How to use Lightroom sync for presets

Hey everyone, I thought I’d share an Adobe Lightroom editing tip with you that will be obvious for some but life changing to others (from a Lightroom presets perspective anyway). This is a work smarter not harder kind of thing in 2023 and beyond! When my younger self figured out how to use the sync feature, a sun beam shone down from the heavens and I swear my life changed forever.

I’ll try not to bury the lede too much here. Using the Lightroom sync feature allows you to apply changes made to one image, including applied presets, across all images from a photoshoot or batch of images. It’s so easy, I swear it’ll blow your mind.

Here’s how to do it…


4 easy steps to sync edits in Lightroom

1.       Select the desired edited image

2.       In the Develop panel/module, select all images you’d like to apply those same settings to (I use SHIFT to bulk select images, you can also use CTRL to select individually)

3.       Click “Sync” in bottom right of Develop panel (which only shows when multiple images are selected)

4.       VOILA! You’ve batch edited photos


Why use Lightroom sync settings

There are a few important things to note here. Firstly, you can copy some or all settings from the anchor image onto the other images by using sync. If you edit using presets, which is how I typically edit in Lightroom, you can also sync the changes made to presets. And I quickly want to point out that the preset amount slider feature is now live and it’s also amazing!

Second important note is that you should only select images with similar lighting within a section of your session. This is because there many different things that go into what makes an image look the way it does. Things like white balance, shadows, exposure, etc.  So obviously it goes without saying that not all presets are suitable for every image, but with additonal adjusments you can tweak them to fit.

For example, if I am editing a wedding and working on the getting ready portion, I will perfect a preset edit on an image from that part of the day, and then go ahead and highlight all the other getting ready imagse that have similar light and color to them, hit sync, and they are now cohesively edited! Additonal adjustments may need to be made to the images you synced your edit to – but it saves you finding a preset and starting from scratch. This also creates mega consistency in your gallery, along with speeding up workflow. I am ALL about time saving tricks.

The last thing I’d like to mention is that these instructions are for Lightroom Desktop Classic specifically. There is a similar method for Lightroom Mobile CC and Desktop CC, which I’ll highlight in a separate article.


Using Hot Keys to sync in Lightroom

There is another sneaky little method to bulk apply settings in Lightroom. I will sometimes use Hot Keys rather than clicking sync as it can save even more time, keeping your fingers quicly moving and applying edits as you make your way through a session of images. Here’s how it works:

1.       Select and highlight your desired images with simliar lighting / colors

2.       Hit CTRL + SHIFT + S (this is for PC; it could vary slightly for Mac)

3.       You’re done!

I hope these Lightroom tips help some of you on your photo editing journey! If you have questions or comments, feel free to share your thoughts with me on Instagram @erincrooksphoto!

Check out my presets collections, too!