Don’t waste your time cropping your images one-at-a-time. Leverage the power of your software to perform many crops to many images at once.
It is no secret to those who know me that I prefer to do my initial image editing within Lightroom (as much as possible). The other day, I received a phone call from a Chicago-based photographer, who had contacted NAPP and ultimately through a chain of people ended up with my name and number. Ultimately, I was able to help the photographer with his problem but his dilemma (cropping many images to an aspect ratio and sizing all the heads the same) is a common problem. It got me thinking about how many ways, within Lightroom. there are to crop many images at once.
Without further adieu, here are the multi-image crop methods within Lightroom.
Method 1: Library Mode – Quick Develop Panel
In the Library module, you can select many files in Grid mode and apply a crop through the Quick Develop panel. While you do not have access to the interactive crop tool that resides in Develop, you can, at minimum, establish a crop ratio. Want all the images square like you are shooting a 6×6? No Problem.
Method 2: Library Mode – Tether Dialog
When you use Tethered Capture in Lightroom, you can edit your first photo captured (including the crop) and then apply those settings to all subsequent captures during that tethered session. Accessing the “Same as Previous” option in the Develop Settings of the Tethered dialog will do this.
Method 3: Library Module/Develop Module – Copy and Paste Settings
You can crop an image and select Photo>Develop Settings and copy the develop settings (including the crop) and paste them to a group of images. This functionality is also available through a right click on the PC or a [Ctrl] click on Mac.
Method 4: Library Module – Sync Settings
When more than one image is selected in Library module, the [Sync] button is activated. The photo with the brightest border will now be the driver for the synchronization settings for those other selected items-the next lightest bordered photo or group of photos. This includes the crop also.
Method 5: Develop Module – Sync…
When you have more than one image selected (usually done in Grid mode of the Library module or the Film Strip of Develop module) you can use the interactive Crop tool [R] to create a meticulous crop. [Sync…] will bring up a dialog (similar to the Copy/Paste dialog) and allow you to choose the Develop attributes you wish (including, of course, crop!). Holding [Opt]/[Alt] allows you to sync without the selection dialog.
Method 6: Develop Module – Auto Sync
Clicking the little toggle to the left of [Sync] will allow access to the Auto Sync function. Clicking [Auto Sync] with multiple images selected will enable Auto Sync mode where the target image’s changes will immediately drive the other selected images’ settings. This includes the crop too. Remember to turn off Auto Sync when you are done!
Method 7: Print Module – Zoom to Fill
I hesitated putting this in but realized you can crop many images through this functionality. If you enable Zoom to Fill, your image will grow to fill the cell size on the page. When you mouse over your image you will get a ‘hand’ cursor which will allow you to adjust the Zoom to Fill induced crop. As many images can be set up to print at once, this is a valid method for cropping many images-particularly if you want to Print to JPEG with a page border, multiple images per page and other Print module options.
I am sure some of my Lightroom buddies will point out that I might have missed a method or two. I will update the article if that happens…
If you need to crop a whole bunch of photos, Lightroom offers many paths to your goal.
Rikk Flohr © 2011