Lightroom vs Bridge Photomechanic, PS workflow at scale with multiple people?

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JKicker Junior Member • Posts: 29
Lightroom vs Bridge Photomechanic, PS workflow at scale with multiple people?

I’m curious if anyone has any good ideas for the most efficient file management workflows at scale.

Current Scenario: We’re doing around 200 family sessions a year and 30 weddings - processing around 500k images in our annual master catalog. Currently we have 3 people involved in culling and 4 people involved in editing. I want to scale up a lot more, but our workflow can barely handle what we are currently doing. Everything passes through a master catalog on a 5 year old gaming PC that is too slow to edit on and is going to be replaced with a Mac Studio Ultra at the end of this year because the actual PC is definitely a huge bottleneck to our current process.

I’m wondering if there’s a more efficient process that we should be considering altogether.

Back to the current workflow:

Family members cull sessions on iPads using Lightroom software synced with my main account, which keeps it simple for them. The downside is that every image from a session (1-2k) has to be imported into lightroom and synced to the cloud. Occasionally, culled images won’t sync back to my main PC from the cloud and I’ll have to go through a silly process of exporting them from non classic lightroom, pulling the metadata with EXIFtool and then using the resulting XMP files to update the metadata in my massive catalog. Some other culling is being done by exporting catalogs with smart previews and transferring via dropbox.

All editing is being done by importing / syncing the culled catalogs back into the master LRC catalog and then exporting the selected image catalogs w/ smart previews to dropbox to be edited either in house on other computers or remotely by a couple trusted editors.

Edited catalog files are reuploaded through dropbox into a completed folder, imported into the master catalog, and then the final jpegs are exported and uploaded to shoot proof.

We track the stages of this process for each client using ClickUp (like Asana or Trello).

My focus is mainly on the culling part of the workflow since that deals with the most images.

Is there a workflow using adobe bridge or photomechanic that would make more sense for what we’re doing?

I’d hate to sacrifice the ease of the current culling system for our family members who aren’t especially technically savvy, but if there was a much more efficient way of doing things, then they could learn.

Not knowing much about photomechanic or bridge, it seems like they use some sort of jpeg previews similar to lightroom smart previews to achieve their speed. If we were able to cull the images before importing them into our master LRC catalog, that would potentially save our catalog from bloat and also cut down on some lightroom importing and smart preview generating bottlenecks, but the trade off would be that we’d have to figure out a way to send the family members the full raw files, or process and send them some smaller version to cull, which doesn’t seem super appealing.

Does anyone familiar with photo mechanic or bridge know of any obvious ways to scale the file distribution for remote culling that would be more time efficient than importing into LRC and generating smart previews to sync via cloud?

The people I know of who do the most volume seem to still be using Bridge and maybe photoshop, so I'm wondering if, despite popular opinion, there is still a faster way to process using those utilities?

Thanks for any insight anyone has!

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