Bridge vs. Lightroom

I hear a lot of people talking about how Lightroom has supplanted the Bridge as their program of choice for handling all of their image needs and workflow.  I have to admit that I use Lightroom and it does have some butt-kicking features for photographers.  I think that the reason Lightroom is so good is that Adobe finally involved the public in the development process.  It’s hard to give the people what they want if you don’t ask them first.  That being said, I still find it hard to give up my Bridge.  Sure, it’s still a little slow to load and there are features that I find completely ridiculous like the magnifying loupe  (Hey Adobe, I want to zoom in on the whole image, not just a little piece).  But all of that aside, it beats Lightroom out in a couple of categories.

First and foremost, sometimes when I want to open an image in Photoshop, I want it opened without having to save a whole new copy that I may never use.  Maybe I want to work an image and post it to my blog.  Lightroom only gives me one choice for a raw image and that is to make a new PSD file that Lightroom automatically saves into the same folder.  So now I have this PSD that I fiddle with and have to save as a jpeg for uploading to my blog.  That means I now have 3 copies of the image on my hard drive.  The raw file, the PSD, and the jpeg, all taking up valuable bits and bytes on my already crowded drive. Now I have to go back and delete the PSD to save space since I never wanted it in the first place.  A little suggestion to Adobe for the next version of Lightroom, give me a jpeg option under  Edit in Adobe Photoshop CS3.

Another great thing that the Bridge lets me do is view and work with images that don’t reside on my drive and, more importantly, I don’t want to have to import to work with.  If I want to do anything with an image in Lightroom I have to import it first.  Of course this is because you aren’t really changing anything in Lightroom that actually effects the image, it just holds those changes and applies them when you export the image.  That’s a great concept except sometimes someone hands me a thumbdrive containing an image that they want adjusted and printed.  Guess where I’m going first, yup, right to the Bridge to pop open some thumbnails of those images.  Then I am going to right-click and open those images in Camera Raw.  And I’m going to do all of this without saving the images to my hard drive first. The same holds true if I only shoot a couple of images that I need to work with right away but don’t care about saving for later.  I don’t always shoot two or three hundred images at a time that I need to store and sort and adjust.

Finally, there are those great Photoshop goodies like Contact Sheet II, Image Processor, Merge to HDR, Photomerge, and others that are all available to me right inside the Bridge by going to the Tools/Photoshop menu.  I use these all the time and I love the fact that I don’t have to open Photoshop first, find my images, and then apply the tools when I can do it all from the Bridge.

So do I love Lightroom?  Absolutely!  It is a remarkable program that has revolutionized the workflow process for photographers.  Is it everything I need in my workflow?  More often than not, the answer is no.  Which is why I am still a huge fan of the Bridge and will remain so for some time to come.


  1. Absolutely agree! Literally!
    Thanks Jeff!

  2. Alright then Jeff, now you have to give us a run down of your workflow in two ways: LR and Bridge.

    I’ve been frustrated with the PSD only option also. I’m just an enthusiast, so I rarely keep the PSDs ever to begin with. LR is certainly a powerhouse and it does some great stuff, but even after getting through a “shoot” in record time, I’m still not completely, completely convinced.

    I think.

    I’m not sure.

    I’d like to see it send a copy of the effected RAW file to Photoshop, or the effected RAW itself.

  3. mike meyer says:

    We talked about this the other day. Sometimes you just want to open an image or have a quick preview, and that’s faster in Bridge. And you can open more than one image going to the Camera Raw option from Bridge and selecting all then making corrections. That was supposed to be the big new feature in Lightroom. I think Lightroom is really cool for a few things but one frustrating option is how you can have three view of the same image open in your window at the same time. Preview, Filmstrip and Navigator view. Two is plenty. Unfortunately I think Adobe made an entire new program so they could get an additional $300. from everyone who owns Photoshop. They could have easily added the few UNIQUE features of Lightroom to the Bridge. But still I had to have a copy to try it for myself. I think if you are a working pro who needs to catalogue thousands of images then Lightroom is the way to go. If you don’t shoot a lot everyday then stick with Photoshop and the Bridge, you’re gonna need that anyway when you want to add type to your image.

    mike meyer

  4. Great post, and I totally agree with everything mentioned. I’ve stopped using LR to open files in photoshop for the reasons you mentioned. Basically, I use lightroom initially to sort, rate and develop as far as LR will go. Then I close down LR, open Bridge and use Bridge to open and edit the files in photoshop. I don’t save any files as PSD unless it is a collage or something that I can’t redo in 3 minutes or less because I don’t like the file sizes.


  5. Mike Palmer says:

    I will 5th that thought process. I find bridge a lot more usefull when working Pano’s and HDR also.

  6. mike meyer says:

    Well, not quite the firestorm as scotts last post but it’s still a very good point. I’ve got a couple items on order about the Bridge and Camera Raw. I’ll see if there are some hidden secrets in the material to turn me 100% away from Lightroom. By the way have you figured out the Secret Pro Button on your Epson 2200 yet? Maybe Vinny knows where it is 🙂

    mike meyer

  7. mike meyer says:

    Hey I just noticed your counter. Wasn’t it at 15,000 just the other day. Hey all you readers out there !!! Leave a comment or two. I know Jeff loves comments 🙂

    mike meyer

  8. this article is OLD and you CAN export your LR photos as a JPEG and not have to go through PS…

    The date should be put uptop next to when the article was written. Instead of reading comments to find out an eta as to when the article ‘may’ have been written.

    Just a suggestion…




  10. Bill Romano says:

    It’s Sept 2016 and I’m still in creative suite 5 because I refuse to give Adobe another penny. Their support model is pitiful, Barnes and Noble stocks nothing on Adobe (although you can order a variety of $50+ books that purport to fill the missing gaps). Bridge and Photoshop will do fine. I think there are other offering from Corel and maybe others that can compete with these packages but I’m stuck because InDesign has no alternatives. I published a book using InDesign and it did fine with minor problems with indexing (Word does indexing better) but is useless on large documents with lots of images. So I’ll keep using what I have. I did look at CC but there’s so much junk there I’ll never use and while the first year might be reasonable, we all know that once you’re committed the price is going to get rough. I’m much happier with a purchased license and the software on my computer. But there is no way to speak to anyone at Adobe and the forum’s seem useless. Sorry for the sour grapes.


  1. RT @Photowalkpro: Bridge vs. Lightroom

  2. Bridge vs. Lightroom Awesome take on this. I learned something new about Bridge too

  3. Chris Seddon says:

    @timallenpho He mentions a few things that I use in Bridge…

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