Ball Park Photo used as illustration for Lightroom Batch Edit article
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4 Speedy Lightroom Tools To Create A Batch Editing Workflow

Editing your photos can be a time-consuming process. Have you ever edited a batch of photos in Lightroom? If not, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we will show you the speed techniques to help you batch-edit your Lightroom photos.

A: Sync Settings, my favorite and geared for quantities of photos.

B: Auto-Sync Settings

C: “Previous” Button to Sync

D: Copy/Paste to Edit Your Photos

Why Lightroom Classic batch edit? If your photography is business, then the old adage applies “time is money”. Spending hours instead of days editing allows more jobs to be done. If your photography is a hobby, this is another pro technique that makes photography simpler. Easier to move from shooting to finished photos for social media, printing, or other display

Editing can be quick. It doesn’t have to be a time-consuming process. These speed techniques will help you batch-edit your photos quickly and easily. Sync, Auto-Sync, Previous, and Copy/Paste will move you from the beginner level one-at-a-time editing to zipping through large numbers of images quickly.

Illustrating the Lightroom Batch Edit buttons
The Buttons for some of the Lightroom Batch editing

Sync…, my fav

By far, this is the best and fastest way to get through a larger quantity of images.  Weddings, commercial shoots, and many times just family fun stuff.

In Lightroom with photos ready to be tweaked let’s click to highlight the first image. 

1. If the photo is not already visible in the Lightroom filmstrip, click on the photos folder in the Folder section of your catalog.

2. When the photos are visible in the filmstrip, click on the first photo.

3. Make the needed adjustments.  For me, this could start with the overall settings that, I know, will apply to all.   The Noise Reduction setting, the Sharpening setting, the Lens Correction settings, and a quick check for Calibration and that’s it for this photo.  But these settings need to be across the complete set of images.

4. Click on Command-A (Windows: Control-A ) to select all the images.  So you’ve added the set to your already-adjusted image with your adjusted image highlighted brighter than the rest.  Click the  Sync button in the lower right panel.  Be sure the little switch on the left end of Sync is down, off.  A dialog box appears.

The Sync button for Lightroom Batch Editing
The Sync Button with the Auto button in the off position

5. In the box you’ll see all the possible settings that can be synced.  For me, at this point I want to be sure all are checked (which is an option at the bottom of the dialog) then I’ll uncheck the Toning section and White Balance and anything else that could be a problem.  Yes, instead you can uncheck all checkboxes and go through checking only the options that apply.

6. When all is correct, hit the Synchronize button, lower right.

7. Many times syncing all the images is all that is needed.  But when you see that the images could easily be broken down into smaller groups (one group too dark, one too light, etc.) for the more specific adjustment you’ll want to do that now.  In a wedding environment, I would only use the Sync technique in this second phase on 10-20 images at a time.  Using this technique on large groups of images can easily cause more problems than it’s worth. 

My images would need to be tweaked for exposure or white balance or both, as well as the things mentioned above in the first phase.  So this technique would apply to a group of images in the filmstrip.  So, I’d make the first tweak.  Then I’d click through the images within the group to check, landing on the last in the group, which I’d check and make it my first in the next 20 or so group of images.

Concluding this point, some settings (Lens Correction, Sharpening, Noise Reduction) can be synced across all the images from a shoot and some settings (Exposure, White Balance) need to be done in smaller groups.

Auto-Sync Settings

A handy variation of the above technique.

1. After selecting a set of photos in the filmstrip, click on the little switch on the left end of the Sync button.

2. Adjust primary selection to any photo in the set, you’ll see that the set of images is whitened but still, your primary selection is brighter.

3. Try some needed adjustments and you’ll see that all within the set of images adjust to match that setting change, all at once. 

Lightroom Batch Edit with Auto-Sync
Auto-Sync to adjust the contrast with change to Medium Contrast tone curve.

4. Most important, be sure when you are done using this feature to TURN THE SMALL AUTO SWITCH OFF.  If not, this feature will continue shifting sliders every time you select a group of photos.  It may look good, it probably won’t.

“Previous” Button to Sync

Editing one image at a time is what the Previous button is meant. Inherently slower than above but the images may need that level of attention. Correct an image, advance to the next image with the right arrow key.  This image needs the same corrections. Click the Previous button to find all the same changes on your selected image.  But, the exposure is not quite right, tweak that.  Move on, using the Previous button again and again.  Here is the step-by-step:

1. Select the first image in your group in Filmstrip. From the Develop Module, make all the necessary corrections.

2. Advance to the next image with the right arrow key.

3. Click the Previous button, in the lower left of the Right Panel.  This currently selected image now has all the adjustments from the Previous image.

4. Make any specific tweaks necessary (for me: exposure, white balance, highlight/shadow) then move to the right again with the right arrow key.  Start the cycle again.

Lightroom Batch Processing illustration
The Previous button, on the lower left side of the Right Panel of the Develop Module

So, you’ll create a collection of images with all the necessary adjustments and settings by going through one at a time.  Some techniques may be faster but this gives the most attention to each individual image.  Also, consider this in combination with other techniques like Sync above.

Copy/Paste to Edit Your Photos

This is the slowest way to batch edit photos. It is also limited in its ability to paste to only one image at a time.  But with all the negatives, there are still some pluses to using this technique.  Anyone who has spent time in the computer operating system knows how to copy something to the clipboard, then move to where you want to paste your copy and Wow!  Technology or TEK is a wonderful thing. 

Lightroom Classic Batch Processing with the Copy/Paste buttons
The Copy and Paste buttons on the lower Left Panel.

This technique is a variation of that using the buttons in the Develop Module at the lower position of the left panel.  It’s best suited for images that have a common thread running through the subject matter.  A wedding, a portrait shoot, a commercial shoot, etc.  It’s not meant for a group of images scattered in their subject matter like a trip or images made around the house over different shooting subjects. 

Imagine a wedding where the lighting is similar and the effort is to maintain the dress as white as it’s supposed to be and the tux consistent in color and good skin tones.  You may find yourself tweaking these things and need to make the same adjustments, or close to the same, to many others.  This technique of batch editing works well for that. Look, let’s do it step by step and watch closely for the speed boost!

1. In the Develop Module with your images in the filmstrip, select your first image.  Make all the necessary adjustments.  Once all is good click the button “Copy”.  

2. The dialog box opens so you can select all the adjustments to copy to other images or you can be selective and only select a few.  Speed note:  your selections here will stay selected till you change them.  Once completed, hit Copy at bottom right of the dialog box.

3. Here is the next speed note:  Position your cursor over the Paste button and leave it there.  Now let your left hand click the trackpad, or mouse, to paste your saved adjustments. Your right hand needs to be on the directional arrows.  So you paste with one hand and move forward with the other hand. You’re so so fast!

4. Copy and paste all through your images.  Stopping as needed to tweak whenever necessary.  Then back to your batch editing copy/paste.  Go along with this until images are requiring drastic additional tweaks.  At that point take the time on a new image to make a new set of adjustments.  Copy that and now you’re off again.  Tweaking your batch edit!


To put a top on this box.  Know that the best way to use these features of Lightroom for batch editing is to learn them all.  Beyond reading this article or watching some YouTube videos.  Take some photos, import the photos, use each of these techniques for enough photos that you can say “I know it well”.  Then try combining them.  I regularly use the Sync to spread settings that I know I want on all of a shoot’s images. For more one on one editing, then use the Copy/Paste.  I feel Lightroom and Adobe set about to have different ways of doing this batch editing so it allows photographers to find what works for them best.

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