Top tips: Are you making the most of Lightroom and Bridge?

So forking out for asset management software doesn’t appeal, or your budget makes it a non-starter for now. The good news is, you probably already have some pretty powerful DAM tools at your disposal. Adobe Bridge is part of any Creative Suite, and Lightroom’s no slouch, either. Our Paul and Simon share their top tips.

First up: Paul on Adobe Bridge

“I’ve been using Bridge since the earliest versions – which were sometimes so slow they were unbearable. But now we’re on Creative Suite 6, and it’s come a long way! It’s now a really friendly, powerful interface where you can batch process files, control your colour settings, resize images, reshuffle your folders and do things like drop Illustrator images into InDesign files.”

What kinds of tasks do you use Adobe Bridge for? 

“Initially I used it for browsing folders, as the preview was much better than in Finder – you get a larger preview, you can view your metadata and you can do things like play video clips and scroll through PDFs. Now I use it instead of Finder, as it’s a quick way to navigate, preview many file types, easily view metadata, label/star images, colour code files and quickly send them into other applications such as Photoshop for processing.”

Which features do you use most?

“I’m a big believer in the labelling and starring of files. It’s a very clear indication of which files I have processed or would like to use. The Preview pane is great for watching video or scrolling through PDFs without opening the actual file. There’s also the Create a Contact Sheet tool – great for selecting files and outputting a contact sheet with very little hassle. Controlling Suite Colour Settings – central setting all the colour settings for my Adobe apps in Bridge – is great for switching between web and print work.”

How does Adobe Bridge make your life easier?

“It gives me a much clearer view of the files on the server. It saves me time because I can do a lot of little jobs in the Bridge environment, rather than jumping between applications. I don’t have to open files so see what’s in them, and I can get colour information and link data for files in Bridge’s Metadata View.”

What’s you favourite feature?

“The main interface is great, and I think it’s probably obvious now that I love the way it previews files.”

What would you like to see added? 

“Bring back InDesign contact sheets! I don’t know why these were pulled, they were brilliant.”

What other programs do you find yourself using Bridge with? 

“All the other Creative Suite applications. It’s great for juggling projects between InDesign, Photoshop and web design programs when I need them. It’s given me a lot more insight into what’s actually on my computer (and our server) and it’s a massive help to have a central hub for viewing, accessing, adding to or gaining information from files.”

What’s your top tip for a newcomer?

“Read the manual and watch the videos on AdobeTV! There are hidden depths to Bridge. It’s a great tool in and of itself, not just an extra to the other CS applications.”

Simon explains why you should learn to love Lightroom

“I started using Lightroom last year when I was at a photo shoot and wanted something larger than my camera display to preview images as I went along. The initial idea was to use Lightroom just to preview photos during the shoot and save the images straight to a hard drive rather than having to transfer from CF card later. As I used it, I also found the ‘develop’ options really useful for quickly enhancing the photos, much like I would in camera RAW, so I had a better idea of how they were turning out.”

Which features do you use most?

“The rating options come in really useful for filtering work, especially during a shoot – Flagging the shots I think are good enough to keep as I go along means I don’t have to trawl through the whole lot later.”

How has Lightroom made your job easier? 

“It has made the process of sorting through a large number of images much more efficient by allowing enhancement, rating and filtering to be performed all in one place.”

Do you have a favourite feature? 

“Remote shutter release – if your camera is at an impractical angle to operate, or to reduce shake on a long exposure, or to be lazy and sit at your computer the whole time, the shutter can be released from within Lightroom.”

What other programs do you use Lightroom with? 

“After I’ve filtered the shots in Lightroom, I like to export just the ones I need to Photoshop for more detailed editing”

What’s your top tip for a newcomer? 

“Select your ‘keepers’ as early in the process as you can. This avoids duplicating work on photos you won’t ever use. Using flags in Lightroom is a simpler version of the usual 5 star system (which is also still available) – press P to flag (or ‘pick’) an image or press X to reject it.”

Would you recommend it and why?

“I would recommend using Lightroom as the first step in processing a large number of images, whether by shooting directly into it or importing from elsewhere. It means you can work out which of your shots should progress to Photoshop, and might mean that some don’t even need to.”

Want to know more about Adobe Bridge and Lightroom? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

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