Tag Archives: organize

Your Guide to Adobe Bridge: Workspace

In the last post of this series we talked about the basics of Adobe Bridge. What it is, what it can do, why it’s a good thing, and some of the computer requirements. I’m sure some of you are quite anxious to start digging in to the finer details of the software, but before we go anywhere I want to talk about the Bridge Workspace.

A workspace refers to the layout of features and controls available in a piece of software. Adobe Bridge has several predefined workspaces, each having a unique purpose in the photo management process. Different workspaces mean different views, panels, and controls. I’ll lay out the various workspaces, then we’ll dig into each of their components (many of which are shared across workspaces).



Adobe Bridge has six predefined workspaces. You can also create your own space and save it if you find something that works better for you.

Default Bridge Workspace
Light Table Bridge Workspace
File Navigator Bridge Workspace
Metadata Focus Bridge Workspace
Horizontal Filmstrip Bridge Workspace
Vertical Filmstrip Bridge Workspace

And here are a couple of my own custom workspaces. They’re only slightly different than the predefined workspaces, but sometimes those little things can make a difference in your productivity. I’d encourage you to make your own workspace by dragging the various panels around until you find something you like.

Custom 1 Bridge Workspace
Custom 2 Bridge Workspace

After looking at a few of these workspaces, you ought to notice that they consist of the same parts (aka “panels”) but rearranged. So let’s dig into those panels and explore what they do.


For the purpose of this section, I’m using a screenshot of a workspace that has all seven panels visible. I don’t usually work with such a layout since tabbed panels are more space efficient. Refer to the colors in the image as I step through each of the panels.

Adobe Bridge Panels

  1.       FAVORITES
    Similar to a “Favorites” or “Bookmarks” folder on a web browser, you can keep your most helpful items in here. Favorites can include folder locations, files, collections, previous searches, Version Cue, Adobe Stock Photos, downloaded comps, Bridge Home, and a bunch of other stuff that can be set in the general preferences (Edit >> Preferences… >> General). Personally, I find it handy to keep my most used collections in there (we’ll get to what those are another day).
  2.       FOLDERS
    If you’ve ever browsed a directory tree, this one should look familiar — It’s just your folder structure on your hard drive. Folders can also be navigated in the “Content” panel, but the “Folders” panel provides a quick method of changing locations.
  3.       FILTER
    I love this panel. I think it’s one of the best things in Bridge that sets it apart from other software. Filters are a way to exclusively view photos that meet a specified criteria. Want to see only your RAW files? Or how about images with a certain keyword? Maybe you’re looking for an image with a vertical orientation? Easy — just click on the filter and you’ll only see those images. If you sort-of know what you’re looking for, filters will allow you to find it a hundred times faster than scrolling through tons of images.
  4.       CONTENT
    The content panel is a window to the contents of your current folder, not unlike a file browser on your OS. But the content panel provides more functionality than your operating system can. Thumbnails can be resized from very tiny to very large, and they can be set to scroll horizontally or vertically. Bridge caches the thumbnails for super-speedy viewing. Thumbnails also show star ratings (which I don’t typically use), labels (which I definitely do use), filename, and a few other things depending on what the photo is and what’s been done to it. This panel also allows you to access a large number of controls and commands via the right-click menu.
  5.       PREVIEW
    The preview panel is similar to a slideshow, but a little more powerful. It’s very handy for inspecting images at larger scales, comparing multiple images side-by-side (just select multiple files in the content panel), checking for sharpness and whatnot between 100% and 800% zoom (click on the image and a magnifying loupe pops up – scroll to change the zoom). The other great thing about using this preview is that everything is color manged, so your Photoshop files and RAW files will appear EXACTLY the same as in Photoshop.
  6.       METADATA
    When I first import photos this is where I spend most of my time. The metadata panel provides you with access to all the file info, EXIF, IPTC, RAW settings, and a bunch of other stuff you never knew existed. What’s really great is that you can select a bunch of images and apply keywords, descriptions, copyright info, location info, and other things as a batch.
  7.       KEYWORDS
    The keywords panel is similar to the metadata panel, but it’s sole purpose in life is to organize and apply keywords. Common keywords can be grouped, categorized, applied in batches, and renamed with this visual interface. Keeping your keywords organized and up to date can prove to be a major benefit while keywording images — I’m alway amazed at how many more keywords I can apply by just taking a quick scan through my lists.

So that’s pretty much it for the panels. I touched on a couple of usage tips and tricks, but we’ll go much deeper in subsequent articles.


To prevent this article from getting too long, I’m not going to visually highlight all of the little buttons and menus as I did with the panels. I would encourage you to explore the software interface on your own, looking for the little icons located below the menu and at the bottom of the window. Some of the panels also have buttons and drop-down menus that provide added functionality. Right-click menus contain another wealth of options to assist you with organizing, searching, and processing your images.

One major item worth mentioning is the “saved workspace” button set. Look down at the lower right of the window — you should see a “1″, “2″, and “3″. Hold down on one of them and select a preset (or custom saved) workspace. Set all three for the ones you like the most and now you have a workspace quick-launch — hit the button and away you go!


At this point I think we’re quite familiar with the Adobe Bridge interface basics. From here out I’ll be walking through my typical workflow and highlighting all of the things I commonly use the software for. In the next article we’ll talk about importing photos from your camera or card reader straight into Bridge. This is a very important step, since it can save you lots of time once you get those file on your computer. So stay tuned!

For those of you looking to obtain Adobe Bridge: Claudius Coenen mentioned on the last post in this series that there is a way to get Bridge for free. Apparently if you download the Photoshop CS3 30-day trial, the license will expire on Photoshop but not on Bridge. Now of course one of the major benefits of working with Bridge is the ability to interface with Photoshop and ACR, but it’s also handy as a standalone file management tool. Also note that I haven’t tried this out so I can’t say that it works for sure.


Here’s a video I found that goes well with the content discussed in this article.

Your Guide to Adobe Bridge: Inroductions

As photographers, we can all agree that the camera is one of our most important tools of the trade. But photography is much more than taking pictures — that’s the easy part. Photos need to be managed, organized, and processed. Thus, an equally important tool for the digital photographer is the photo management software we use. Having tried several methods of file management, I’ve settled on Adobe Bridge as my choice software.

In this article, my goal is only to introduce the concept of using Adobe Bridge as a file management tool. I won’t get into any of the specific features or operations — we’ll save that for the next several articles in this series.



Adobe Bridge is a piece of software that can prove to be crucial for digital photographers. I think Adobe makes a clear statement as to what Bridge is all about:

Adobe® Bridge CS3 is a powerful, easy-to-use media manager for visual people, letting you easily organize, browse, locate, and view creative assets. Available in all six editions of Adobe Creative Suite® 3 software and all professional Adobe creative applications, Bridge provides centralized access to project files, applications, and settings, as well as XMP metadata tagging and searching capabilities.

At its roots, the software is a file viewing and management tool. As photographers, we can rely on Bridge to work with our photographic files, including JPEG, TIFF, and RAW formats. We’re all familiar with browsing and viewing files from within our operating systems, and Bridge works in much the same way but with so many more features.

Not only can we view files and folders, but we can also add many levels of organization and structure to our photo collections. Bridge offers the ability to manage metadata and to find files by utilizing that metadata. The software also integrates with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw so that our photo editing tasks and workflow become extremely simple and streamlined.


Bridge offers the ability to view, edit, and search files and file metadata… not just some of it — all of it. On the surface, it looks very similar to a typical file browser. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Bridge offers access to information you didn’t even know existed. Camera settings, keywords, author information, dates, times, locations, genres, categories, titles, descriptions, copyright, and the list goes on.

The software also allows you to interface with your operating system file structure and organize files as you see fit. Entire collections of photos can be created, tagged, labeled, renamed, moved, and accessed via Bridge. File management and photo editing tasks can be automated for increased productivity. Photos can be processed in large batches, and metadata can be modified much in the same manner.

The whole reason for applying all of this extra information is so we can find our files when we need them. Adobe Bridge is well geared for advanced search capabilities. Search results can be further filtered and refined to reduce the amount of extra information presented. Collections can be created to give you quick access to common search queries. But being able to locate files based on metadata relies solely on your willingness to spend the time and effort applying that data to the photos.


Adobe is an industry leader when it comes to photo processing software. Based on our recent poll regarding photo editing software, 40% of you use Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) as your main processing software. Another 28% use Lightroom, and 4% use Photoshop Elements. This gives Adobe nearly 3/4 of the market share. Clearly, Adobe is a trusted brand with a huge following of photographers. My fears of Adobe products disappearing any time soon are quite low.

As an Adobe product, Bridge integrates seamlessly and fluidly with Photoshop and ACR – it is the bond that ties everything together. The software gives you the ability to automate and batch process photos with Photoshop and ACR. The software interface is simple and intuitive, and though it provides a lot of bells and whistles, the controls aren’t overbearing or in the way.

The other great thing about Adobe Bridge is that the metadata is applied directly to the files (or accompanying XMP files in the case of native RAW photos). This means you won’t have transfer issues in the event of switching computers, updating software, or even switching software. Many other pieces of software rely on database systems to keep track of files, which can prove to be a headache in the event that the software ceases to exist.


With the current Creative Suite products from Adobe, Bridge is not offered as a standalone software package. It is included with most of the CS3 product lines, including Photoshop. So if you want to get your hands on Adobe Bridge, you’ll need to first get your hands on Photoshop.

Since Bridge comes with Photoshop, you’ll need a computer that can run Photoshop. The latest versions of Photoshop are becoming evermore taxing on computer resources, so a fairly quick computer is needed (processor, RAM, hard drives, video card, etc). Bridge is also a resource-taxing piece of software. The ability to handle a large number of large photo files relies heavily on your computer, so make sure you can meet the minimum requirements for Photoshop.

Often, just meeting the minimum requirements will prove to be frustrating at best. I recently upgraded my entire computing system and I’m still finding ways to tax the hardware with Bridge and Photoshop. Currently, I’m running a Windows Vista PC with a 3GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 6000+ processor, 3GB of RAM, and a SATA II hard drive (3Gb/s). I still run into occasions when I need more juice. If you’re not serious about getting a capable computing system, you’ll find yourself doing a lot of waiting and getting frustrated.


Now that the introductions are out of the way, we can move forward with some specific features and operations in the software. In the next article, I’ll cover the Bridge workspace setup, important settings, and importing photos (if time permits).

If you’re currently using a different piece of software to manage your photos, read through my next several articles and ask yourself if you can (or even want to) do the things I’m showing with your software. Also look at your own software features and ask me if Bridge can do something similar — everybody has different wants and needs in software, and I can’t possibly guess all of them.


Here’s a video I found that goes well with the content discussed in this article.

Organize – Getting to Grips with Image Management

A note from Brian: This is a special guest post by our friend Neil Creek. I’ve been following his photography and his blog for quite some time, and I’m thrilled to have him share his knowledge of photography with a guest post series here on Epic Edits.

Part 1 – Introduction

Getting to grips with image management

Digital photography’s greatest strength can be a problem. Fast, easy and cheap photos help you to learn faster, and you’re never afraid to waste a shot, but very quickly you can end up with hundreds or thousands of photos. A strategy to sort, store and retrieve your photos is essential if you want to get the most out of them.

In this short series I will discuss my experience handling tens of thousands of images accumulated over more than four years of intense photography. The solutions covered are not perfect, and won’t be ideal for everyone. However, they helped me turn an unmanageable mess of images into an organized archive, from which I can quickly and easily find almost any image I want. There is lots of room for improvement, and I expect to hear some interesting suggestions and techniques from readers who respond to this series of posts. So please don’t take my word as gospel, but instead glean and adapt what knowledge you can to organize your own collection.


What we’ll cover

Photo of photos

I’ll be covering the subject intensively, using my own system as an example, and taking an in-depth look at major issues facing digital photographers, including the following:

  • Step-by-step organization from capture to output
  • Naming conventions for files and directories
  • Metadata management
  • Hardware setup
  • Backup methodology
  • Search and retrieval
  • Suggestions and stories from readers
  • Looking to the future
  • References and resources of interest

How to participate

There’s a wealth of experience in the huge community of photographers but I can only relate my own experience. I would like to make this series as interactive as possible and to get some real brainstorming going, to make it a more useful resource . Working together, we photographers will be able to create a resource that can save hundreds of photographers much time dealing with disorganized images and save anguish by minimizing inevitable losses.

You may want to participate in the following ways:

Organized images
  • Leave a comment below asking a question about image management you would like answered
  • Post a favourite link or the title of a favourite book on the subject
  • Write a case study of your own management system on your blog and post the link here
  • Leave us with a tip or small nugget of wisdom that others might find valuable
  • Write a short account of a horror story where your poor management caused you to lose some images or a valuable job
  • Make a suggestion for an issue to be covered that I haven’t mentioned above

So if there’s anything you’d like to share, please leave a comment or a link below in this posts comments. If I use your contribution in a later post in the series, I’ll fully credit you and link to your site. Of course you will retain full copyright on your submission, but by posting it below you agree to allow me to use it on this site.

This should be interesting! Please look forward to my next post in the series in about a week’s time. See you then!


Reorganize Your Flickr Photos

Photo-sharing sites like Flickr and Zooomr allow you to organize your photos into sets, collections, or some other form of grouping. You can group however you’d like: category, topic, genre, place, time, popularity, or whatever else you can come up with. Maybe you’re the type of person who has a whole bunch of really specific sets with just a few photos in each one. Or maybe you’re the type of person who has just a few broad sets that are overflowing with photos.

My point is that sometimes you should really evaluate how your photos are organized and maybe shift things around to better accommodate your current collection of photos. I did this just a few days ago, and I feel a whole lot better about my organization scheme. Prior to this, I had maybe 5 or 6 generic sets — some of which had too many photos and other had just a few. Here’s how I’m organized now: