Chapter 7: It’s All About the Workﬂ ow
Planning and Strategy
An efﬁ cient workﬂ ow requires planning. Photoshop CS, Bridge, and Cam-
era Raw 2.x offered a limited amount of workﬂ ow ﬂ exibility. Photoshop
CS2, Bridge, and Camera Raw 3.x offer many more options. You can ﬂ ail
around and try everything—it’s actually not a bad way to get your feet wet,
though I hope you’ll use the information in this chapter to make your ﬂ ail-
ing somewhat methodical—but at some point, you have to decide what
works, and stick with it.
Among the things you need to decide, and stick with, are the following:
Bridge cache. You can use a centralized cache, or use distributed caches.
Each has its strengths and weaknesses, but your life will be simpler, and
your workﬂ ow more robust, if you pick one approach and stick to it.
Camera Raw settings for individual images. You can save the Camera
Raw settings for each image in the Camera Raw database, in sidecar
.xmp ﬁ les, or in the case of DNG format, in the DNG ﬁ le itself. It’s slightly
easier to switch from one approach to another in Bridge with Camera
Raw 3.x than it was with File Browser and Camera Raw 2.x, but doing
so requires considerable work and a great deal of care.
File naming conventions. After much wrestling with the subject, I no
longer rename my raw ﬁ les—I rely on keywords and other metadata to
help me ﬁ nd my images. But that isn’t an approach that works for every-
one. If you do rename your raw ﬁ les, though, pick a naming convention
that makes sense to you, and stick with it.
Labels and ratings. The labels and ratings you apply in Bridge or Camera
Raw are simply arbitrary ﬂ ags. Labels and ratings give you two sets of
ﬂ ags, each of which contains six possible values when you include no
label and no rating. It’s entirely up to you what they mean. Again, pick
a system that makes sense to you, and stick with it!
You’ll need to make plenty of decisions when you’re working on your im-
ages. It’s a Bad Idea to start making decisions about any of the above when
you’re working on a deadline, because doing so introduces complexity (of
which you already have enough) and increases the chance of unintended
consequences (which you want to avoid).