Photoshop Quick Tip: Save Options & File Naming Conventions


NOTE 06/23/23:  this is the third in a series of new posts called “Photoshop Quick Tips” – In this and further “Quick Tip” posts, you’ll discover basic but fundamental aspects of Photoshop – presented in bite-sized pieces – – short, concise, succinct, and to-the-point – enjoy!

The “Quick Tip” video below is a snippet from one of my free live & online “Photoshop 101” Meetups – the full recording (& notes) can be found here:



“Save” Options


When saving files, Photoshop gives you two main options: “Save…” and “Save As…”.  You can find both of these under the “File” menu (along with their respective Speed Keys).

  • With “Save…”, you’ll be saving your file with the existing name, in it’s current location.
  • With “Save As…”, you have the option of changing the name, location and file format.Here’s how it works:
    1. The first Dialog Box you’ll see is your Operating System’s “Save/Save As..” Dialog Box.Choose the name, location and File Format that you desire – Leave the Adobe RGB (1998) Profile box checked.
    2. The first time that you save your file as a TIFF, Photoshop’s TIFF Options Dialog Box pops up:Generally speaking, you’ll rarely need to change the TIFF Options settings. So, in the spirit of K.I.S.S., just Press “OK without changing the default settings, and your file is saved.

A few things to consider when saving your files:

The best format to save your Master file for archiving is an unflattened (still has layers) PSD or TIFF.

  • The best format to save your image for printing is a flattened (no layers) TIFF.
  • The best format to save your image for the Web or email is a JPEG (@ 72 PPI).
  • For all practical purposes, there is no difference between the TIFF format and the PSD format
  • You should get in the habit of saving your image frequently as you work.  It’s extremely frustrating if your computer crashes or freezes after spending any amount of time with a particularly difficult function.  I tend to save every few minutes as I work.

    A good habit to get into is to save every time you create a new layer
    — it’s a simple matter of quickly pressing the speed key combination — “Command” + S” on a Mac and Control” + S” on a PC.­



File Naming Conventions:


It is important to establish and use an easy-to-understand naming convention.  Of course, everyone will develop their own system, but let me make some suggestions:

    • I typically include “_M” at the end of a filename for an unflattened “Master File.
    • For a flattened file ready for printing, I will instead include a print size, such as “_11x14”, at the end of a filename.
    • It won’t be unusual to have multiple files from the same original image – your original RAW file, your duplicated and renamed RAW file (and .xmp “sidecar” file), your Master File, a file prepped for a particular print size, and so on – your best bet is to create a file folder named after your file, and store ALL related files in it.

Here is an example of a file-naming convention that I would use for one image, from a series on Yosemite, file #123, shot in June of 2019:

 The very first thing I do: create a separate folder called “2019_06_Yosemite123” to store ALL of my files for this image (RAW, PSD, TIFF, JPG, etc.)

  • _DSC1234.NEFThis is the original RAW Capture from a Nikon camera ( .CR2 for Canon, etc.) – duplicate and rename it through your Operating System before opening it in Adobe Camera RAW.
  • 2019_06_Yosemite123.NEF (& .xmp) – This is the duplicated and renamed RAW file (and its accompanying .xmp file)
  • 2019_06_Yosemite123_M.tif – This would be the unflattened “Master File, prepped for proper contrast, color, and so on.  This file can be used for a multitude of uses, such as different print sizes, web output, etc.
  • 2019_06_Yosemite123_11x14.tif – This would start from the Master File.  It would be flattened, sharpened and cropped for an 11 x 14 print.  If you have multiple printers, you could even go so far as to add an “_E” at the end for an Epson printer, “_L” for a LightJet printer, and so on.
  • 2019_06_Yosemite123_5x7_72ppi.jpg – This also starts from the master file, then flattened, sharpened, and cropped for a 5 x 7 print.  The file resolution is also reduced to 72 PPI, (rather than the normal 300 PPI for printing) so that it’s more adaptable for use on the Web.



•  AVAILABLE NATIONWIDE – for more on my free live & online Photoshop Meetups, click here:


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•  By the way, this is all based on my Photoshop book designed for photographers, “Not just another Photoshop Book”, available exclusively on Amazon:


Questions? Please contact me – also, feel free to comment and forward this to your photography friends!


Thx again, and cheers,


John Watts 🙂



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