We take photos of fashion items (shoes, bags, clothing, accessories), hundreds per day. Each product can has a different number of images (from 3 to 10). Right now, the image name is incremental (0001.jpg, 0002.jpg, and so on).

I'm looking to find a way to automatically recognize the first and the last image of each product. So for example:

  • Product 1: 0001_0001.jpg, 0001_0002.jpg, 0001_0003.jpg, 0001_0004.jpg
  • Product 2: 0002_0001.jpg, 0002_0002.jpg, 0002_0003.jpg

Does any option exist that by clicking on a button on the camera, increments the prefix by 1?

Another way could be to differentiate the images in folders. I read a Canon manual and it seems we could set it with 'Manual reset', but I don't understand how to save each product in a different folder.

Another alternative might be if there exists a way to shoot a 'fake' image with different properties (eg. very low/high ISO) and separate the images on pc with any software.

I'm looking for something having a really low impact on photographer productivity.


Ps. I'm not a photographer but an operational guy ;)

  • \$\begingroup\$ For panoramas, the common trick it to shoot an image in between the the lens cap on. Without that I often accidentally delete something that is part of a panorama :( \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 14:58
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Itai I usually shoot my hand pointing right before the bracket or pano, and my hand pointing left after the bracket or pano. I came to my solution for the same reason (accidentally deleted part of the bracket/pano). =( \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 16:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't know about Canon, but on my Sony it's very easy (though not quite one-click) to create new folders on the card and tell the camera to save new photos there. Why not ask the photographer? He should know his gear. \$\endgroup\$
    – user29608
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 1:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'd also recommend some sort of 'dummy' shot between product shots to make it easy to quickly find where one ends. I used to do this when shooting the kid's soccer matches - 4-5 shots of the back of a nice red chair really stand out when you're browsing 100s of thumbnails of green grass & blue sky. \$\endgroup\$
    – FreeMan
    Commented Oct 18, 2017 at 12:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you can shoot tethered, perhaps somebody at the computer can arrange images into folders on the fly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gnudiff
    Commented Nov 1, 2017 at 19:27

4 Answers 4


Changing file numbers in camera for every product would be tedious and take up to much of the photographers valuable time (photographer productivity).

Perhaps the photographer could change media cards between each product and have an assistant label each card with the product name. ??

Typically catalogue/organizing is done in post processing by using a media cataloging program to assign keywords to to group of photos, so when you use the search function of cataloging program your results show all files with the word or words you have searched for. ( which needs to be done even if you do the cards swap trick anyway.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ we shoot more than 150 products per day... we can't switch cards. \$\endgroup\$
    – Andrea
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 18:22

This is a generally good question -- I'd always be interested in an efficient way to "pre-edit" during the shoot. The bad news is I don't think there's any easy solution, at least for canon.

My suggestions:

  1. Change your goal from tagging all pictures in a group, to marking the first picture of a group. This can be done with the camera, or in an old-fashioned way.

Camera: On the camera playback mode, assign 1 star to the first picture taken from each group. This is many clicks, but it is a true metadata change to identify a photo. There may be a way to assign the star rating through a custom function or another set-up, but I didn't find any obvious methods when looking.

Old-fashioned: Signal a transition in the album by taking a picture of an all-black or all-white something. Better, make a cue card and write the relevant meta-data on it for each object shoot. Take this picture before each new shoot, or after, but be consistent. On post-production you still need to visually group the photos. To me this is the easiest and most reliable solution.

  1. Write a script. timestamp evaluation Let's assume there is an added delay for tear-down and set-up between shoots. You could write a script that reads the datetime stamp metadata after import, and identifies gaps greater than X minutes in the time the photo was taken, and bins the photos based on this. One better is a function that estimates boundaries between shoots, by identifying a delay that is 2-4 standard deviations longer than the average delay. Head over to the coding stacks for how to make this more robust or customized to your studio's workflow.

detect all-black picture Assume you take an all-white or all-black photo between objects, suggested in part 1. On import, (write and) run a script that filters for photos by exposure threshold--a high one if all-white picture is taken, a low one if all-black. Then, pictures between each identified all-X picture are put into respective folders.

The first scripting solution can likely be done with just about any coding language and no special downloads. This one would require some level of photo processing, but would be more reliable.

  1. AI software on computer. Google Photos, Apple, and I think Amazon all have some level of object-recognition software that will sort your pictures. It's likely part of many professional photo management software too. It won't be fool-proof, but it would probably get within a 95% accuracy, depending on differences in your objects.

Finally, Some marginal details that could be relevant for other, slightly different use cases: Some cameras and/or software will put photos into separate folders by date and/or geo-location (must be on camera). Useful only if such details are changing between shoots, but at least captures coarse-grain grouping of photos.


There are many Canons, but mine (5DmkIII) has the option to change the prefix of the filenames and/or setting a new folder (which automatically increments). Yes, those are a few additional actions a photographer needs to perform, but it shouldn't be that hard?


Several ideas come to me:

A: Since these are likely for some catalog, preprint a 1 page label with the product ID on it. You start a new sequence with a shot of the product ID sheet. This allow quick separation into folders or stacks or whatever in the initial post.

B: Variant on the above. Include a product ID card IN every photo. If the pic is used in a catalog, the card is cropped out.

C: Depending on the camera there are apps for phones that make it much faster to do operations that would otherwise be painful on a screen without a keyboard. The downside of this: Not all photo import software respect the folder structure of the camera card. Eject card and import manually.

D: Shoot tethered, and change destination folders on the computer.


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