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Adobe Photoshop CS5 : Camera Raw—Beyond the Basics - Editing Multiple Photos at Once

5/14/2013 7:48:08 PM
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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.

 
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 an indoor basketball game, and there’s a green color cast to them from the lighting on the court. In Mini Bridge, start by selecting the images you want to edit (click on one, press-and-hold the Command [PC: Ctrl] key, then click on all the others). If they’re RAW images, just double-click on any one of them and they open in Camera Raw, but if they’re JPEG or TIFF images, you’ll need to select them, then switch to Review mode, and then press Option-R (PC: Alt-R).

Step Two.
When the images open in Camera Raw, you’ll see a filmstrip along the left side of the window with all the images you selected. Now, there are two ways to do this and, while neither one is wrong, I think the second method is faster (which you’ll see in a moment). We’ll start with the first: Click on an image in the filmstrip, then make any adjustments you want to make this one image look good (I tweaked the white balance so it wasn’t so green).

Step Three.
Once you’ve got one of the photos looking good, click the Select All button up at the top of the filmstrip to select all the photos (even though it selects the rest of the photos, you’ll notice that the image you edited is actually the “most selected” image, with a highlight border around it). Now click the Synchronize button (it’s right below the Select All button) to bring up the Synchronize dialog (seen here). It shows you a list of all the things you could copy from this “most selected” photo and apply to the rest of the selected photos. Choose White Balance from the pop-up menu at the top, and it unchecks all the other stuff, and leaves just the White Balance checkbox turned on.

Step Four.
When you click the OK button, it applies the White Balance settings from the “most selected” photo to all the rest of the selected photos (if you look in the filmstrip, you’ll see that all the photos have had their white balance adjusted). Okay, so why don’t I like this method? Although it does work, it takes too many clicks, and decisions, and checkboxes, which is why I prefer the second method.

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Tip: Editing Only Select Photos

If you only want certain photos to be affected, and not all the ones open in Camera Raw, then in the filmstrip, Command-click (PC: Ctrl-click) on only the photos you want affected and click the Synchronize button.

Step Five.
In the second method, as soon as Camera Raw opens, click the Select All button to select all your images, then go ahead and make your changes. As you make the changes to your “most selected” photo, all the others are updated with your new settings almost instantly, so you don’t have to remember which settings you applied—when you move one slider, all the images get the same treatment, so you don’t need the Synchronize dialog at all. Try out both methods and see which one you like, but if you feel the need for speed, you’ll probably like the second one much better.

 
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