February 12, 2007

Killing ’em softly with Bridge, Lightroom

I take a ton of photos, most of which turn out to be quite mediocre. Until now I’ve been using the Delete key in Bridge to blow away the rejects & move on to the next photo in line. That works well enough, but the move is kind of severe, throwing your photo into the trash. It would be nice if there were a way to "soft delete" images–flagging them for the dead wagon, but not yet moving them to the trash. So, I’m glad to say that both the new version of Bridge (available on Labs) and Lightroom (shipping very shortly) offer methods for doing this:

  • When you hit the Delete key in Bridge CS3, you’ll get the option to mark an image as a reject. If you choose this option, hitting Delete will mark your image with a red "Reject" label. You can then choose to hide (or show only) the rejects via the new Filter panel. Here’s a screenshot of both. You can remove the rejectedness of an image by marking it No Rating (via the Label menu, or via Cmd-0/Ctrl-0).
  • Lightroom lets you reject an image by hitting X while in the Library module.  To reject it and move to the next in line, hit Shift-X.  (The same convention works for setting a Pick–hit P and Shift-P.)  And from the bottom of the Library window you can click the flag icons to hide the rejects, so that they disappear when you flag them as such.  Hitting Cmd-Delete/Ctrl-Delete will then offer to remove the files from the Lightoom database, or to move them to the trash.  Note: I don’t know how much of this stuff is wired up in Beta 4 of Lightroom, but it’ll be working as described in v1.0.
Posted by John Nack at 10:00 AM on February 12, 2007


  • Faisal Abid — 1:52 PM on February 12, 2007

    Really Good Feature To Have ,

  • Steve Anderson — 4:13 PM on February 12, 2007

    Just some feed back about what I’ve encountered.
    The positive-
    1. Seems like Bridge is faster at ‘cacheing’ the photos for me to preview.
    2. Like the bigger AND smaller thumbnails. Keeping smaller seems to add to the speed.
    3. Love the ‘open in raw’ to open a select few. Good for processing to tiffs defiantly than rest.
    The negative-
    1. Loss of the flag tool
    2. Can only rate by color or star
    3. Can not rate by any text
    4. Keyboard short cuts are too far apart
    I could go on and on. One needs to understand, at least my use for editing in an efficient way.
    In browser- the mouse hovers the flag tool. 2 fingers on up/down arrows. I scroll down, flag the images for what-ever purpose. If I am comparing two VERY similar images I can bounce up/down and (VERY IMPORTANT PART) and flag or un-flag my selection as I might change my mind when the next picture comes up and I find it to be a better chpice. My fingers and hands do not need to move.
    Here is the problem in Bridge. Up/down scroll the same. But to select an image I must either 1. choose a star rating which are very tiny dots very close to each other and missing is very likely. But more troublesome is I cannot keep the cursor in one spot to make the same star rating for images as I scroll. I MUST MOVE THE MOUSE EACH TIME. Or 2. use a color to choose my grouping. Now I am operating the up/down arrows again comfortable with 2 fingers on my right hand but to reach Command 6 is straining for anything more than 50 shots. (Try editing for 3 hours this way) As you know Command 6 because 1-5 is for a star rating WHICH WOULD BE FINE IF YOU COULD TOGGLE YOUR RATING ON/OFF but to do that Command 0 WAY OVER THERE must be used.
    So for now I am using the Command 6 to color rate and separate. Hopefully These comments will make it to the “critique department”.
    I really hope some changes will be made with knowledge of how great an editing tool this COULD/SHOULD be, but of course everyone thinks there way is always best.
    My last comment is general to all of these types of programs dealing with the RAW files.
    Editing is not just deleting. This 1st process has been greatly overlooked with the focus on how great the a RAW image can be converted to a useable image.
    Hope something changes soon.
    Steve Anderson

  • Maryland Wedding Photographers — 5:52 PM on February 12, 2007

    John, are there any plans for a tool(s) to clean up these soft deletes? Even with a 500gb drive for images, I find myself constantly cleaning the drive up to have enough head room.
    [I know the feeling. It’s for that reason that LR supports Cmd-Delete for tossing your rejects into the trash. If you simply delete images from the LR database and don’t move them to the trash, however, I don’t know of a way of subsequently moving them. I suppose you could apply a rating or keyword to your other images, then export that metadata, then look to see which images hadn’t changed on disk–but clearly that’s a hack. For that reason I suggest using the soft-delete functionality to flag the rejects for deletion, then use Cmd-Delete to move them to the trash. Having said all this, it’s entirely possible that there’s a trick or technique I don’t know. –J.]

  • Joe Reifer — 4:59 PM on February 13, 2007

    Hi John –
    Why not just assign one of your color labels in Bridge as “Outtakes.” I apply star ratings as I review a group of images — if something is marginal it gets an outtake label — labels are easily applied in Bridge with one keystroke. There’s less chance of deleting something important this way. You can then view all the outtakes and decide which ones should hit the trash can.
    [That too would work, Joe. Essentially the technique I describe is simply mapping a labeling function to the Delete key, which some people may find more intuitive as the way to say “Be gone.” –J.]

  • Sean McCormack — 6:30 PM on February 13, 2007

    John, You can reject, pick or unflag an image in any Module in Lightroom, not just the Library.
    [Ah, good to know. I’m sure you could fill the Grand Canyon with bits I’ve yet to learn. ;-) Thanks for the tip. –J.]

  • Evan — 1:19 PM on February 15, 2007

    You seem to have lots of good information about photograhy, do you happen to know someone who sells wildlife paintings? this may or may not be the place to ask this but any help you have is appreciated! :)
    [I’m afraid I don’t have any suggestions to offer. –J.]

  • Steve Anderson — 10:54 AM on February 28, 2007

    I think all these comments are basically pointing out the obvious function of the app but not its Ease of Use caompared to what was tossed out in Browser CS1. Simply put any selection key stroke should be an ON-OFF. Bridge requires a differnt set of keys to de-select.
    [Yes and no. You might want to use the strategy of adding things to the Quick Collection by hitting Cmd-B/Ctrl-B. That essentially toggles a flag. The downside to using the same key is that you may inadvertantly toggle something on (or off), so you either have to check the status first, or you may have to hit the key twice (toggling the setting one way, then the other). I’ve come to like the fact that Pick, Reject, and Unflagged each have separate keys that are unambiguous. –J.]
    Again there are so many functions of Browser that were lost in the Bridge app.
    [There are? I’m not aware of any. Flagging still works with the same shortcut: Cmd-‘/Ctrl-‘ (apostrophe). –J.]
    LIGHTBOX- as I understand from the online trial and tutorials- This too is more geared for a stock photographer. Images must be put into the app before any other step. Options are given to keep in original fo;der but now it’s even more confusing. It’s a iPhoto program beefed up. One does not collect all their word documents and drag them to Word application. Traditioanlly the app sees the appropriate files, don’t change the work flow.
    [You can keep your files wherever you want. But there *is* a difference between a file browser (like Bridge) and a database (like LR), which abstracts you from the file system. You have a choice, and the engines & settings are compatible. –J.]

  • Stephen B. — 7:29 AM on March 02, 2007

    I was wondering if shortcuts could be tightly consistant across the whole Adobe product lines which would make the interactivity of each easier and a stronger selling feature of crossbranding. I have a suggestion on shortcuts.
    Maybe they could be something like example for Levels, it could be two keys such as LE to better identify the shortcut thus letting people remember more shortcuts.
    I dont know if this is possible but I am sure anything that makes productivity grow would be a greater experience for the user. Just my thoughts. thanks for listening.
    Stephen B.

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