Batch editing is one of the best benefits of using Lightroom as a starting point for your photo edits. It’s quick and easy! And once you’ve done all that you can with your photos in Lightroom, you can even open them into Photoshop in a batch for any final edits you’re looking to make.
You have two options for batch editing in Lightroom.
- You can edit a group of photos at the same time
- You can edit one photo and retroactively apply the same changes to a group of images.
Note that any of the techniques I describe below work in both the Develop and the Library modules. We think of editing in terms of the features available in Develop, but in the Library module, you could apply keywords in batches, update metadata, or even make simple exposure and white balance adjustments.
How to Edit A Group of Photos All At Once
Start by selecting the photos that you’d like to edit. You can select contiguous photos by clicking on the first, holding down the shift key on your keyboard, and clicking on the last. To select photos that aren’t next to each other, hold down command or control while clicking on each photo you’d like to edit.
Once the photos are selected, look for the Sync or Auto-Sync button at the bottom right corner of either your Library or your Develop module. We want this button to say Auto-Sync. If it doesn’t, click on the light switch to toggle from Sync to Auto-Sync.
When this button says “Auto-Sync,” any change you make to one image will be applied to all selected images. The Auto-Sync method is for great changing exposure and white balance on images taken in the same lighting conditions.
Retroactively Applying Changes from A Previously Edited Photo
Personally, I generally use the Sync method, when I’m applying creative looks to a photo. That’s not to say that you can’t Auto-Sync instead, this is just what works best for my personal workflow. To use this method, I’ll play around with one image until I’m happy with the look. And then, with this photo still selected and active for editing, I’ll add to my selection using command/control or the shift key. By adding other images to the selection, the photo you have already edited is primarily selected, as seen below. You can see from this image that the photo on the right is “more selected” or has a brighter highlight than the others. This means that I will sync edits from that photo onto the others.
I’ll make sure that Sync is displayed on the button, and then click it. Clicking it opens this window:
Using this window, you tell Lightroom which adjustments from your first photo should be applied to the photos you selected after editing. This method is particularly effective for photos that weren’t all taken in the same white balance or exposure conditions. I can tell Lightroom not to sync WB or exposure settings, but only to sync the tint I added through Split Toning along with Vibrance, Clarity and Sharpening.
Batch Edit with Presets
Everything previously mentioned above applies to presets as well. As an example, I’ll edit these 6 photos in one batch. Also, as mentioned above, I typed command/control A to select them.
And then I applied these presets:
- Fix Underexposure 2 from InFusion
- One Click Color Base with Highlight Protect at 50% from InFusion
- Shadows: toasty from Enlighten
- High Def Sharpening 1 from Enlighten
Taking Photos into Photoshop in Batches
If you have photos that need extra work in Photoshop, select them together, as I described above. Right click on one of them and select Edit In, and then select your version of Photoshop. All of the selected photos will open for you to edit. Please note, however, that I don’t recommend doing this with more than 5 or 6 images at a time – it might take a long time with more images and tends to slow down the process.