How To Batch Edit In Lightroom Classic 2020

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Adobe Lightroom Classic is an excellent tool for managing and editing a large number of photos quickly and efficiently.

But if you don’t know how to use the tools available to you in Lightroom, then you may be wasting valuable time.

Here are all the ways that you can batch edit in Lightroom Classic…

Apply Edits On Import

Applying edits on import is usually not very effective and just slows down the import process unnecessarily.

Applying edits to a bunch of images without seeing how they affect even one image is a recipe for mistakes.

So I don’t recommend using this feature unless you have a really good reason to do so. But let’s go over it just in case.

It is relatively simple to accomplish.

Under the “Apply During Import” you can select develop settings including some standard options included with Lightroom or custom presets you have created or imported.

Here you can see how it would look with the Photography Goals Signature Presets installed.

From there, you would navigate to the preset that you want to apply and click on it. You’ll now see that option selected in the “Develop Settings” box.

From there, you can continue with your import.

Sync Edits

Syncing edits as I go through images is my preferred method of batch editing. It’s fast, effective, and allows you to work through your images in a logical way.

Here’s how it works…

In almost any collection of photos from a particular shoot or day, you will probably have some batches of those photos that were taken under similar conditions.

For example, you may take a few shots to get the exposure right for taking a friend’s portrait in the park, but once you nail the settings, you leave them there and just wok on getting the right pose and expression.

You’ll have a bunch of photos at the same exposure and lighting conditions. So from there, all you have to do is work on the first one and get it looking the way you want.

Then hold down the SHIFT key and click on the last one from that batch.

You’ll now notice that the entire batch is selected, but the first one is a little brighter than the other ones (that’s the primary selection). Make sure the photo you already edited is the primary slection.

From there just click on the Sync button in the lower right of the develop module.

A box will pop up asking you which settings you want to sync. Select the settings you want to sync across multiple images and then click “synchronize.”

HINT: Image specific things like local adjustments, sport removal, and cropping typically don’t work too well for syncing, unless you were shooting on a tripod and all your images were framed exactly the same.

Depending on how many images you are syncing and how fast your computer is, this may take a minute. You can see the progress in the upper left hand corner of the program screen.

If you want to learn my process for editing a lot of photos very quickly, I’ll be covering it in my Lightroom Goals Masterclass.

Auto Sync Edits

Auto Syncing edits is something that I don’t really use all that often. It has the same effect as the standard method of syncing edits but does so in real-time as you make changes.

For auto-sync, you select all the image before making any edits, select your primary image, and then make the edits that you want.

You’ll be able to see these changes sync across the selected photos as you make them.

The big downside to this is that it causes some lag in making the changes. Often, you’ll have to wait for the computer to catch up with you as it syncs each little edit.

I much prefer making the changes to one photo and then using the standard sync method.

Syncing With The “Previous” Button

The previous button is limited but can be a quick and easy way to get your edits from one photo to the next.

Simply put, when you move from one photo to the next, the “Previous” button will do exactly the same thing to the current photo that you did to the previous photo.

But be aware that this does mean everything, including local adjustments, spot removal, and cropping. So make sure you really do want everything copied over.

I tend to use this as a quick way to test whether my edits from one batch of photos can be carried over to the next batch before syncing them across the entire batch.

Copy and Paste Edits

Copy and pasting edits works very similarly to the Sync button.

The benefit of the Copy/Paste method is that you can copy the settings from one photo and then paste to multiple photos at different times.

Once you click Copy, you’ll get the same box as the Sync button where you can choose which settings to copy.

Then you just select the photo or photos that you want to paste the settings to and click Paste.

You can also use the shortcuts SHIFT + CTRL + C for Copy and SHIFT + CTRL + V for Paste.

This may seem like a trivial distinction, but it can be useful in many situations.

For example, if you have a certain edit or look that you want on some photos but not all of them within a shoot, you can Copy those settings and then just Paste them as you go along.

I do use Sync more often, but Copy/Paste can be useful too.

Pete LaGregor

Pete LaGregor

Pete is a photographer in New Jersey and specializes in portraits and commercial photography, but loves shooting landscapes and video for fun. You can check out his work on his website.
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