Auto Adjustment on Import

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Today’s Question: I have discovered that in the Develop mode the first thing that I do is to click on the Auto button. While Auto is usually not perfect it is a great beginning and seems to lessen the adjustments that I have to make. Is there a way to apply the Auto setting in the Develop mode to all of the new files upon importing?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can indeed apply the Auto adjustment to all images during import into Lightroom by including the “Auto Settings” option for the preset you’ll apply during import.

More Detail: The presets you create in the Develop module can be applied directly within the Develop module, or during import. Those presets can also include only selected adjustments, so that you’re not completely replacing all of the default adjustments for images to which you apply a preset.

To create a new preset I recommend first selecting an image in the Develop module to which you have not yet applied any adjustments. You could even click the “Reset” button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module to make sure you’re creating your preset based on the default set of adjustments.

Next, refine any of the adjustments you’d like to include as part of the preset you’ll create. There’s no need to apply the Auto adjustment at this stage, and of course there’s no reason to actually adjust the Tone and Presence adjustments that are refined by the Auto adjustment.

After setting the adjustments as you’d like them to be included in the preset, click the plus button (+) to the right of the Presets header on the left panel, and choose “Create Preset” from the popup menu.

In the New Develop Preset dialog enter a meaningful name for the preset in the Preset Name field at the top of the dialog. Note that you’ll later be selecting this preset by name, so a descriptive name is best. You can also select which Group (folder) you’d like to save the preset in.

You can then click the “Check None” button at the bottom-left of the New Develop Preset dialog so that none of the adjustments are active (other than the Process Version option, which should always be left on for presets). Then turn on the Auto Settings checkbox near the top of the dialog, along with the checkboxes for any other adjustments you’d like to include in the preset.

When you’re finished selecting the adjustments you’d like to include in the preset, click the Create button to save the preset and close the New Develop Preset dialog.

With the preset created, you can then select it from the Develop Settings popup in the Apply During Import section of the right panel in the Import dialog. The Auto Settings option will cause each image to be analyzed and adjusted with the Auto adjustment individually, while other adjustments saved with the preset will be applied with the same settings for all photos to which the preset is applied.