Adobe Bridge (free software)

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It seems like everyone is going to the “cloud” nowadays, and this can be good thing, especially when it comes to Adobe Bridge. Adobe Bridge was originally packaged with Adobe Photoshop, but it is now a stand-alone application.  Adobe allows you to download their “Creative Cloud” application, and once its installed, it will automatically download “Bridge CC” to your computer.  They might want you to try some of their other cloud apps, but that’s totally up to you, “Bridge CC” is installed free of charge.

This product can be of great value to anyone who downloads photos from their camera to their computer, wants to organize them, determine which ones are “keepers”, open any photo by clicking on it, and view the metadata that your camera stores about each shot.

The Photo Bridge

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You may be wondering why “Adobe Bridge” is called “Bridge”. Well, that’s actually what it is. It’s a bridge between your camera and your computer and from Bridge CC to whatever photo editing software you are currently using.

Once you have your camera plugged into your computer, or have inserted a memory card into a card reader, you can download your photos.

Photo Downloader

There is a software program that comes with Bridge called “Photo Downloader”, which you can access by selecting “File | Get Photos from Camera”. This program allows you to:
  • Specify the folder where you want the photos to be imported.
  • Create a subfolder for the new photos based on the date.
  • Change the name of the imported photos (e.g. “Img6039.jpg”) to something more meaningful.
  • Automatically delete the photos from your camera once they’ve been imported.
  • Have all photos imported or select which photos you wish to import.

Workspaces

Adobe Bridge has a number of workspaces. Each workspace provides a different layout and has a different function.

essential_workspace_80Here’s a screenshot of the “Essential” workspace. This workspace displays a thumbnail image of each photo, plus a larger image of the currently selected photo. You can select a thumbnail using your mouse or your keyboard and then view a “full screen” image by pressing the spacebar. At this point, you can step forward and backward through your photos using the arrow keys.

In addition to the Essentials workspace, there are the “filmstrip”, “metadata”, “output”, “keywords”, “preview”, “light table”, and “folders” workspaces.

Metadata and Keywords

Metadata is basically information about something. When your camera takes a photo it stores quite a bit of information about it. Within the metadata you can find information such as “keywords”, “date created”, “orientation”, “ISO speed”, “exposure time”, “aperture value”, “focal length”. To most people this is probably not too important, but for someone trying to learn more about photography and how to take better pictures, this can be extremely helpful. By viewing the metadata you might be able to determine why certain photos turned out better and what went wrong with others.

Keywords, on the other hand, can be useful to everyone.  Select all the photos that contain “Uncle Henry” and then add the keyword “Uncle Henry” to these photos.  Once you’ve done this, you can filter the photos in your folder based on their keywords.  Clicking on “Uncle Henry” will show just the photos that “Uncle Henry” is in.  Photos can contain one or more keywords, so you have a lot of options as to how you might like to filter your photos in the future.

Finding the Keepers

Let’s say that you’ve just come back from your trip to Europe and you have taken over 500 photos while over there. That’s a lot of photos to send to your friends and relatives, or post on “Facebook”, so what do you do? Here’s where Adobe Bridge really shines! Select all the photos in your folder and then click on “View | Preview Mode”.

Preview Mode

Preview mode places all your photos in a carousel. You can then step through your photos by using the left and right arrow buttons. If you want to exclude a bad or poor photo from the rotation, just press the “down” arrow key.

While a photo is displayed you can press the number keys 0 to 5 to give it a “star rating” of 0 to 5 stars. Once you’ve rated all your good photos, you can filter them based on their star rating, and then copy the BEST ones to a new folder.

Installing Adobe Bridge

To install Adobe Bridge you need to go to the Adobe Bridge download site and click the “download” button. You will need to have an Adobe ID to proceed, so if don’t have one, you can create one as part of the download process (obtaining an Adobe ID is simple and you do not need to own any Adobe products to get one).  Once you have downloaded the “CreativeCloudSet-Up.exe” file to your computer, the next steps are as follows:

install_bridge_steps01

There is so much more that could be said about Adobe Bridge.

If you want more information on how to use Adobe Bridge, you can view or download the “Bridge Reference Guide” here!

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