Today’s Question: I know I can copy settings to multiple images using copy settings in Lightroom Classic. Synchronize seems to do the same thing. Is there a difference?
Tim’s Quick Answer: The only difference is how you initiate the task of synchronizing the adjustment settings in the Develop module in Lightroom Classic. In other words, it is mostly a matter of personal preference in the context of your current workflow.
More Detail: Lightroom Classic includes a variety of ways that you can copy the adjustments settings from one image to one or more other images. All of these achieve the same goal, so it mostly depends on your personal preference, partially based on where you’re at in the workflow.
If you had just applied adjustments to a similar image before selecting an image that would benefit from the same adjustments, you can click the Previous button at the bottom of the left panel in the Develop module to apply those previous adjustments to the current image.
If you anticipate that you want to apply the same settings in real time to multiple images, you can select those images, and then turn on the Auto Sync feature by clicking the switch button on the left side of the Sync button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module.
If you want to synchronize to multiple photos after applying adjustments to a single photo, you can select all the photos you want to apply the same adjustments to, with the photo you already adjusted as the active image (the image showing in the preview area). Then click the Sync button at the bottom of the right panel and you’ll be able to select the adjustments you want to synchronize to all the selected photos.
You can also copy and paste the adjustment settings. Simply right-click on an image that has been adjusted and choose Develop Settings > Copy Settings from the menu. This will enable you to select the settings you want to copy, as with the Sync button noted above. Then select the photos you want to apply the same adjustments to, right-click, and choose Develop Settings > Paste Settings.
All of these options are the same in general in terms of being able to duplicate adjustment settings from one image to others. Of course, the Sync and Paste options include the option to selectively choose which adjustments you want to synchronize across multiple photos, which provides a bit more flexibility in that regard.