In this article, I will show you how to batch edit in Adobe Lightroom in six different ways.
When you are dealing with a big amount of images, batch editing in Lightroom can speed up your workflow. It will also help you keep a consistent look throughout your photos.
1. How to Batch Edit in Lightroom With a Preset During Import
If your photos are really similar and you are sure that you will apply the same preset to all of them, you can do it as you import the photos to the catalogue.
To do so, start an import in the Library module. Check our detailed guide if you want to learn more about how to import photos.
Then go to the Apply During Import panel. Select the preset you want to apply in the Develop settings dialogue.
You won’t be able to see a preview of the image. So you need to be sure beforehand that the preset will work.
Lightroom will automatically apply the preset while importing. The import will take more time, especially if you are importing a big amount of images for batch processing.
Keep in mind that you can’t undo the action once the images are imported. If the preset was not the right one, you will need to either correct all the images or delete them from the Lightroom Catalog and start all over again.
You might want to import one photo first and experiment with it before doing the main import.
2. Apply Presets to Multiple Images in the Library Module
In case you don’t want to apply the presets during import, you have several other options. The first one is applying presets using the Library module.
Once you’ve finished importing all your images, go to the Library Grid mode. This is important. It won’t work otherwise.
Select all the photos that you want to edit. That’s your batch.
To quickly select multiple images, you can Ctrl+click on each photo. Or you can click the first one, hold Shift and click on the last one.
In the Quick Develop panel, select a Saved Preset in the drop-down menu.
Lightroom will update all the images with the selected preset.
As in the previous option (during import), there is no preview option. You need to be sure of the preset you want to apply.
If you’ve made a mistake and the preset is not working well, you can Undo it by going to Photo>Develop settings>Reset.
You can also use the keyboard shortcut: CTRL+SHIFT+R.
3. Paste From Previous If You Want to Copy All the Settings
This option will allow you to work first on one photo before applying the develop settings to the whole batch.
You can either apply a preset or make your own edits. In fact, it is quite common to combine a preset with your own personal edits and adjustments.
Once you have all the edits you want, you just need to select the new photo you want to copy the settings to.
Go to Settings>Paste from previous or use the shortcut Ctrl+Alt+V.
Lightroom will copy all the settings from the previously selected image.
Just make sure that the previously selected image is the one you edited.
4. Copy Only a Selection of Settings From One Photo to Another
If you want to selectively copy just some of the adjustments and edits you’ve made, you can do that using the Copy button in the Develop Module.
The first thing you need to do is select the photo that you want to copy the adjustment from.
Then click Copy and a window will appear. This window has all the settings you can copy to another image.
Now you just need to select the settings you want to copy by clicking on the boxes near the ones you want and press Copy.
If all the photos are really similar, you can copy them all. I usually copy all but the exposure because it is really particular in each image. You can even crop multiple images at once if you check the “Crop” box!
Select the new photo and click Paste.
Lightroom will paste all the settings from the edited photo to the new one.
5. Fast Batch Editing With the Synchronisation Option
One of the most common ways to batch edit photos is with the synchronize option of the Develop module. This allows you to copy the edits from one image to multiple images instead of just to one as in options 3 and 4.
Select the image with the edits that you want to copy.
Then select all the photos you want to copy the edits onto. The selection order is important because Lightroom will recognise the first image you’ve selected as the one to copy the edits from.
I find it handy to select the edited image, hold Shift in the keyword and then click on the last photo in the series.
Press the button Sync in the Develop module. Or go to Settings>Sync settings, or use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+S.
The Synchronize Settings windows will open. You can then select the settings you want to synchronize.
Press Synchronize and you will see Lightroom editing all the selected images.
If at some moment you moved from the Develop module to the Library, you can also Synchronize from there.
Make sure you have the images selected and press the Sync Settings button. Or right click with your mouse, select Develop settings> Sync settings.
6. Use Automatic Synchronization and Lightroom Will Update All Changes
The Sync option is a great way to edit multiple images. But it has a limitation. If you need to do some extra editing, you will need to synchronize the image again.
If you want to have the option to update the whole batch simultaneously as you work on one image, you can use automatic synchronization.
In this case, you won’t start by editing the first photo. Instead, you need to select all the photos in the series in the Develop module.
Then you check Auto Sync. To visualize this option, you need to turn on the little switch next to the Sync button.
Once you’ve done that, you will see the first photo you’ve selected in full view instead. This way you can edit that photo in detail.
You will be able to see that Lightroom is updating the changes for all the selected images.
If you make a mistake and edit something in a way you don’t like, don’t worry.
You can easily correct it by readjusting the edit tool or going back as you usually do when editing a single image.
Batch Editing With Metadata
Batch editing can also be extremely useful when working with metadata. This is all the information written by the camera in the image file such as date, time, lens settings etc.
You can add other types of useful data such as keywords, your name, contact information and copyrights. This is a highly recommended thing to do, but it is also tedious work.
Lightroom allows you to sync your metadata in a similar way as with the edit settings.
Just as with presets, you can do it during the import in the Apply During Import Menu.
Now you can write as many keywords as you want.
You can also apply a metadata preset. If you do not have one, it is really easy to create. First, select “New” from the drop-down menu in Metadata.
A window will open with a lot of fields where you can add information about your image. Mandatory fields are marked in red.
Fill in as many fields as you consider necessary, then decide on a preset name and click “Create”.
You can also add metadata to multiple images from the Grid view of the Library module. Select the photos (in the grid, not in the filmstrip) and enter the metadata in the menu.
You can also apply a metadata preset if you have one. Lightroom will apply the metadata to all the selected images (it even warns you it is going to do it).
Another approach is to add the metadata to just one photo and then copy it onto other images. While keeping the photo you’ve added the metadata, select the other images.
Click the Sync button and a window will open with the Metadata options.
Choose the fields you want to be copied and click Synchronize. Lightroom will update all the selected images.
Lightroom offers several options for editing multiple images that will make your workflow much more efficient.
Remember that each photo of the batch might be slightly different in origin. Go back to each one and check if its adjustments need some fine-tuning.
Even with that bit of extra work, batch editing is a real time saver and can cut your Lightroom editing workflow time in half!
It has another advantage: all the images from the same series will look similar. This gives them a sense of cohesion that is difficult to achieve when you edit the photos individually.