This is one of those posts you’re going to want to print out and keep in your back pocket for frequent use. If you’re a busy photo editor, you definitely want to know how to edit more than one photo at a time in Camera Raw. This is otherwise known as batch processing. This technique allows you to open multiple photographs (in today’s example, I’ll be opening JPEG files) from Adobe Photoshop directly into Camera Raw. Then, once the files are open, you’ll have the ability to edit one, all, some or none. If you’ve never seen something like this before, you’re going to think it’s too good to be true.
Now, just so you’re aware, I already touched on this topic in another post I wrote. You can view that one here:
In that post, I opened the files via Adobe Bridge. Since not everyone has, or likes, Bridge, I’ll be opening the files via Photoshop directly. Now, there is one thing to note here. In order to open JPEG files from Photoshop, you’ll need to tweak one small preference. Visit this post:
When you get to that page, scroll down a bit and read through the Opening JPEG and TIFF Files Into Camera Raw section. That’s where I talk about how to change the preference that allows you to view, select and open the files you’re interested in working on, right in Camera Raw. When you’re finished, come back to this post. As I continue on below, I’ll assume you have made that change.
Selecting & Opening Photos From Photoshop
In this section, I’m going to open up my install of Photoshop. Once inside, I’ll head up to the File > Open menu. From there, I’ll select a few photos and then click Open.
Since I already have my preferences set to open JPEG files directly into Camera Raw, Camera Raw appears on my screen with each of the files I selected in the left column.
Editing Multiple Photos in Camera Raw
There are a few ways to go about this. Inside Camera Raw, you can either click the top photo in the left column, hold down your shift key and then click the bottom photo in the column. This will select all images in the column. If you do this and then go about your editing, you’ll most likely accomplish whatever task it is you’re after. The thing is, if you’ve got tons of photos and edit them all simultaneously, Camera Raw can become sluggish. After all, it’s got to apply every single tweak you make to each and every photo, every single time you make one. If you plan on making the same edits to all the photos, it’s better and more efficient to edit only the first photo and then simply apply those edits to the remaining photos when you’re finished. This will decrease the processing time substantially. Think of the image you select to edit as the representative of the others. Whatever you do to that one, you’ll eventually apply to all the others.
Editing the First Photo
I’ll go ahead and select and edit the first photo in the left column now.
If you take a look at the thumbnail photos, you can see that I made some changes to the first one. I didn’t do anything drastic, just moved some sliders around in the Basic panel to brighten things up some.
Applying the Changes to the Remaining Photos
To apply the edits I made to the first photo to the remaining ones, I need to select all the photos. I’ll do that the same way I described earlier. Click the first thumbnail, hold down Shift and then click the last thumbnail.
From there, I want to make my edits filter through the rest of the photos. To do that, I need to click on the small icon that’s located at the top right of the Filmstrip column. Once the selection box appears, I can click Sync Settings.
As soon as I click Sync Settings, a dialog box with many choices will appear. This is where using this method really shines.
If you look closely at this dialog box, you’ll see that there are a whole bunch of check boxes. Whichever box is checked will be what is applied to the remaining photos. Let’s say that you have 100 photos open in the Filmstrip column in Camera Raw. We’ll pretend that you make a lot of edits in multiple panels to the first photo, but only want to apply some of them to the remaining photos. By unchecking and checking boxes in this dialog box, you can easily control which edits get applied and which edits don’t.
What’s even cooler is that there’s a fast way to go about this. If I want to apply only the edits I made in the Basic panel, I can click on the drop-down box located in the Synchronize dialog box and click Basic. This will uncheck all boxes except for the ones related to the Basic panel.
Since this is an example, I’ll keep Everything selected and click on Okay. This will apply every edit I made to every photo I have selected.
If you look in the left Filmstrip column now, you’ll see that all the photos are bright, just like the first one.
Editing Individual Photographs
I do want to mention one thing here. Just because I edited one photo and then applied my edits to all the remaining photos doesn’t mean I can’t select each photo individually and continue editing. Oftentimes, a photo shoot will occur under controlled lighting. Every single photo taken may need the same exact white balance correction. You can easily apply that edit and then continue on making random edits on all the other images. You can even click through the other photos and tweak the batch processing you made earlier. What I’m trying to say here is that batch processing is a helpful tool. In no way does it limit you from further editing in any of the images.
Saving the Photos
Since I’m all finished with editing the photos, I’ll go ahead and click the Done button that’s located at the bottom right of the application. This will apply the changes permanently and save over the JPEG files that were opened. This is important to recognize. Since the photos I worked on today weren’t RAW, my edits weren’t non-destructive. If you want to edit in a non-destructive manner, you’ll need to work with RAW images.
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