Bridge versus Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: What is the difference between Adobe Bridge and Lightroom Classic for organizing photos?

Tim’s Quick Answer: The key difference between Adobe Bridge and Adobe Lightroom Classic is that Bridge is a browser that does not employ a central catalog while Lightroom Classic does use a catalog. That catalog serves as a database that tracks the information about your photos.

More Detail: There are, of course, a variety of differences in terms of features in Bridge versus Lightroom Classic. But the core difference relates to the catalog.

The benefit of a catalog, and thus of Lightroom Classic, is that you’re able to manage your photos across the entire catalog, in many respects even if the source photos aren’t currently available (such as when an external hard drive is disconnected). With Lightroom Classic you can browse your photos, update metadata, search across your entire catalog based on a variety of metadata values, all without the source photos currently available.

In Bridge you need to have your photos available in order to be able to manage them. And while it is possible to search for photos based on various criteria across an entire hard drive, for example, that process is considerably slower because of the lack of a central catalog.

So, there are clearly some significant advantages to the catalog with Lightroom Classic. There are, of course, some disadvantages. As many photographers have realized, if you perform work with your images outside of Lightroom Classic, the catalog will not match your photo storage, and folders and photos can go missing. So, you do need to be a little more careful in the context of a catalog, but there are benefits to be gained if you use a proper workflow with that catalog.