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Post Production Tips

5 Different Syncing Methods to Cut Down Workflow in Lightroom 4

By Pye Jirsa on April 10th 2013

The following is an excerpt from the SLR Lounge Lightroom Workflow System Workshop on DVD, a system designed to increase your post production speed by 5 to 10 times. Click here to view more details.

Introduction

When you are editing a group of photos from the same scene, it is a good idea to sync develop settings from one image to the rest of the images in the group. By doing so, this will cut down your workflow significantly. In this tutorial, we will go over 5 different syncing methods that can save you a lot of time in post production. We will also discuss when to use each syncing method in certain situations.

Watch the Video

1. The Standard Syncing Function

The Standard Syncing Function is the most commonly used way to sync develop settings from one image to other images. First, select a group of images by holding down “Shift” and clicking on each image. The first photo selected in the group will be considered the “master photo.” The remaining images in the group will have the settings synced from the “master photo.” As you can see below, we have selected the first 4 images in our filmstrip. The first one is highlighted, indicating that it is the “master photo.”

01-lightroom-4-master-photo-selected

To sync the develop settings from the “master photo,” hit “Ctrl + Shift + S.” This will bring up the Synchronize Settings Dialogue Box, like the one below. In this dialogue box, we can choose which settings we want to have synced from the “master photo” to the other images. Once you have finished selecting your settings, hit “Synchronize.”

02-lightroom-4-synchronize-settings-dialogue-box

You can also bring up the same Synchronize Settings Dialogue Box by hitting the “Sync” button. The “Sync” button is below the panels on the right of Lightroom. If the button says “Auto Sync,” then click on the little box next to the button to switch to “Sync.”

03-lightroom-4-sync-button

When to Use the Standard Syncing Function
We use the Standard Syncing Function quite often when we want to sync develop settings across an entire batch of photos that are shot in the same scene.

2. The “Previous” Button

The next method to sync develop settings is using the “Previous” button. First, select an image and then dial in whatever settings you want to apply to that image. Select your next image and hit the “Previous” button. The “Previous” button can be found under the panels on the right of Lightroom. You can also hit “Ctrl + Alt + V” to hit the “Previous” button. The “Previous” button will sync settings from the last image to the image you are currently working on.

04-lightroom-4-previous-button

When to Use the “Previous” Button
The “Previous” Button is extremely useful when we do not need to make adjustments over a large group of images, so we do not need to bring up the Synchronize Settings Dialogue Box. Instead, we only want to make adjustments over a few images in a row that have similar features. The only downside to the “Previous” button is that it works off of the previous photo that was viewed in Lightroom. For example, if you have 3 images in your group and you just viewed the first image of your group, the “Previous” button will apply the settings from the first image to the next image you view. If you view the third photo after viewing the first photo in the group, then the third photo will have the settings from the first photo instead of the settings from the second photo when you hit the “Previous” Button.

3. The Match Total Exposures Function

The Match Total Exposures Function is similar to the Standard Syncing Function except the Match Total Exposures Function will sync over the correct exposure to other images. In our image below, we have applied the “Soft Portrait” Standard Color Preset.

05-lightroom-4-soft-portrait-standard-color

Next, we are going to select this image and hit “Ctrl + Shift + S” to bring up the Synchronize Settings Dialogue Box. After we have selected our settings in the Synchronize Settings Dialogue Box and applied those settings to all of the images in our group, we will see that the exposure is going to vary in all of the images in our group. This is because we are actually changing exposures in the camera, and if you are shooting on a different priority mode, like Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority, these exposures in our group of images will be even more inconsistent.

For example, if we have an image that is a little darker, we can use the Match Total Exposures Function to correct the exposure of an image. First, select an image that has the proper exposure, which will be known as the “master photo.” Then select a group of images from the same scene and hit “Ctrl + Alt + Shift + M.” If the overall exposure of an image is off, the Match Total Exposures Function will take the exposure from each of the images in the group and match those exposures to the correct exposure of the “master photo.”

When to Use the Match Total Exposures Function
The Match Total Exposures Function is great for scenes that stay the same. If the background and composition of an image changes, the Match Total Exposures Function will not work very well. This is because your background and composition are changing, so the colors and the luminosity levels of the images are going to be different, yielding inconsistent results. Instead, the Match Total Exposures Function works extremely well in a studio, where every shot is identical with the exception of the expression. This function also works well in a scene like our image above, where we are not changing the composition of the image. With this particular scene, we are just shooting different expressions and poses, and almost everything else in the scene stays the same.

4. The Auto Sync Function

The Auto Sync Function will take any changes that are made to an image and then apply those changes across whatever photos are selected. First, select a group of photos and then hit the “Auto Sync” button to apply the settings across the whole group of images. Auto Sync can be found below the panels on the right of Lightroom. To enable Auto Sync, flip the switch next to the “Sync” button.

06-lightroom-4-enable-auto-sync

Once Auto Sync is enabled, any changes that are made in the Basic Panel to one image will be reflected across every single image selected in the group.

07-lightroom-4-auto-sync-enabled

We can also apply a preset to one image and then sync that preset across all of the images in the group. Simply select a preset from the Presets Panel while you still have your group of images selected. The preset you selected will then be applied to all of the images in your group. As you can see below, we have selected the “Soft Portrait” Standard Black and White Preset and the preset has been applied to all of the images in the group.

08-lightroom-4-apply-preset-auto-sync

When to Use the Auto Sync Function
We generally do not use the Auto Sync Function to batch process, which means to select a group of images and make adjustments to them, because each individual photo will still need a little bit of tweaking on its own. However, we can use this function when we want to apply a specific preset across a large group of images, without having to do any other syncing.

5. The Copy and Paste Function

The last method we can use to sync develop settings to an image is the Copy and Paste Function. This function allows us to copy develop settings from an image and then paste those settings to whatever image we want. With the “Previous” button, we can only apply the settings from the image that we previously viewed. It is a bit of a hassle to scroll through the filmstrip to view one image and then scroll back to the image you are working on so that you can apply those settings to the image you are currently working on. To use the Copy and Paste Function, select an image and apply whatever preset or settings you want to the image. Then hit ‘Ctrl + Shift + C” to bring up the Copy Settings Dialogue Box, like the one below. Select the settings you want to copy and hit “Copy.”

09-lightroom-4-copy-settings-dialogue-box

Now we can go to whatever image we want and apply those settings that we just copied. To paste the copied settings to an image, hit “Ctrl + Shift + V.” It does not matter which image you choose or how many times you use the Copy and Paste Function.

When to Use the Copy and Paste Function
The Copy and Paste Function is great when you want to apply the same settings many times over different images. Once you have copied the settings to the Clipboard by hitting “Ctrl + Shift + C,” those settings will stay there until you exit Lightroom or until you copy a new set of different settings.

Conclusion & Learn More!

We hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on different syncing methods. These syncing methods can speed up your workflow significantly once you know which syncing method to use in certain situations.

To learn more about the SLR Lounge Workflow System Workshop on DVD or to purchase it, click on this link.

To purchase the Lightroom 4 Workshop Collection which includes A-Z Tutorials, the Preset System, and Workflow DVD, click here.

About

Founding Partner of Lin and Jirsa Photography and SLR Lounge.

Follow my updates on Facebook and my latest work on Instagram both under username @pyejirsa.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing.

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