Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge

Learn the tips and tricks of managing your photographic life

Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
WOW BROWSER
Even if you use Lightroom as your primary editor, don’t forget about Bridge. It lets you import, sort, keyword, add metadata, rate, pick, and delete images—no catalog required.Theano Nikitas

Adobe Bridge started simply as an external file browser for Photoshop, but over the years it has evolved into a digital asset manager with its own nooks and crannies worth exploring. And it’s not just the features recently added to Creative Cloud—such as automated cache management, which we cover in this tutorial—that make it an integral part of a photographer’s workflow. Some of its less well known tools, such as custom labels, metadata templates, and the path bar, will help you manage media more efficiently.

We’ll look into some of the new additions as well as some of Bridge’s tried and true features. Even if you prefer to work in applications other than Photoshop, you can almost always use Bridge as your asset manager (unless, of course, you use Lightroom for cataloging).

QUICK TIP IMPORT FILES To move images and videos from mobile devices and digital cameras that use PTP (Picture Transfer) or MTP (Media Transfer) protocols, attach the card or device to your computer and go to File > Import from Device. (This feature was broken with Mac's El Capitan OS but is now accessible with the Bridge 6.2 update.) Functionality is basic—you can view and sort by metadata but you can't change data. Select individual images to import or download them all.

Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
STEP 1 Set up your cache preferences to boost performance. Go to Adobe Bridge > Preferences > Cache. Use the slider to increase or decrease the number of items kept in the cache. A higher number increases performance but it also takes up more disk space. Click Compact Cache Now to start getting rid of old JPEG previews and obsolete database records. To automate the process, check Compact Cache on Exit; Bridge will compact the cache when needed. If you don’t manually compact the cache or set it to automatically compact the cache when it exceeds 100MB, Bridge will display a pop-up message directing you to compact the cache when necessary.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
STEP 2 Purge the cache manually by clicking Purge All Cache Now. This will also help free up disk space on your computer. You can schedule automatic cache purges by checking “Purge Cache Older Than” and fill in the purge frequency for a value between 1 and 180 days.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
STEP 3 Use Custom Views or create your own to meet specific workflow needs. In the upper right of the interface, click on the down arrow that’s to the left of the search box. Choose one of the presets according to the task at hand (Filmstrip for viewing at large sizes, Metadata for checking settings, etc.) or select New Workspace to save a view that you’ve modified.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
NEW VIEW
Metadata View for checking settings.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
STEP 4 For faster navigation in folders, go to Window > Path Bar, which provides a visual breadcrumb trail of folders and subfolders across the top of the interface. To navigate quickly among folders, click on the right arrow between folder names at the top of the window and choose the next folder you want to access. To see everything in the subfolders, click Show Items from Subfolders. All images will open; it may take a while, but you don’t have to move from folder to subfolder to see your images. This is especially useful if you want to filter out, say, all the five- star images within a group of folders.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
HIDDEN MENUS
Use the options in the Path Bar to see the contents of multiple folders at once.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
STEP 5 Customize your file labels. To change Adobe’s preset label descriptions to meet your needs, go to Adobe Bridge > Preferences > Labels. Type in the description you want (I changed yellow to “needs editing” and green to a specific crop instruction). Click OK. To apply a label by name, go to the Label menu and choose the label you want. (Once you change a label description, previous labels attached to your images will turn white.) You can then view the label text by opening the Metadata view and looking at the Label column; click on the word Label to sort by your custom appellations.Theano Nikitas
Software Workshop: How to organize your photos with Adobe Bridge
FINAL STEP Create a metadata template to quickly attach copyright and contact information to your images. Go to Tools > Create Metadata Template. Name the template, check the information fields that you want to include, and fill in the appropriate information. Click Save. To add the metadata to your images, select the images, go to Tools > Append (or replace or edit) Metadata.Theano Nikitas