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You’ve probably been there before: cables all over the place, trying to install OEM software, and painstakingly crafting a folder sub-structure. All that effort just to import your photos from your camera to your computer. It’s a pain.
What if there was a better way to bridge the gap between your camera and Photoshop, while also saving you time in the process? There is, and it’s called Adobe Bridge.
What Is Adobe Bridge?
The release of Photoshop 7 brought about a new feature called File Browser. As it became easier to take more digital photos, Adobe realized there needed to be a better way to manage them than opening individual files one at a time. This feature was spun out into its own software called Adobe Bridge.
While it was originally intended just as a simple file manager and browser, Adobe now refers to it as a digital asset manager. Its featureset has expanded and, until the release of Creative Cloud, it was a mandatory part of the Photoshop installation.
Although it initially supported just Photoshop, it now acts as a companion to every app in the Adobe CC collection. If you’re looking for a better way to import and manage your photos, let us guide you through how to download photos to your computer using Bridge.
Step 1: Launch Bridge
Once you have connected your camera to your computer, you will need to launch Bridge. Although it is a companion app to the rest of the CC Suite, it does not open automatically when a device is connected. To start downloading photos from your camera, navigate to File > Get Photos From Camera. You can make this happen automatically when you connect the device with these steps:
- macOS — Head into Preferences > Behavior > When A Camera Is Connected and enable Adobe Photo Downloader.
- Windows — After connecting the device, in the AutoPlay window select Download images – Adobe Bridge.
The Photo Downloader window will open. To use the default settings, just select Get Media on the bottom right of the window.
If you want more control over which images are imported and how, then select Advanced Dialog on the bottom left. This expands the window to show image thumbnails and additional settings.
Step 2: Select Photos
In the Advanced Dialog each photo is displayed as a thumbnail. Below each is the image name, captured date, and time. By default, all images are selected. You can choose not to download some by deselecting the image’s checkbox.
Step 3: Set Save Options
On the right hand side of the Advanced Dialog you can modify the default save options. Bridge automatically selects your computer’s default Pictures folder as the save location. If you want to change this, you need to select Browse (Windows) or Choose (Mac) and browse to your desired location.
Bridge can also import the photos into subfolders in your chosen location. Using the drop-down menu you can choose between four options: none, custom name, today’s date, and shot date.
Step 4: Rename Files
Most digital cameras will give images unhelpful filenames like “IMG_123.” That naming convention is manageable if you aren’t taking many photos. However, if you are taking large batches of photos, or need them to be marked as separate sessions, you can use Bridge’s rename feature.
Bridge offers you quite a large degree of flexibility if you choose to rename. You can rename files to match today’s date, the shot date, a custom name, shot date + custom name, custom name + shot date, or subfolder name.
Alternatively, if you choose Advanced Rename in the dropdown menu, you get the option to create your own custom naming combination. You can choose any combination of Text, New Extension, Preserved Filename, Sequence Number, Sequence Letter, Date Time, and Metadata. Make sure to check the boxes for Compatibility if you want your images to be compatible with other operating systems.
Step 5: Tweak Advanced Options and Metadata
Before importing your photos, there are a few additional options that you can toggle. Selecting Open Adobe Bridge opens the main Bridge window after the import. The Delete Original Files option will remove the original photos from your camera. If you want a backup of the photos, select Save Copies To and choose a location.
Converting to DNG
If you would rather your Camera Raw files were converted into Digital Negatives (DNGs), you can use the Convert To DNG setting. If you want to tweak the default conversion, select the Settings button to the right of the Convert To DNG checkbox.
The DNG Conversion Settings window allows you to change four settings. If you want JPEG previews created of your images, you have a choice between Medium and Full sizes. You can also select None to prevent JPEG previews being generated. Selecting the Compression checkbox will compress your images to reduce file size.
Image Conversion Method allows you to choose between Preserve Raw Image (to maximize the data preserved in the DNG) or to Convert to a Linear Image. If you select to Embed Original Raw File the camera raw file will be embedded into the DNG. Embedding the raw file makes a slightly larger DNG file, but it means you can extract it if you ever need it.
Using the Apply Metadata settings, you can add custom metadata into every image as it is imported. The default metadata template is Basic Metadata, which includes Creator and Copyright information. If you want to create your own template, head back to the main Bridge window and navigate to Tools > Create Metadata Template.
Step 6: Complete the Download
You should now have selected all the photos you want to download and tweaked any settings necessary. Click the Get Media button on the bottom right of the Photo Downloader to begin the download. A progress bar will pop up to keep you updated.
The Photo Downloader will close once the import has finished. Once this has happened, return to the main Bridge window and your photos will be ready and waiting for you.
A Bridge From Camera to Computer
You may think that a digital asset manager isn’t really all that interesting. However, using Adobe Bridge you can quickly and easily import your photos directly from your camera. Using its powerful and customizable image renaming feature can save you a lot of time too, and make it easier when you want to find a specific image.
One of its strengths is its cross-platform functionality. Whether you are on Windows or macOS, you can use Bridge’s advanced management features. macOS users even get a extra feature: the ability to import images from iOS and Android devices. Since Bridge is included in all versions of Adobe CC, it may comfortably find a place in your photography workflow.
Had you heard of Adobe Bridge before? Do you think you’ll give it a try? How do you download your photos? Let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Fure via Shutterstock.com