June 10, 2011, 4:08 a.m.
posted by zloy
Using Bridge for Winnowing the Shoot
Remember back in Chapter 1 when I mentioned the steps you would take to properly winnow your shoot? Bridge is the Photoshop tool for this kind of work. Let's take a look at the specific tasks and how to do them efficiently in Bridge.
Organizing and Regrouping in Bridge
If your shoot consisted of photos for different purposes or clients, you'll want to start by physically placing those photos next to one another in their appropriate groups. Say you took a road trip to a location portrait assignment and going to and coming from the location, you shot some scenics and nature. While in the town where the assignment took place, you saw a few subjects for stock photos. Then, of course, there were the portraits from the shoot. This is how you would organize your images:
If your collection is fairly small (say, fewer than 200 shots, just as a guideline), it's probably easier to drag and drop. Bridge allows you to physically drag images into any arrangement you like. The thumbnails will stay in that position forever, tooas long as you don't move them again. Here's the quick way to rearrange a relatively small group of files:
If your collection is quite large, place a color label under images that belong in the same large category, such as people, buildings, and nature. You only have a choice of six colors for labels (none, red, yellow, green, blue, purple) and six star ratings (05), so you can have only twelve categories. Make a list on a piece of paper or index card of what each color or star grouping should be, something like the list in Figure.
Remember that the use of the ratings mentioned above is temporary. You can very quickly get rid of them when you're through doing this "quick grouping" by selecting all the images in the folder. Then, from the Browser menu, choose LabelNo Stars.
By the way, I set up a table in Word with these colors and categories attached. When I have a different type of group to sort, I just rename the categories and print out the chart. You may want to copy the one above and do the same thing.
These are pretty good large categories, but if you specialize in certain types of subject matter, you may want to substitute them. Also, note that I've assigned what are probably two of my least-used categories to the categories that have no keyboard shortcut for assigning the rating. It may also be that you can think of far more large categories than these, but chances are that you can consolidate them into larger categories in the beginning. For instance: glamour, portrait, men, women, boys, girls, seniors, strippers, and hippies are all subcategories of people. There may even be subcategories in those subcategories, such as male hippies, female hippies, senior hippies, teen hippies, and juvenile hippies. Some categories also overlap. Don't worry about any of these smaller categories yet. Once you've organized a large shoot into large categories, you can either reassign the labels to subcategories and resort just that area or simply drag and drop to make the categories more obvious.
Now, keeping your list handy, click on each image individually and use the keyboard shortcut in the table to assign it to the proper category. When it's easier, you can do this to multiple files at one time by Ctrl-clicking to select the individual images and then pressing the appropriate keyboard shortcut to assign the same category to all of them.
Once you've labeled everything, follow these steps:
Once you have the files physically organized into groups, select all the files in the group and batch rename (see the "Batch Rename the Images for the Shoot" section later in this chapter) each group according to what your list(s) say those names should be preceded by. Be sure to batch rename each subcategory from the camera's filename. Your finished file organization should look like Figure.
Figure. Batch renamed and sorted files in Light Table view.
Once you've done that, you should remove all the rankings and labels so you can assort them into winners, keepers, don't show, and trash.
Later on, you will want to add keywords to the metadata for these files. So be sure to keep and refine these lists. The more consistent you are in your naming scheme, the easier it will be to find what you're looking for when you search by keywords.
Trash the Trash
At this point, I change the Bridge layout so that I can see both thumbnails and a large preview side-by-side. This is the layout I use most of the time. If you've already had some experience with Bridge, you'll probably know it just from looking at Figure.
Figure. My own preferred layout for Bridge. I can get a large enough preview of each image to give me a good idea of how the image compares with its competitors in the same category.
Now I just navigate up to the top left corner of the lightbox area, then push the Right Arrow key to move through each image one at a time. Right now, I'm only looking for images that will never make it to any practical use. Either they are too blurry, out-of-focus, or were accidentally shot pictures of the ground, my foot, or the sky. Of course, I'm also looking for blanks. Each time I encounter one of these images, I press the Delete key.
Do not, at this stage at least, delete any images that you may think you'll ever have a use foreven if there's just a part of one image that you might want to combine with another image. Also, don't delete images just because they're blurry. This morning, Regina McConnell, the owner of my mail suite, showed me a picture she took out the window of her car of a fat guy in a Santa suit riding a red motorcycle with reindeer horns attached to the handlebars. The picture was blatantly blurred and yet very effective. It really looked like Santa was having fun with his reindeer.
Doing the Critical Winnowing in Bridge
At this point, it's time to make sure that none of the images that are left have a defect (the most common are slightly blurred images due to camera movement or images that are out-of-focus). You have to do this while in a magnified mode. So put Bridge in Light Table mode, select as many images as your computer's memory and Photoshop are willing to deal with (I have a gig of RAM and lots of free hard drive space), which is typically about 16.
If you shot JPEGs, you'll have to delete the painful way. Do this for each of the shots you've opened, then open the next 16 or so and do it to them, then continue until you've checked the whole shoot. To do this:
If you shot RAW, the job's much faster and easier (are you sure you need to shoot JPEG?):
Batch Rename the Images for the Shoot
We covered the general Batch Rename tool in Bridge earlier; now it's time to show the practical application of renaming all the images from a particular shoot. The goal is to name each image so that you know exactly which shoot and category it belongs to. Because you're limited to 33 characters in a filename and want to leave space for adding info to later versions, you will need to abbreviate the filenames.
Since there are almost always multiple images for a given shoot, category, and subcategory, most filenames will be unique in only one respect: the name given to that file by the camera. So I use the original filename as the last element in the reassigned filename. Figure shows you a diagrammed example of a filename.
Figure. A diagrammed example of a filename.
The following is the routine for renaming images by category:
Repeat this operation for each category in your shoot.