Adobe Bridge or Lightroom?

Camera Sense Archives

Photoshop typically comes with Adobe Bridge which can yield many of the benefits of Lightroom in quicker and easier ways.


While for many Lightroom is a great tool for organizing and managing a large collection of images, I personally find Lightroom to be too restrictive when compared to Bridge. Right from the start Lightroom requires you to import ALL your images into a catalog, or create a new catalog for your images—which can be very time consuming especially if you have several thousand files. With Bridge there is NO need to import images into a catalog. Find the folder that contains your images and Bridge will automatically create previews of those images.


While many would say that Bridge does not have the management infrastructure of Lightroom, Adobe Bridge does give you many ways to manage and search for images, but shifts the burden of organization to the photographer by not imposing its own system on you.


Bridge has search functions and will also locate your files based on the keyword tags that you have attached even searching sub-folders. These keywords can be attached or created at any time, preferably at the moment you worked on the images or first viewed them in Bridge, or later as you prefer.


Once you locate a folder, Bridge allows you to sort images by Type, Date Created, Date Modified, Ratings, Dimensions, etc.


Bridge has non-destructive editing just as with Lightroom, and is enabled by Adobe Camera Raw. It allows you to open your files directly in Photoshop, or save your files as TIFF, or DNG (with or without encapsulating the RAW information), or JPG.


One useful feature is that you can copy your “Develop” settings from one image, and apply them to a single image or dozens, with a menu command or keystroke—including the exact masking and crop of your copied image—without ever leaving the “Essentials” main viewing area. Select the image in the main work area, copy (Command-Option-C), then select the other images and paste (Command-Option-V).


You can also select your RAW files directly to open in Photoshop as Photomerge, or load files into Photoshop Layers, or process as HDR, etc.


I find that I can create masks and adjustments on the fly with Bridge much faster and easier than Lightroom or Photoshop. With Bridge there is no need to make a “selection” as you would in Photoshop. Use the Adjustment Brush and paint directly, masking for contrast, blurring, sharpness, color balance, saturation, etc. You also have the option of tweaking the edge-feathering, flow, and density, of your brush. Do all this while you resize your brush on the fly (Right-click and drag) with real-time feedback. It’s very fast and easy.


You can view a select number of images at 100%, full-screen, and toggle between them or view them side-by-side.


You can also create Collections in Bridge, which are a kind of catalog for as few or as many topics or categories as you wish. Do this by selecting one or many images and dragging them onto a Collections folder.


What can you NOT do in Bridge?

Extensive Photoshop retouching, warping, or turn your selections into vector outlines.


Here’s an excellent video with tips for working in Adobe Bridge: