Why I Switched from Apple Aperture to Adobe Bridge

September 29, 2009 - By 

You may have noticed during my most recent tutorials and in my new Photoshop training, I have been using Bridge instead of my old standby, Aperture. Many of you have asked why I made the switch. Well, here are the top 11 reasons I switched from Apple Aperture to Adobe Bridge along with a video to explain it all.

  • 1. Workflow: Aperture is an island.
  • 2. Backup: Confusing and untrustworthy backup solution.
  • 3. Other Apps: I use photoshop for everything.
  • 4. Version Control: Aperture saves too many versions when going back and forth to Photoshop.
  • 5. Organization: My old way of organizing (by folders) made more sense to me.
  • 6. Cluttered: Too easy to get Filled up with old projects.
  • 7. Performance: Slow to launch and hangs often
  • 8. Cost: Bridge is free with Photoshop. Aperture is $199
  • 9. Batch Processing: Bridge allows me to use Actions from Photoshop when preforming batch processing.
  • 10. Versitility. Bridge works with more than just photos.
  • 11. Color Correction: CURVES!!!
Posted In:  Ideas Photography
  • Hey Nick
    I’m not sure if the current version of Bridge supports it now,
    but I switched from Bridge to Nikon’s Viewer NX to view my nef/raw images.

    It really sucked when I had to open an image in PS all the time just to get a preview of it.
    Viewer NX doesn’t seem like a ram hog at all.

  • LOL @ curves.
    hahaha, “Sexy Curves”
    Remember that?

  • I definitely agree with switching from aperture to bridge. I tried out aperture and lightroom when they came out and I decided that I liked aperture better. Shortly after that I threw it out and went back to bridge and photoshop. The backup files were what did it for me. It being a pain to get to a single file was just too much. Maybe if I wasn’t a heavy photoshop user in the first place, it would have seemed more convenient. Most of my work falls in the print design/digital art space, so I know my way around photoshop; I have a good archive system set up to store my files; and I had always used bridge to really get in and sort out what was what in my file structure. Aperture was just too restrictive.

    If you are a photographer and nothing else and don’t want to mess with photoshop then maybe aperture is for you, but it just worked against my workflow.

  • Do you ever do tethered shooting? I was curious if you still used aperture for that?
    Also, did you ever try having aperture store your masters outside of the app’s library to a folder of your choosing? It lets you have better control of where you want your photos, but then aperture’s library just stores changes and versions.

  • If you shoot few photos, Bridge will do. But you should really just start using Lightroom. I try to limit my Photoshop input when taking photos, I really only use it for retouching.

    I came from Aperture and loved it the interface is much better than LR, but the industry seems to go for LR so I felt I had to change.

    • I agree with you. If you need to manage/organize/select/rate/keyword/edit thousand of raw files, there is no better app than Lightroom. Now I rarely need to use photoshop and only for complex localized edits.

  • I’ve been struggling with this same question for some time.
    I use Aperture now with a managed photo library. I try to do all my corrections in Aperture but I still find myself opening Photoshop consistently for masking or sharpening or cloning etc, etc …

    If the next version of Aperture isn’t a complete standalone package that eliminates the need for me to open my photos in Photoshop then I will probably switch to Lightroom.

    I also have to say how much I hate Photoshop. The interface is so antiquated. The need to rely on the mouse for simple things like duplicating a layer is ridiculous. As a whole it is still very destructive (Free transforms should not be permanent). I know Smart Layers and custom keyboard layouts are avail but Adobe has to seriously step up to the plate and rewrite this beast for the modern age.
    I know some people that use AE for layout and design before Photoshop because nothing is permanent.

    Lou …

  • Lightroom dear gorilla, lightroom!

  • Why not just go whole hog and switch to Lightroom? Ever since moving to LR I hardly ever touch Photoshop except for more involved corrections.

  • Lightroom for the win (if we’re trying to compare oranges to oranges that is). Of course, ACR + Bridge = Lightroom – the fancier output stuff.

  • Why not Lightroom? It’s Bridge on crack.

    • Yeh I would be interested in hearing why not Lightroom as well?

      I personally find the collections in Lightroom to be a really powerful tool for managing your stuff. They don’t call it *Photoshop* Lightroom for nothing!

      • Ditto. I really really wanted to love Aperture but the only thing I use it for is creating books.

        My Lightroom catalog, on the other hand, has a special place in my “Places” in Finder. I don’t know what I would do without LR. And for the reasons you mentioned above – versioning, batch processing (a slightly hidden feature that I could not live without) with photoshop actions, folder structure….

        Of course, if you’re looking for a mixed media program (not just photos), Bridge I guess does the trick, and potentially better. Lightroom is photo-centric.

      • Did you guys even watch the video?

        There he does explain why he doesn’t want Lightroom.
        And as much as I love Lightroom myself, it’s fair enough not to use it if you have your reasons.

  • Hey Nick, would share your Bridge preferences, cause i got pretty much powerful computer (pc) and Bridge runs kind a slow.. So may be my preferences are not set properly.

  • Nick ,
    What about Photoshop Lightroom 2?? have you used it? i just started using it for my RAW and love it . I use bridge to view Adobe files and projects which is the best also for Ae Presets its the Bomb, Check out Photoshop Lightroom 2 if you havent,

  • Been using Bridge for a couple years because I can use it to organize more than just my photos and it just works so seamless with all the Adobe Apps.
    Thanks for all you do man!!

  • One tricky thing about Bridge / LR / Aperture and Photoshop when using NEF files is that it throws away all the in camera image settings. I use LR 2 / Capture NX 2 / Photoshop to try to keep the color / NR. If you shoot NEF / RAW try NX 2 and Photoshop or Bridge side by side and check out the difference in color / noise / etc. Yes, it frustrates me beyond belief, so if someone has a solution Iā€™d love to hear it.

  • Nick, i’m not getting paid to advertise bit it seems that GriIron Flow might be an interesting piece of software for you.

    If you roundtrip a lot with your documents across Adobe apps it’s the perfect solution to bring structure into chaos.
    I does even more than just integrating into Adobe Workflow.

    Not the cheapes peice of app, but i’m sure worth working with it.

  • Good stuff, Nick… Although if you haven’t used Lightroom since version 1.x, you owe it to yourself to check out 2.4… I tried LR1 beta and LR1 release, and aside from the “newness” factor and the “z0mg it’s like Aperture that I can run on my PC” effect, it got old. And slow.

    Although now that I’ve seriously started using LR2, I rarely go into CS4, unless some seriously heavy lifting is needed, or I want to use one of my Actions. I could probably get ’em to run from LR, but I haven’t tried yet.

    That said, I tried using Bridge with CS4 before LR2, and it just was unimpressive… LR2 has sped up my cataloging and editing workflow easily at least 10x. And that’s on my slow aging Pentium 4 2.8ghz machine.

    At least give it a whirl, if you haven’t in a while. šŸ˜€

  • Dude. You need to use Lightroom.

  • Nick, you mentioned that you use a server in archiving your data. Can you go into a little more detail on that?


  • As a self confessed Aperture fan I wanted to try and fight in Apertures corner but I feel a little outnumbered šŸ™‚ lol
    I could probably come back with an answer/solution to most of your points but i’ll keep quiet for now.

  • bridge ? do you mean..Adobe Lightroom ?

  • I use Bridge but I have a knack for getting it to crash. I’m using CS3 on a 17in Mac Book Pro with 4 gig’s of ram but I can always find a way to get it to crash. I’m sure you’re using CS4, but have you ever had that problem? I would love to upgrade but times are tight and so is my budget. Maybe CS5 when it comes out.

    • I have the same laptop + CS3, but with more RAM… and Bridge always seems to lock up on me which is why I’m looking around to see what else is out there. So you’re not alone. And I’m not upgrading to CS4 anytime soon.

      I did some extensive tagging on all of my photos a few years back in Bridge so would love to be able to make use of all that work but then got sucked into using iPhoto for ease of uploading and sharing but am at a crossroads of where to go next. I hate all the iPhoto duplication which it sounds like Aperture does as well… so that’s out. I think I’m going to check out the newest Lightroom download… maybe it will make use of the keyword tagging that I did in Bridge without crashing my machine. That would be nice! šŸ˜‰

      Hope you find a solution too. šŸ™‚

  • I’m an Aperture user that’s been mulling the jump to LR or Bridge, but am cringing at the thought of the space that the versions will take if I convert EVERYTHING (with adjustments) currently in Aperture. Any tips to making the jump from a DAM perspective?

  • So what would you say to share some tips and tricks @ the preferences ?

  • I have to disagree with the way you are saying that you can only access your pictures by opening Aperture. I have my Aperture photos set-up to work on an external drive and I can access all my pictures anytime with any other software.

  • I couldn’t help but notice a couple other people mentioning Lightroom… I side with them, as I’ve previously mentioned. For me, it replaced both Bridge and about 92% of Photoshop.
    I’ve converted a couple of pro photogs out there too, after they saw how much more powerful it is than Bridge, particularly when shooting tethered and an art director wants to see how it’s gonna look processed right away.
    Also the upgrade to Lightroom 2 solved a bunch of small issues like having stuff on external drives, but not needing to have them connected and running to see what’s on them.
    I know you’re a busy man, but I’d be glad to show you some stuff in LR2 over a couple beers sometime.

  • I’m with Destroyer, Aperture rocks! Keeping your files and folders “in place” (external to Aperture) means you only need edit the one file – changes are automatically updated in Aperture so you can still use all that lovely photo management/meta/bling stuff..

  • You need to read the manual. Aperture isn’t an island, it’s a continent. I used to feel similar about editing in Photoshop… nearly three years later, it’s the other way around. It’s just a matter of adjusting to the tools. Having run nearly 300,000 images through it, I have to say, the organization is better than anything out there as is the flexible user interface. I’ll admit, I prefer my own back up… which is one does of Time machine, one dose of a mirrored drive and all 5 start selects stored in a cloud solution.

    But, most of your 11 reasons tell me, you never really got your arms around.

  • I’m with you Gorilla. It’s taken a few versions of Bridge to get where we are with CS4, but the versatility of Bridge compared to Aperture and Lightroom makes it a great fit to a simple and good workflow.

  • Too bad Bridge still doesn’t support drag-n-drop from browsers and Mail.app.

  • I tend to agree with Gorilla I think but I have been using Aperture for a while and have a LOT of years’ photos in there. I have a feeling that you can use Aperture with your filing system rather than letting it do its thing but I never worked out how.

    Anyway, the point of my post is this: say I want to give up on Aperture. What’s the quickest, easiest way to get all my stuff out?

  • I have a question, which is the best way to get all of the images out of aperture to start organizing them in Bridge. The thing is I kind got excited with the way aperture let’s me organize my projects, but then i realized that with bridge i have more editing control over my RAW files, but now i don’t know which is the best way to make the switch, getting my pictures out of the aperture library into a simple file structure by year, month, day? Thanks a lot.

    • @Ssorzano
      I had the same problems. Plus Aperture 3 ran like a sick dog. When you right click on the Aperture library, which is probably in your Picture folder, you can choose Show Package Contents. Everything is there. All my images, RAW and jpegs where in the Masters folder.
      Aperture had already kind of organized it all into a Year/Month/Date system, so it wasn’t hard to find stuff as long as you knew the approximate date.
      I copied the contents of the Masters folder into my Pictures folder. So now there are the Pictures/Year/Months/day etc. Hope this helps.

  • Yeah, I think you are right that LR is a bit heavy if you just need to organize your stuff. I actually use LR, but I think I will swithch to Bridge and see how it goes…

  • Thank you so much for this video!! I have a few questions. My entire photo library is now in Aperture and I’m wanting to move it all to Bridge. For the exact reasons you mentioned above. Do I need to export all of my photos and import them into bridge? My photos exist in Aperture… not in any folder on my mac… at least that I know of. I organize my photos in Aperture like I did I my PC but I have no idea how they are backing up to my external hard drive. I also have a lot of referenced photos…

    Anyway. I’m hoping you could give me a few tips on how to start this whole process! Also, what camera are you using? And software? Your video looks amazing! I have a billion hairstyle videos and I’m needing to upgrade to a better camera. I use the built in one on my imac!

    Thank you so much for your help!

    xoxo Abby

  • I just read IMAD’s thread. Silly me! Is that what you did?

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