-earring.jpg

ConvHeart72 Capital letters are discouraged in web images.  If your images are for a web site, use lower case letters only. 

My web images are saved at 72dpi.  So I add "72" to the image file name to easily distinguish which are my web images.

  • berman-h-conversation-heart-72.jpg

This post is part of a series on improving your digital images and photography. Stay tuned for more practical and proactive tips for professional success in the coming weeks. 


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How to "name" your digital image files for distribution.