Batch Photo Editing in Lightroom: How to Save Time and Get Professional Results

By Jaki Portolese

Last updated on 05/21/2024

It’s safe to say all photographers unanimously agree that post-processing photos is time-consuming, tedious work. This especially rings true when it comes to those long, all-day wedding and commercial shoots.

But what if I told you there were a few ways to speed up the process and still get professional results?

Lightroom’s batch photo editing features make it possible to apply your adjustments to multiple photos at once almost instantly. Rather than fiddling with the various adjustment sliders photo by photo, we have the ability to synchronize our edits almost instantly.

It’s no surprise that batch photo editing is a huge time-saver, especially for those who have hundreds or even thousands of photos in their editing backlog.

Whether it’s with Lightroom’s built-in batch photo editing features or utilizing the power of AI in dedicated batch photo editing software like Imagen to complement your Lightroom photo editing workflow, this post will guide you to more efficient editing and the consistent, professional result we’re all striving for.

Batch editing photos in minutes right after the shoot, with AI-powered software for photographers
Batch editing photos in minutes right after the shoot, with AI-powered software for photographers

How to make Lightroom run faster

Before ANYTHING else, let’s talk about two very quick tips for making Lightroom run faster while we edit.

Regardless of how you choose to batch edit, there is no denying that these two are invaluable to the speed at which your program runs when editing a large amount of photos. Especially if you’re a megapixel chaser or are working with massive RAW files, such as .CR3s.

Creating separate catalogs for each shoot

The smaller the catalog, the less Lightroom has to think about all its contents when you’re working with it.

That said, creating a new catalog for each shoot will speed up the performance of Lightroom.

Build Smart Previews on import

Checking the “Build Smart Previews” box in the top right hand corner of your Lightroom’s “Import” panel will generate a preview for each image.

*Important: Make sure you check the box in your Preferences menu to “Use Smart Previews instead of Originals for image editing.”

Now, rather than editing from the full gigantic file directly, you will now be editing from a smaller, more manageable preview. The reduction in size allows singular adjustments and batch edits to be applied faster, as well as saving time while we switch from one photo to the next.

Don’t worry – building Smart Previews will not compromise the quality of size of your photos. Once you export, the edits you made to your previews will be applied to the full size image.

Generating Smart Previews does take a little extra time. However, the process is totally hands free!

This means it’s a good time to let Lightroom do the heavy lifting in the background while you take care of more important things, such as answering emails or making another cup of coffee.

Batch applying presets

Choose your style preferences and see them applying to the whole catalog live in front of your eyes
Choose your style preferences and see them applying to the whole catalog live in front of your eyes

Batch apply presets on import

If you have a favored preset that you tend to use on every photo, you can opt to automatically apply it to every single image imported into your Lightroom catalog.

  1. When you open up the program, select the Import button located on the bottom left hand side of your Lightroom window and navigate to the folder of images you would like to import.

    Alternatively, you can just as easily drag and drop the folder directly onto your Lightroom window.

  2. Expand the “Apply During Import” panel on the right side of your Lightroom window. Select the “Develop Settings” dropdown and select your preset.
  3. Click on “Import” on the bottom right corner of your Lightroom window, and watch as your images miraculously import into the program with the preset applied.

Batch applying presets to smaller groups

If you want to apply presets in smaller batches, you can do so in the Library panel once images are already imported into your Lightroom catalog.

You can select a smaller group of images by holding Ctrl and clicking each photo you want in your smaller batch edit.

Once selected, you can choose the preset you wish to apply by using the dropdown menu under the “Quick Develop” panel on the top right side of your Lightroom window.

You can batch edit photos in smaller groups this way to as many different combinations as you would like. This especially comes in handy when you have different presets for different lighting scenarios that appear throughout a shoot.

Copying and pasting settings with “Previous”

If you like to handle your batch photo editing a little more precisely, you can copy and paste your settings from the last photo you viewed by hitting the “Previous” button in the bottom left-hand corner of your Develop panel.

This function is especially useful for when you’re editing two images in the same scene.

“Previous” does not only apply adjustments to photos in succession of one another. This feature will automatically apply all adjustments made to the last photo you viewed to any image you are viewing in Lightroom.

Synchronizing edits

Think of the aforementioned method of copying and pasting using “Previous”, but batch photo edit style.

By selecting multiple images in Lightroom’s “Develop” panel, the “Previous” button turns into a “Synchronize” button, and you can click this to copy and paste edits for a group of photos at once.

Keep in mind that when using this function, the adjustments from the first photo we select in the group will be the ones that carry over to the rest.

“Synchronize” is an incredible feature and comes in handy when you want to batch edit entire scenes or galleries with the same lighting scenario all at once. Think family formals at a wedding, entire shoots in controlled lighting environments, or portraits taken in the same location and time of day.

This feature is not the greatest, however, for editing a full shoot with a wide array of different lighting situations.

For example, when it comes to batch photo editing a full wedding day that exhibits all sorts of different lighting angles and situations, you will want a more precise solution than any one click solution in Lightroom can offer.

But the good news is there is a solution for that, and it’s Lightroom Classic compatible!

There is AI photo editing software that can learn the way you edit in Lightroom Classic and automatically apply consistent edits to an entire gallery in no time at all.

Use AI Photo Editing Software like Imagen

Batch photo editing has never been easier, faster, or more consistent than with AI batch photo editing software like Imagen.

Imagen can learn the way we edit in Lightroom Classic and apply edits to an entire gallery in minutes. Minutes. It is the first editing automation software that enables personalization at scale, and it solves some of the biggest pain points for photographers.

Create different profiles for different styles and batch edit photos in various styles and colors in the touch of a button
Create different profiles for different styles and batch edit photos in various styles and colors in the touch of a button

You can cut 75% of your photo culling and editing time using this incredible tool. That’s 75% of your life back that you would otherwise spend editing.

Imagen can not only cull photos quickly and do the batch photo editing for you (all within the same app), but it also maintains a near-perfect lighting consistency across your gallery regardless of under and over-exposure exhibited throughout. This is quite possibly the most compelling feature of AI photo editing software, and saves a ridiculous amount of time that you would otherwise spend on the mind-numbing, manual process of moving around exposure sliders.

All those hours a week that you normally spend comparing images side by side, trying to get the exposure consistent (especially if working between two or more cameras) are now hours that you can spend in more important areas of business and leisure.

I mean, just Imagen the possibilities.

You may be wondering how any of this is possible in such a short amount of time.

So let’s dive in to just how Imagen works its magic:

Teach (Creator AI Profiles)

By uploading Lightroom catalog(s) amounting to 5,000 of your edited images, you can teach Imagen how you edit in Lightroom Classic based on different lighting situations. It has the ability to learn everything from how you adjust exposure, highlights, shadows, etc. to the way you color grade your images.

Create your personal AI profile and let it learn your style and evolve with you, getting more personalized and consistent over time
Create your personal AI profile and let it learn your style and evolve with you, getting more personalized and consistent over time

This is called your “Creator AI Profile,” and you can always refine it by continuing to upload future catalogs. This enables Imagen to grow with you as your editing style evolves over time.

As a tip, it is prudent to only upload catalogs that you think most accurately represent your current editing style, as Imagen will take the overall average of all edits into consideration when building your profile.

Save time on automated batch photo editing and focus on the creative side of your job
Save time on automated batch photo editing and focus on the creative side of your job

Edit

Once your Creator AI Profile is established, you may upload a catalog for culling photos and batch photo editing.

You can filter photos from a catalog you want to be uploaded. For example, in the situation where you have one large catalog, use folders and collections to organize. You can also use star ratings and color attributes as filters in the Imagen app. So whether you have a lot of small catalogs or one main catalog, you can be specific about what you want to work with in Imagen.

With that said, smaller catalogs tend to run faster in Lightroom, further increasing the speed at which we can batch photo edit.

AI batch photo editing with Imagen takes minutes instead of hours, while maintaining your signature style and full control over the final touches
AI batch photo editing with Imagen takes minutes instead of hours, while maintaining your signature style and full control over the final touches

Download

In what seems like no time at all (~20 minutes on average for a full wedding shoot around 1,000 photos, for context), Imagen sends you an email letting you know your edited catalog is ready for download.

To download, go back into the program and click the arrow button located in the Download row.

Fine-Tune

And now for the fun part – take a look at your fully edited gallery, see what Imagen has given you, and Fine-tune as needed.

The first time I used Imagen, I was shocked at the consistency between exposure and color grading. Even though the wedding catalog I uploaded had all sorts of different lighting between its outdoor ceremony to its flash-lit reception, the coloring and exposure was consistent throughout the entire gallery.

In some cases, such as shoots that take place throughout the same lighting, you may be surprised to find that you barely have to Fine-tune your gallery at all.

This is significantly quicker than even using Lightroom’s synchronize function, as Imagen can detect varying exposures and adjust images separately for consistency rather than simply pasting the exact same settings across an entire catalog.

Batch edit photos quickly with Imagen AI and spend more time behind the lens shooting new masterpieces. Photo by Fer Juaristi.
Batch edit photos quickly with Imagen AI and spend more time behind the lens shooting new masterpieces. Photo by Fer Juaristi.

Conclusion

Imagen acts as the best AI photo culling software for faster workflow,  your personal photo editing assistant, and the missing tool in your workflow that you only ever dreamed of existing — all at once. If you’re into workflows — make sure to also check our “Workflows” photography podcast where photographers from all over the world share their photography and post-production ideas and insights.

The time you can save using AI photo editing software allows you to focus on what you truly love about being a photographer. It gives us time back that we can spend on growing your business, finding new ways to diversify your income, and most importantly of all: your personal life and mental well-being.

Imagen a world where you no longer have to agonize or feel anxiety over a seemingly never-ending list of photo edits and gallery delivery deadlines.

That world is a reality when you batch photo edit with Imagen.



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