Batch Processing in Apple Photos

You may have shot a lot of photos in a particular area, or with specific lighting, and want to process them all in exactly the same way. For example, you may want to apply the same adjustments to correct color, heighten contrast, and tweak brightness. With some advanced photo apps, you can perform “batch processing,” where you apply the same settings to a group of photos.

Apple’s Photos app does not allow you to perform batch processing. However, there is a way that you can quickly apply the same changes to multiple photos.

Start with any photo in edit mode; to edit a photo, select it and press Return. Photos switches to its editing interface with controls at the right side of the window. Make whatever changes you want to the photo: adjust the color, contrast, brightness, or apply a filter.

Next, choose Image > Copy Adjustments, press Command-Shift-C, or right-click on the photo and choose Copy Adjustments. Photos places all the adjustments that you have made to this picture on the clipboard.

Copy adjustments

You can then switch to another photo in edit mode and paste these adjustments. To do this, choose Image > Paste Adjustments, press Command-Shift-V, or right-click on the photo and choose Paste Adjustments. Photos applies all the adjustments you made to the first photo, with the exception of cropping or rotation.

There are ways that you can streamline this process. Create a new photo album (File > New Album), and add all the photos you want to batch process to that album. Edit the first photo, copy its adjustments, then press the right arrow key to move to the next photo — you will still be in Edit mode — and paste the adjustments. You can go through all the photos in this album paste in the adjustments with just a few keypresses.

While this isn’t as efficient as the way more powerful apps perform batch processing, it is a great way to apply the exact same adjustments to a group of photos. Try this when you have spent a lot of time tweaking, say, one of your vacation photos. If you have other photos that were taken in the same light at the same location, you can probably just paste the adjustments he made from one photo onto them and save time.

4 thoughts on “Batch Processing in Apple Photos

  1. This doesn’t seem to work for crop size; “copy adjustments” remains greyed out. Trying to trim an album’s worth of photos to a 3×2 aspect ratio is really annoying, and the main reason why I’m still using iPhoto.

    • As I say in the article it doesn’t work for cropping or rotating. But you can do those with Automator, I think.

  2. Why would Apple do that? They clearly aren’t interested in providing better tools, even for people for whom photography is just a hobby. If they were, they wouldn’t have abandoned Aperture.

  3. Lol what a joke.

    Batch editing photos is a necessity these days with digital photography making it so easy to snap snap snap away. Even the most rudimentary photo apps have this capability–even Windowsʻ default photo viewing/editing software can batch edit (the real way….not this dumb workaround).

    And Apple is supposed to be the platform that caters to “creatives” lol.

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