Today’s Question: Is there any way in LR Classic to do an Auto color (Tone) treatment adjust on a selected set of photos in Develop module [in Lightroom Classic]? I don’t see anything in the Sync dialog that doesn’t just copy existing settings. I can do it with Tone Control: Auto in the Library module without Sync, so maybe there’s no reason to do it in Develop.
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can apply the Auto adjustment to a batch of images in Lightroom Classic by enabling Auto Sync before clicking the Auto button. You could also use a preset for this purpose in a similar way.
More Detail: As noted in today’s question, when you synchronize adjustments between images the effect is to copy the adjustment settings from the active image to the other selected images. If you had applied the Auto adjustment to the active image, the resulting adjustment settings would be applied to the other images, rather than having the Auto adjustments be recalculated for the selected images.
If, on the other hand, you use the Auto Sync feature, you can simply apply the Auto adjustment to the active image, and a unique automatic adjustment will also be applied to each of the other selected photos. So, you can click the toggle switch on the left side of the Sync button at the bottom of the right panel in the Develop module to enable the Auto Sync feature. Then select the photos you want to apply the Auto adjustment to and click the Auto button to the right of the Tone heading within the Basic section of the right panel. Each image will have the Auto adjustment applied individually, with different settings based on an analysis of each image.
However, if you had previously applied the Auto adjustment to the active photo, the Auto button will no longer be available since it was already applied. That means you won’t be able to automatically synchronize an Auto adjustment to the other selected images. In this case you can use a preset as a workaround.
You can get started creating the preset for this purpose with any image selected, because you won’t actually be copying any adjustment settings. Click the plus (+) button to the right of the Presets heading on the left panel in the Develop module and choose “Create Preset” from the popup menu. In the New Develop Preset dialog give the new preset a meaningful name, such as “Auto Tone Only”. You can also choose which group you want to save the preset to using the Group popup.
Next, click the “Check None” button so that none of the adjustment categories are selected. Then turn on the checkbox for only the “Auto Settings” checkbox in the Auto Settings section near the top-left of the dialog. Click the Create button to save the preset.
You can then select the images to which you want to apply the Auto adjustment. Turn on the Auto Sync feature using the toggle switch on the left side of the Sync button at the bottom of the right panel, and then select the preset that includes the Auto Tone adjustment from the Presets section of the left panel. Each image will have the preset applied, causing a unique adjustment for each of the images based on an analysis of each of the selected photos.