Today’s Question: What am I missing by not using Lightroom Classic, perhaps in concert with Photoshop, instead of Adobe Camera Raw, Bridge, and Photoshop?
Tim’s Quick Answer: There are two key benefits that in my mind might cause a photographer to consider Adobe Lightroom Classic over Adobe Bridge when it comes to managing photos. The first is that Lightroom Classic provides what I consider to be a more streamlined workflow. The second is that Lightroom Classic can make it much faster to locate photos when you aren’t exactly sure which folder that photo is contained in.
More Detail: When you use Adobe Bridge to manage your photos, you process raw captures using Adobe Camera Raw and perform additional optimization work using Photoshop. With Lightroom Classic the organizational and raw-processing tasks can be performed directly within Lightroom Classic. For more complex work, you can send the photo to Photoshop, with the resulting derivative image being managed right alongside the original capture within Lightroom Classic.
These differences do not represent a dramatic difference in terms of the overall workflow, but I do prefer the more streamlined workflow within Lightroom Classic.
The more important issue in my mind relates to the catalog that is really at the core of how Lightroom Classic manages your photos. Admittedly, the catalog used by Lightroom Classic has also lead to confusion among many photographers, causing them to create a bit of a mess in their catalog (which also led to me creating my “Cleaning Up Your Mess in Lightroom” course, https://timgrey.me/mess29).
The primary advantage of having a central catalog is the ability to search quickly across your entire Lightroom catalog. For example, I can quickly see all photos I have ever captured that I have also assigned a five-star rating to. Because Adobe Bridge is a browser without a central catalog, this type of wide-ranging search would be extremely slow.
I feel that Lightroom Classic provides a more streamlined, efficient, and flexible workflow compared to the use of Adobe Bridge (along with Camera Raw and Photoshop). That said, many of my readers understandably prefer to stick with a workflow that revolves around Adobe Bridge. Among other reasons, continuing to use Adobe Bridge means you don’t need to worry about trying to learn a completely different software application for managing your workflow.
I suspect Adobe will continue to update all of the core applications photographers are currently using. While that does mean continuing to support multiple applications rather than a single core application, it also means photographers have more options to choose from when it comes to the software at the heart of their workflow.