Today’s Question: How do I move photos from being managed by Lightroom [Classic] to Adobe Bridge?
Tim’s Quick Answer: To switch to Adobe Bridge for managing your photos you’ll want to first make sure there are no missing photos in your Lightroom Classic catalog, and then save metadata out to the actual source image files. Keep in mind you will most likely lose some information about your photos in this migration.
More Detail: Adobe Lightroom Classic uses a catalog to manage the information about your photos, whereas Adobe Bridge is a browser application that does not use a central catalog. You can certainly switch from using Lightroom Classic to Bridge, but some information will likely be lost along the way.
In order to maximize the amount of information about your photos that will be available in Adobe Bridge, you need to save metadata from your Lightroom Classic catalog to the source image files. First, you’ll want to make sure that no images are missing from your catalog, so the metadata can be saved.
Make sure all hard drives that are currently being used to store images are connected to your computer, and in Lightroom Classic go to the menu and choose Library > Find All Missing Photos. The goal is for Lightroom to indicate there aren’t any missing photos. Reconnect any missing folders and photos as needed, and then you can proceed to the next step.
If you already had the option enabled to automatically write metadata changes to the source image files, this next step won’t be necessary. However, I recommend going through this step regardless, just to be sure. Choose “All Photographs” from the Catalog section at the top of the left panel in the Library module. Make sure there aren’t any filters set, which you can do by choosing “None” on the Library filter bar in the grid view display. Select all images by choosing Edit > Select All from the menu. Then choose Metadata > Save Metadata to Files from the menu.
After choosing the “Save Metadata to Files” command, a status indicator will appear on the identity plate area at the far left of the top panel in Lightroom Classic. When that shows the process is complete, the metadata has been saved to the source images (which means XMP sidecar files for proprietary raw captures).
It is very important to keep in mind that if you stop using Lightroom Classic to manage your photos, you will likely lose some information about your photos. That is because certain features are specific to Lightroom Classic, and can’t be saved to metadata because there aren’t any standard metadata fields to contain that information.
The information you will lose (if you’ve made use of these features) includes collections, virtual copies, pick and reject flags, and history. While you will lose the actual history of your adjustments in the Develop module, note that the adjustment settings for raw captures can be saved to metadata, and those adjustment settings will therefore apply if you later open a raw capture via Adobe Camera Raw from Adobe Bridge or Photoshop.