Processing Multiple Images with Camera Raw and Bridge

Here is a suggested workflow for efficiently processing multiple images using Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge. Whether you're working with a small group of photos from a family event or a large group from an entire wedding, the more work you can do with batch processing, the more time you will save.

  1. Start in Bridge with all of your raw or jpg photos in the same folder. Activate the single image review mode by pressing the spacebar. Using the number keys (1 through 5) or the reject key combination (Opt-Delete), choose the best photos (5), the pretty good (3), the poor (boring, bad composition) (1) and blurry and awkward rejects (reject label). I prefer using these 4 options but you can use less numbers if you like.

  2. Hit the Esc key to exit Review mode. Using the Filter tab, hide and show each category to make sure you are happy with your choices (this makes sure that you didn't accidentally reject a good photo or assign a 5 to a photo that is really better as a 3). For your final image processing you'll be using only 5s and 3s. If you are only creating a small gallery, use only 5s. If it's a larger event like a wedding, you will use both 5s and 3s. Sort any not good enough 3s into the 1 category, photos that document the day but aren't worth showing or posting. It's always better to show 20 great photos and than 20 great photos mixed with 80 boring/okay photos.

  3. Hopefully most of the photos are taken at the same event in the same lighting. Choose a representative photo of the general colors and lighting and open it in Adobe Camera Raw (Cmd-R). Adjust the settings in the Basic tab starting at the top with White Balance, Temperature, Tint, Exposure and work your way down to Saturation. Adjust any other settings as desired.

  4. When you are satisfied with your Camera Raw adjustments, click on the tiny fly out menu icon to the right of the Basic tab. Choose Save Settings, give your file a meaningful name and click Save. If you would like your setting to show up in Bridge when you right click and choose Develop Settings, make sure you save your setting in the default location which is User > Library > Application Support > Adobe > Camera Raw > Settings. If you mistakenly save it in a different location, you can always place it in that Settings folder. You may have to refresh Bridge (F5) if it doesn't appear.

  5. Exit Camera Raw by clicking Done. In Bridge, select all of your photos and right click for the drop down menu to appear. Choose Develop Settings and click on the saved setting you just created. After applying the global adjustment, open photos individually in Camera Raw (Cmd-R) that need specific attention: cropping, extra exposure adjustment, horizon straightening, etc.

  6. Once your image adjustments are final, you are ready to do the final batch processing. But there's one more step. Almost all images benefit from some sharpening. Depending on whether you need to export high resolution jpgs to create prints or low resolution jpgs for a web gallery, step into Photoshop for a minute and create a high resolution sharpening action or a low resolution sharpening action (if you don't know how to create an action, I'll do an action "how to" at some point in the future - just skip this step for now).

  7. Back in Bridge, select all of your images you'd like to export. Select Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor. In section 1, it should say the number of photos you have selected. In section 2, choose a final destination folder. In section 3, choose jpg or tif depending on whether you want high res or low res final images. Use Resize to Fit to resize images down to a new maximum height and width. In section 4, choose the sharpening action you created in the previous step and make sure the Include ICC Profile box is checked. Click Run. Sit back and enjoy all of the time you have saved!

Photo credit: user babykrul

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