At some point I imported photos in to Lightroom without allowing for them to be categorised in to date subfolders. I now have a batch of files 'loose' in my 2018 folder. Since importing them I have done a lot of editing and would not want to loose that work.

How can I organise these so that they are in date organised folders?

See DSC02272 onwards

3 Answers 3


Create a folder in Lightroom, then simply drag them in Lightroom to the new folder. Lightroom will move them on disk and keep the edits.

  • Thanks! This is the approach I went for. I filtered by Metadata -> Date, then selected all from each day, created folder and 'Added selected photos'. Was quick and easy for 250 photos worth.
    – Jamie
    Jul 11, 2018 at 11:43

There are a few things you can do to sort out your photos. To preserve as much work as possible, do everything inside of Lightroom, so you won't waste time exporting and then reimporting again your pics.

First of all, I'd suggest you to use Lightroom rename window to rename photos so that shooting date and time is more easily visible to you.It's not required, but this can make easier to organize images.

To do so, use the LibraryRename Photos menu item (F2 key). Edit the default model with a pattern similar to YYYY-MM-DD HH.MM.SS NUMBER Camera Model, so alphabetical order matches with acquisition order.

Once done, enable the filter toolbar (ViewFilter Bar or \ key), and click on Metadata. You'll see the filter columns appear: click on the header of the leftmost column, and select Date. Lightroom will display a hierarchy of dates (year > month > day). Clicking on each month (or day) you'll see only shots taken on that month (or day).

Metadata filter panel

Now open the left sidebar, go to the Folders panel and create the appropriate folder structure to store your photos.

You create sub-folders right clicking on folders. When creating new folders, Lightroom asks you if you want to put currently selected photos in the newly created folder.

This way you could sort your photos.

I like to keep my photos in a folder hierarchy like this:

Folder tree

  • Year (e.g. 2018): I usually don' put any photo here
    • Year-Month (2018-07): I usually put "random" photos here, just single shots that don't belong to any project.
      • Date - Project (2018-07-11 My Project): I put here groups of photos taken for a project or during a walk. Sometimes I create subfolders here for specific subjects or models.

Since Lightroom can show you photos in subfolders, this way you can easily switch from a comprehensive view of all the photos you took in a month to a more focused view of all the photos for a project or of a model.

Next time you import new photos, stop a moment on the import window, to tell Lightroom to auto-sort your newly imported shots according to your organization model.


For a few photos, it's certainly viable to do this manually in LR, but if you have to organize some hundred picture, it's easier and faster to let the computer do what it's best for, ie. automate menial tasks:

You can move the photos outside of LR eg. with exiftool and a command line like

exiftool -d %Y-%m-%d "-directory<datetimeoriginal" *.arw

into date folders. Afterwards, let LR know about the new locations by right-clicking the root folder in LR and synchronize.

  • Do i have to replace 'datetimeoriginal' with anything? At the moment I'm getting a 'No Matching Files' error message
    – Jamie
    Jul 11, 2018 at 10:21
  • no that line can be used literal, as-is. but of course you have to be in the 2018 folder first.
    – ths
    Jul 11, 2018 at 12:07

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