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Editing Multiple Photos at Once

One of the biggest advantages of using Camera Raw is that it enables you to apply changes to one photo, and then easily apply those exact same changes to a bunch of other similar photos taken in the same approximate setting. It’s a form of built-in automation, and it can save you an incredible amount of time when editing your shoots (plus, if you use Bridge’s Camera Raw, rather than Photoshop’s, you can have your photos processing in the background, while you’re working on something else in Photoshop. That is some serious productivity!).

Step One

The key to making this work is that the photos you edit all are shot in similar lighting conditions, or all have some similar problem. In this case, our photos are from a college football game. Earlier in the day, the field was in the sun, and the white balance and exposure were fine, but later in the day, part of the field wound up in the shadows, so the white balance was off, making the uniforms have a bluish cast, and putting the players in the shadows.

Step Two

So, go to Bridge, click on a photo to edit, and press Command-R (PC: Ctrl-R) to open the photo in Bridge’s Camera Raw (as shown here). Adjust the photo the way you’d like. In our example, I started by taking the White Balance tool (I) and clicking on the back of this player’s leg to remove the blue color cast. Next, I increased the exposure a bit, and raised the Recovery amount to tame the bright light behind him. The player’s in the shadows a bit, so I increased the Fill Light amount to make him more visible. Lastly, I moved the Clarity slider to the right to give the photo more punch. When you’re done, don’t open the image, just click the Done button.

Step Three

When you click that Done button, you’re returned to Bridge, and the thumbnail for the photo you just edited now reflects the changes you made (you can see here, it’s warmer and brighter). Press-and-hold the Command (PC: Ctrl) key and select all the other photos in Bridge that you want to have those exact same edits (white balance, exposure, recovery, fill light, etc.). Now, Control-click (PC: Right-click) on any one of those selected photos, and a contextual menu will appear. Go under Develop Settings and choose Previous Conversion (as shown here).

Step Four

All the changes you made to the previous photo are now applied to all your selected photos in Bridge (as shown here, where you can see the white balance is now better [it’s much less blue], the fill light has been tweaked, etc.). Now, what if you only wanted to apply certain edits you made—like just the white balance setting, and not all the other stuff? Then you’d use another method (on the next page).

Step Five

If you’re not in Bridge, you can go to the folder on your computer where your RAW photos are, select them, and double-click on one of them to open them all in Camera Raw (you’ll see them appear in a vertical filmstrip along the left side. To open JPEGs or TIFFs in Camera Raw, you’ll need to select them in Bridge and then press Command-R [PC: Ctrl-R]). Click on one of the photos and make your edits. In this case, we just want to fix the white balance and fill light. I used the Shade White Balance preset, but then their pants looked a little magenta, so I dragged the Tint slider a little bit away from magenta (as shown here). I also increased the fill light, then the blacks, so the Fill Light adjustment didn’t make the photo look washed out. Now click the Select All button at the top left, and then click the Synchronize button (beneath it). This brings up the Synchronize dialog (shown here), where you choose which of the edits you made to the first photo will be applied to the rest of your selected photos. Here, we only want the White Balance, Fill Light, and Blacks settings applied, so choose White Balance from the Synchronize pop-up menu at the top, and it automatically deselects all the other checkboxes, then turn on the checkboxes for Fill Light and Blacks.

Step Six

When you click OK, only those checked edits will be applied to all your selected photos in Camera Raw, as seen here, where you can see in the filmstrip how the other thumbnails are now updated with the non-bluish look.

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