If you work with multiple images, cropping them all individually to the exact same size can be a real pain. Or perhaps your images need a watermark, but you have a batch of 30 to edit. Editing them all at the same time can save you a lot of time and energy. Here’s how to edit multiple photos to make your photo editing more efficient.
In this guide, we cover Windows, MacOS, and Chrome OS. All three platforms have native tools to make simple edits to your photos and images. However, there’s no native way to manipulate more than one image at a time. That means we must turn to third-party solutions.
Batch edit in Windows
For Windows, we use an open-source Photoshop replacement and a plugin:
GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) – The biggest threat to Adobe Photoshop is this free, open-source desktop program. It has mostly everything you need to manipulate images, like cropping, color adjustment, adding effects, layers, and more. We highly recommend this software if you want to avoid Photoshop’s monthly subscription.
Batch Image Manipulation Program (BIMP) – This is a free plugin for GIMP that adds batch editing to the open-source desktop software. You need to install GIMP first, followed by this tool.
Once you install both tools, you can use them to edit multiple images simultaneously.
Step 1: Open GIMP and click File on the main menu.
Step 2: Select Batch Image Manipulation from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: A pop-up window appears. Under Manipulation Set, click the Add button.
Step 4: Select a manipulation on the resulting pop-up menu.
The next window you see depends on the manipulation you choose. Here they are at a glance:
- Resize – Alter the height and width in percent or pixels. You can also use a Stretch, Preserve, or Padded aspect ratio, and change the interpolation. It also lets you to change the image’s X and Y DPI settings.
- Crop – You can use a standard aspect ratio, a manually set aspect ratio in pixels, and designate a starting point: Center, top-left, top-right, bottom-left, or bottom-right.
- Flip or Rotate – Flip your images horizontally or vertically, or rotate them 90, 180, or 270 degrees.
- Color Correction – Adjust the brightness and/or contrast, convert to grayscale, or use automatic color level correction. You can also change the color curve using a settings file stored on your PC.
- Sharp or Blur – Move a slider left (add sharpness) or right (more blurred).
- Add a Watermark – You can apply a text-based watermark you type into the window, or select an image stored on your PC. You can also set the watermark’s opacity level and location.
- Change Format and Compression – Convert your image to one of 10 formats, including JPEG, GIF, and TGA. There’s also a quality slider ranging from 0 to 100.
- Rename with a Pattern – Enter characters to keep the original filename without an extension, use incremental numbers, or use the captured date and time.
- Other GIMP Procedure – Select from a list provided by GIMP, like Posterize, Bump Map, Blur, and loads more.
For each manipulation window, be sure to click the OK button so it’s saved in the current manipulation set.
Step 5: Click the Add button again if you want to add another manipulation to the set, as shown above.
Step 6: Click the Add Images button located under Input Files and Options and select the images you want to edit in bulk.
Step 7: Select an output folder.
Step 8: Click Apply to begin the batch edit process.
Batch edit in MacOS
While you can install GIMP on MacOS, there is no version of the BIMP plugin for Apple’s platform. Instead, you can turn to PhotoScape X on the Mac App Store. There are two batch edit features locked behind a “pro” paywall; however, the basic necessities like cropping and resizing remain free. Trouble is, the overall interface is a bit clunky, especially if you heavily rely on GIMP.
Step 1: With PhotoScape X open, click Batch located on the menu.
Step 2: Click the blue “plus” icon next to Add Folder on the left to load the folder containing your images.
Step 3: Your image gallery loads in the bottom left window. Drag the images you want to edit up into the top center window.
Step 4: On the right, select the manipulator you want to apply to the images. Like the GIMP plugin, you can apply multiple image manipulators before exporting the altered images.
Here are the available manipulators at a glance:
- Crop – Click the up and down arrows to widen or expand each side based on the center of your images.
- Resize – Change the width and/or height in pixels, change the aspect ratio, widen or shorten the edges, or enter a custom size.
- Color – You have lots of options here, like applying automatic levels, contrast, or colors; brightening or darkening; adding HDR; adjusting the clarity; changing the overall temperature, and more.
- Filter – You can play with filters to add effects like grain, vignette, sharpen, or bloom. You can use filters to adjust color and luminance noise.
- Film – Add up to six effects pulled from the app’s huge library spanning Film, Duotone, Overlays, Old Photos, Dirt & Scratches, and Textures. Some of these are locked behind the “pro” paywall, however.
- Light – Like Film, you can add up to six effects pulled from the app’s huge library spanning Light Leaks and Lens Flares.
- Insert – Add up to six inserts: Stickers, Images, Figures, Filters, and Text.
Step 5: To export your modified images, click the Save button.
Batch edit in Chrome OS
The batch editing process in Chrome OS will seem familiar to most users, but there are some significant differences. The biggest of which is Chrome OS doesn’t have native batch editing capability due to its use of web-based features. There are alternatives, but each one has its quirks, so read about all of them before making a decision.
If Linux support was a big factor in your choice of ChromeOS, there are several Linux based plugins you can try. If you’re already tech-savvy in the dark arts of Linux, you can play around with the Linux-based version of the GIMP and BIMP plugin. If you don’t have the tech know-how, this solution will be more trouble to deploy than it’s worth.
The BIMP plugin is suitable for beginners due to the complicated installation process. There is no installer available, so it won’t even remotely resemble a typical program installation. If you’re already familiar with Linux, it might not seem too challenging to install the software manually by downloading the source files and using the terminal application.
If that sounds like too much work for little payout, you can use a variety of web-based or Android apps that have the capability of batch editing photos, but this is usually a paid feature. This means that, even if you use the web version or download the free version of the app, you’ll have to pay or subscribe to get the batch editing options. Ideal apps include Polarr Photo Editor, Lightroom, Photoshop Express, and Pixlr.
If you want to use a paid program to batch edit your photos, you can use the highly-rated PhotoScape X. Another option would be using the batch mode in the GIMP plugin.