How to Use Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge – Photo Editing Tutorial

January 24, 2012

in Photography Tutorials, Photoshop

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

Whether or not you have been long-time Photoshop user, you may not be using its features to their fullest. In today’s free tutorial, Lindsay Horn shares how to get the most out of Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge.

It’s an internal debate for many Photoshop users – buy Lightroom or not? One thing that may sway your decision, as it did mine, is whether or not you are using your Photoshop programs to their full potential. Once I buckled down and set out to learn more about Bridge and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) I realized that together they are more than capable of taking care of my needs when it comes to sorting, culling and raw processing.


After importing my images, I open them in Bridge. I use Full Screen mode (press space to both enter and return from Full Screen) so I can see more detail (TIP: Click on the image to zoom in even further). In Full Screen mode you can rate images by clicking numbers 1-5 (use Ctrl+number when not in Full Screen) and click Ctrl+Delete to dump an image.

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

Once back in the standard Bridge view, you can use the Filter box on the left of your screen to sort images by your ratings and finalize your selections. I give 4 stars to keepers, then after a second pass I weed out any duplicates to 3 stars (in case I want to come back to them later), and ultimately give images posted on my blog and Facebook 5 stars.

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

Once my final set is selected, I create a new folder for my editing. Then I run Batch Rename to copy them into that folder with new sequential numbers. Select your final images, go to Tools, and click Batch Rename. There are many different options for renaming, so check the preview at the bottom to make sure it is set up correctly.

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial


In Lightroom(LR)2, the develop module is the exact same as Adobe Camera Raw (ACR),  although I do believe there were some minor adjustments made in LR3. Regardless, you aren’t going to lose any significant processing abilities by editing your RAW images in ACR as opposed to LR. Clicking on any RAW image in Bridge will open it in ACR. There are two ways to batch process images in Bridge and ACR.

1. Copy/Paste Settings

When I’ve already processed one image, I’ll use this method to apply those settings to images with similar lighting.

  • Select the processed imaged.
  • Right click, click on Develop Settings, and then Copy Settings.
  • Select the similar images (Ctrl click for more than one).
  • Right click, click on Develop Settings, and then Paste Settings.
  • Choose which settings to copy in the pop-up box (I use the defaults) and click OK.
  • If necessary, select the newly processed images and click enter to open them in ACR to make individual adjustments.

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

2. Sync in ACR

I use this method to process a set together:

  • Select the similar images in Bridge and click Enter to open them in ACR.
  • Make your adjustments to the first image.
  • With that image still selected, click Select All and then Synchronize to apply the settings to the other images.

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial

And there you have it! Discovering these functions in my existing programs has been a great help in my workflow and saved me the money and time involved in purchasing and learning a new program. Hopefully it will do the same for you!

Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge Free Tutorial


Lindsay Horn Profile Pic Lindsay Horn is a natural light photographer specializing in modern and unique senior photography in Dallas, TX.  She is also one of the photographers behind Wardrobe Wednesday, a free resource that helps clients look their best for their portrait sessions. Check out Lindsay’s website or follow her on Facebook or her blog.



{ 21 comments… read them below or add one } October 21, 2016

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Evans Joey January 23, 2016

I’m always amazed at how well overall the camera does in capturing the correct white balance. I’m also amazed that for once I was doing something correctly! I actually follow the steps above and then sync the C/B to similar pictures for a quick start. I do, however have much better luck with steps 1 and 2 than I do with 3. I have terrible time finding the correct spot to select with the tool; too bad there’s not a neutral gray quick mask.


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Katelyn March 28, 2013

This is just what I was looking for! I’m new to the Adobe Creative Suite and was excited about the new tools, but not really sure how they worked. Thank you for the helpful advice and tips!


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kerry July 24, 2012

Great tutorial! Just made editing a sessions SO much easier. Thank you!


Dawn April 23, 2012

Debating on getting Lightroom? Have you used Photoshop Bridge for workflow, read this and learn more


Sara April 20, 2012

thanks so much for this. I’ve always used Bridge/ACR for my raw processing and never realized there was a bulk rename option! So excited to know that now.


Dawn-Hamilton Color Lab April 19, 2012

Thanks for the great tutorial, I’ve been playing with Lightroom, the 30 day trial, but I’m so stuck on Photoshop and my own shortcuts and settings it’s hard to switch over. I’ll have to delved into Bridge and improve my work flow, thanks for the tutorial.


Cynthi February 17, 2012

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed. I had no idea I could rate my images in Bridge. I will definitely be using this after my session tomorrow.


Olga January 27, 2012

Great article! Thankful I found such an article as this. I did learn new. Thanks a lot. =)


sara taylor January 25, 2012

thanks . i have just bought lightroom and nearly commiteed to spending the time learning BUT i do my workflow as you described above so perhaps that is well ok!


Angie January 24, 2012

Great tutorial that explains how to Use Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge in Photoshop! via @iheartfaces

Reply January 24, 2012

Photo Editing with Adobe Camera Raw and Bridge


Lindsay Horn January 24, 2012

Hi Carrie,
There are no silly questions! 🙂 I import my images using Bridge. When you open Bridge there is a tiny camera icon near the top with a downward arrow. When you click on that you can choose your camera/card and import into a file of your choice. After importing, I navigate to that file inside of Bridge. If you double click on any RAW image inside of Bridge, ACR should automatically open. It is included in CS5. Sometimes you may need to update ACR through the Adobe website to make sure your camera profile can be read. I hope that helps!


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Baby Making Mama January 24, 2012

I’ve been wanting to learn how to batch process using bridge, thanks so much for this tutorial! Will be bookmarking for sure!


Carrie January 24, 2012

Thanks for this article! I do have a few questions though. I have been debating this question for months. I bought CS5 and definitely do not use it to it’s fullest potential yet, but I’m looking forward to learning more. Right now I’m using Aperture for Mac as my main space to cull/sort/organize and do minor adjustements/edits. I like it, but have been debating switching to Lightroom. At the risk of asking a silly question, you say that you open your images in Bridge after importing them –where are you importing them? And is ACR a part of Photoshop? I didn’t see it as a separate application in my Adobe file.

Thanks so much! I really appreciate all you do–your post are always helpful and inspirational!


Diana Liang Photography January 24, 2012

Great article! I’ve been wondering about making the jump to using Lightroom, but I was doing well enough (I thought) mucking my way through Photoshop for my photo editing. I especially like the batch processes you describe here. Talk about time-savers!
Diana Liang
Children Photographer
Lansing, Michigan


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