Jeffrey’s “Bulk Develop Settings” Lightroom Plugin

This plugin allows you to apply certain noise-related develop settings automatically, in bulk, based upon the camera that created each image, and each image's ISO sensitivity and Lightroom exposure boost.

This plugin works in Lightroom 6/CC (and older versions as far back as Lightroom 3, though some features depend on the version of Lightroom).

The same download works for both Windows and Mac. See the box to the upper right for the download link (in orange) and installation instructions.

How To Use

Most people will find it most convenient to apply bulk settings immediately after import, and/or after a rough exposure-adjustment pass through just-imported files.

Select the photos you want to bulk adjust, then invoke:

File > Plugin Extras > Apply Bulk Develop Settings

and you'll get a dialog along the lines of:

(screen shot as of plugin version 20150103.48)

That's a really busy, densely-packed dialog (sorry), so let's look at the top a bit closer.

Most of the dialog presents your bulk-develop configuration for a single camera, with tabs along the top letting you choose which camera's config is shown:

Only the configurations for cameras used for photos selected when the dialog is invoked are shown, though the plugin will remember your settings for all configurations over time.

Raw photos (including DNGs) have a separate configuration from JPGs and other non-raw photos. In the example above, two Nikon D4 configuration tabs appear because both raw (NEF) and JPGs from a Nikon D4 were selected.

The entire camera-specific configuration can be enabled or disabled with the checkbox at the top of the configuration.

The configuration itself has five different parts, one for each kind of develop control the plugin can update:

  1. Luminance Noise Reduction
  2. Color Noise Reduction
  3. Sharpening Mask
  4. Contrast
  5. Clarity

Each is configured in the same manner which is why the closeup above only bothers to show the first.

Note: on smaller screens, a less verbose presentation is used for all sections other than the first, to allow everything to fit. The initial screenshot above is an example. Though the presentation is less wordy and descriptive, the meaning of each dialog component remains the same.

In any case, though each control is configured in the same manner, your develop needs and tastes will likely mean that the values you enter differ from control to control.

If you've enabled the only when at its default value option, a control won't be touched by the plugin if it's not at its default value. The intention is to leave prior changes alone.

If a develop control is to be updated, its new value is computed from three things: the ISO speed value used by the camera during capture, and any Exposure and optionally Shadows added in post processing within Lightroom.

For the ISO part...

... you give a pair of ISO values that define an ISO range, and a pair of control values (in the example above, luminance noise reduction values) that define a range to use for the develop setting.

Photos with ISOs less than the lower end of the ISO range don't get any ISO-related develop-control change. Photos with an ISO above the upper end of the range get the maximum of the control-value range. Any ISO value in between gets a control value from the control range.

Then, on top of that, any in-Lightroom exposure compensation or Shadows can add additional control strength.

Setting Recommendations

Configuring the plugin settings for any particular camera involves perhaps more of an artistic sense than a technical one, but I'll offer some general suggestions you might use as a starting point, for when you haven't yet built up a sense of what you want for any specific camera.

To be clear, be sure to understand that my suggestions are certainly based on my own personal artistic sense, and that these suggestions are being made by someone who is an expert in Lightroom plugin design, and not by someone who is an expert in photography or photo development. 😉

Because the plugin bases its calculations on the ISO value for each image, the settings must be configured with an understanding of the ISO range of the sensor. As an example camera, I'll use the Nikanon-Sontax Turbo-Encabulator 7sX, which has a nominal ISO range of 100〜6400, but with boost can go to 25600, but practically speaking, noise starts to show up noticeably in normal lighting at about 3200:

sample settings

With the top section, I've configured it to put at least a little luminance noise reduction (5) for all images, topping out at 50 for ISO 4000 and above. The "4000" here is very dependent on the sensor and how noisy it is at high ISO, so for your own settings at least look at the stated nominal range of your camera's sensor. If you don't yet have a sense of how the sensor behaves, a good starting point here might be about ⅔ of the nominal top ISO.

Color noise reduction gets a much less heavy hand, as Lightroom's default seems to be pretty good to me, and in cases it's not, I feel it's something that needs to be tweaked carefully by hand.

Personally, I'm a fan of the sharpening mask, which disables sharpening in low-detail areas where noise shows up more readily, such as clear sky, so the sample configuration above reflects that with a fairly aggressive value (50) even at a low ISO of 1000.

I don't personally use the Contrast or Clarity sections.

I said before, the settings are highly dependent on the camera and your personal taste, so if you use these settings as a starting point, be sure to play around and experiment.


A discussion of (a prior version of) this plugin in a pro-photographer workflow is seen at sidecar: post in “Parameter Based Noise Reduction – Part 1”.


This plugin is distributed as “donationware”. I have chosen to make it available for free — everyone can use it forever, without cost of any kind — but unless registered, its functionality is somewhat reduced after six weeks.

Registration is done via PayPal, and if you choose to register, it costs the minimum 1-cent PayPal fee; any amount you'd like to add beyond PayPal's sliding fees as a gift to me is completely optional, and completely appreciated.

Note: a Lightroom major upgrade, such as from Lr4 to Lr5, de-registers the plugin in the upgraded version, so if you want to maintain registration, a new ($0.01 if you like) registration code is needed in the upgraded version. It makes for a hassle every couple of years, I know. Sorry. See this note for details.

For details on plugin registration and on how I came into this hobby of Lightroom plugin development, see my Plugin Registration page.

Version History
( Update Log via RSS )


Added an option for a hard-upper-limit cap to the settings, so that values are never set beyond them.


In the POODLE-vunerability dialog, display a raw URL of a page on my site that discusses the issue, so that folks can be independently sure that the dialog is indeed from me and not malware.


There was a bug in the computation related to how increased shadow effected settings.

Allowed the Ev/shadow-related adjustments to be percent based.


Throw everything into a scrollable view on really short screens.


If an image didn't have an ISO speed value, the Ev-related items wouldn't be applied. They are now, independently.

Redesigned the dialog, and gave each of the controls (luminance noise reduction, color noise reduction, and masking) its own ISO range.

Added the ability to update the contols depending on the amount of negative shadow applied.

Added the ability to update Contrast and Clarity as well.

20150107.47 Build update.
20141019.46 Windows Only: Add a one-time check for the POODLE security vulnerability, and alert the user if it exists.
20140902.45 New build system
20140731.44 Registration fix for Lr5.6
20140720.43 More Creative-Cloud support.

Fixed an issue with Creative-Cloud revalidation.


Lr5.5 and later Creative-Cloud installs can now revalidate themselves if needed.

20140710.40 Sigh, had a bug in the Creative-Cloud support.

Now supports Lr5.5+ Creative-Cloud Installs.

20140704.38 Sigh, introduced an error for some folks with the rebuild the other day.
20140630.37 Build-system update
20140521.36 Added the ability to isolate updated/unmodified images to a collection

Fixed a bug in the "smoother revalidation" stuff recently added.


Make the revalidation process smoother, especially for folks using Lr5.4 and later.

20140216.33 Squelch an error that popped up if you canceled the import-settings dialog.
20131014.32 Found that with certain settings some math errors would pop up.
20130704.31 Added the ability to set/clear keywords based upon bulk-develop processing.
20130613.30 Better support for plugin revalidation.
20130611.29 Yet another Lr5 update
20130610.28 Final update for Lr5
20130501.27 Update for Lr5
20130412.26 Build system update.
20130328.25 Fix for the registration system.
20130316.24 Switched ISO interpolation to logarithmic, which should provide for more-balanced results. Linear interpolation, which the plugin used to do, is still available as an option.
20130209.23 More build-system maintenance
20130206.22 Tweak for my registration system
20130201.20 Update to my plugin build system.

Holy cow, discovered a bug (thanks Cody Sims!) that could cause appropriate bulk settings not to be updated, depending on what order what settings needed to be applied. This was a huge bug with a major impact on some kinds of shots... I can't believe that I never noticed this one myself... I use this plugin myself with every photo I take. Just dumbfounded, but glad it's fixed.


The plugin was leaving cruft in one's "Plugin Develop Presets" folder; now cleans it up.


Update to handle the Mac App Store version of Lightroom.

Tweak for Lr4.1RC2.


In Lr4, images with PV2012 were being processed with the Exposure from the prior process version. Doh!

Added the ability to export and import settings.

Enhanced the send-log dialog to hopefully make reports more meaningful to me, yielding, I hope, the ability to respond more sensibly to more reports.

20120330.15 Update to handle 4.1RC
20120309.14 Update to the debug logging to better track down timing issues that might arise.

More updates for Lr4.


More updates for Lr4.


Add a bit of bullet-proofing against corrupt catalogs.

More on the march toward Lr4, including upheaval in the code to handle Lightroom APIs being discontinued in Lr4.

20120119.10 added some extra debug logging to try to track down a bug.
20120114.9 More tweaks for Lr4b

Update for Lr4 beta: explain in the plugin manager that the plugin can't be registered in the beta.


Had issues with the registration button sometimes not showing.

20111201.6 Fixed the bug I was trying to track down with the previous version. As best I can tell, a bug in Lightroom caused the plugin to not work for images with a period in the camera-make name, such as those from Olympus (which give the make as “OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.”)

Added extra debug logging, when “enhanced logging” is selected in the plugin manager, to try to debug an issue.

Added a system-clock check and reports to the user if the system clock is more than a minute out of date. An incorrect system clock can cause problems with various kinds of communication and authentication with some of my plugins, so I've just gone ahead and added this to every plugin.

When doing a plugin upgrade, offer the ability to flush all the old copies of the plugin.

20110912.4 Added the ability to update the sharpening mask.
20110401.3 Big update adding support for color noise reduction, and the segregation of non-raw and raw. Best to make a backup of your catalog before trying this update, just in case.
20101104.2 Reissue after a build change.
20101028.1 initial release

All 23 comments so far, oldest first...

Great idea. I love the idea that Adobe had for setting the defaults based on ISO, but they need an interface to tweak those defaults for the different ISO values. Have you thought about modifying this plugin to set luminance NR for multiple ISO values? Such as…
<=100 ~ 0
<=200 ~ 0
<=400 ~ 10
<=800 ~ 20
<=1600 ~ 30
<=3200 ~ 40
<=6400 ~ 50
Your plugin can be used multiple times to achieve this, but it would be nice to be able to set ranges once that can be applied to groups of photos with widely different ISO values.

That’s pretty much what mine does… set it to 10 @ ISO=400, 50 @ ISO=6400, and it’ll extrapolate for the ISO values in between. —Jeffrey

— comment by Brad C on November 7th, 2010 at 9:18am JST (5 years ago) comment permalink

Great! Another very helpful tool!
In addition to a DSLR I sometimes use a compact camera that really needs that.
Thank you, Jeffrey!

— comment by Ludger Luckenbach on January 6th, 2011 at 12:14am JST (4 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

I am new to LR plug-ins … does this export the images or does this apply settings to the images like they do in the Develop module? do they show up in the image’s develop history?

It merely applies settings, and yes, the changes show up in the develop history for each photo. —Jeffrey

— comment by Johnny on May 5th, 2011 at 5:22am JST (4 years, 7 months ago) comment permalink

This is a very good idea! But after downloading it and testing it for the first five minutes I found some drawbacks:

1) Aside from Color and Luminance noise, it would be great to have an option to adjust the Masking (under Sharpening). To suppress noise I routinely increase Luminance slider and also Masking a bit – the latter avoids sharpening of noisy pixels, which really helps.

2) The computation based on Exposure adjustment is great! But could be much more easily used if it was translated into ISO, i.e. for every +1 EV take it as the base ISO was twice as high (better: slightly more than twice). Something like calculated_iso = original_iso * (2.1 ^ ev_adjustment).
Then you just perform noise setting according the main settings and you don’t need the last section in options (or just to set the coefficient).
Also, it allow things which are currently not possible. For example, I would like to use noise reduction from ISO 800 and even more so for ISO 800 + 1 EV – this is possible, but it will also affects photos with ISO 100 + 1 EV, which is not necessary. (Though it should apply to photos with ISO 400 + 1 EV)

So these are my opinions :) Interesting plugin otherwise!

I just pushed a version that handles point #1; thanks for the idea. Point #2 will have to wait for another day… —Jeffrey

— comment by Vit Kovalcik on September 5th, 2011 at 5:47pm JST (4 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Whoa… just used this plugin. Saved me about 3 hours of work as I didn’t have to tweak each individual image.

Thanks Jeffery for your awesome work!

John V.

— comment by John V on November 18th, 2011 at 4:23am JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the great plugin, Jeffrey!

It works fine with all my cameras except for the files from my Olympus E-PL1 (both ORF and JPEG). The plugin configuration window stays grayed-out (including the OK button), even when I click all the checkboxes, which contain minus signs when I open the window.

Paul from Canada

Thanks for the report, Paul… I’ve pushed a new version that fixes the problem. —Jeffrey

— comment by Paul D. on November 30th, 2011 at 10:47pm JST (4 years ago) comment permalink

I’ve added the bulk developer, but there appears no where to go in the Export dialog that will allow me to use it. I’m using LR4 and I don’t see anything that let’s me insert it into the main dialog as you describe. could you please provide more explicit instructions? Thanks.


I thought they were pretty clear (and made no mention of the Export dialog, since this has nothing to do with Export), but I’ve gone over them and updated for changes in the plugin since I wrote them, so hopefully it’s clear now. —Jeffrey

— comment by Bob on April 6th, 2012 at 10:01am JST (3 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink


What precise piece of information is this package using to decide what calculations to make. If I use Photomatix to produce a TIFF file and try and apply it tells me there isn’t enough information to work with.

If I use LR to look at the speed it tells me 100 ISO so perhaps it is is looking elsewhere.

I have used your meta data viewer package to snapshot the exif and the difference between the two EXIF is that the normal image has “ISO Setting” and “ISO2” as 100 whereas the created TIFF has just “ISO” as 100.

I can fix it by running the exif tool to migrate one of the original images EXIF across but should I really be flagging this as a Photomatix bug.

Regards Mike

The plugin asks Lightroom for the data (“What’s the ISO?”). Lightroom probably has some kind of heuristics that it takes data from the embedded XMP data if it’s there, but from Exif if not, but this is just a guess. If Lightroom shows the ISO in the metadata panel, the plugin should be given the same data, but the plugin also needs other data as well, so maybe it’s not ISO at all. Perhaps send a log after a failure? —Jeffrey

— comment by Mike Watson on September 4th, 2012 at 1:32am JST (3 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Silly me for not looking at your log. :-(

This gave me the pointer that the Make was missing (presumably because Photomatix decided not to say it’s image was from Nikon Corporation despite preserving the camera ID correctly). I’ll e-mail Photomatix to see if this can be fixed….

In the meantime created a Run any command in an export preset to allow me to fix it….

— comment by Mike Watson on September 10th, 2012 at 11:27pm JST (3 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

Happy to report that Make is now correctly transferred to the Photomatix target file in version 4.2.5, released 18th Nov 2012

As a result the bulk Develop plugin works OK…..

— comment by Mike Watson on November 19th, 2012 at 2:30am JST (3 years ago) comment permalink

Just upgraded LR to V5 as it is now released.

Most of your other plugins allowed me to Register again as per your major LR upgrade process.

This plugin will not allow me to register and shows that the registration button will appear when LR5 exits beta.

Version 20130501.27

Also applies to Photosafe, snapshot on Export

Adobe (and you) were juuuuust a bit too quick on some of the plugins, but they should now all be ready. Sorry for the hassles. —Jeffrey

— comment by Mike on June 11th, 2013 at 3:15am JST (2 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Am I correct to interpret (and see) that this bulk-develop can only be launched manually by picking it from the file->plugin extra’s menu ??? Or is it possible to invoke this bulk-develop plugin during import of images, and before LR starts to generate it’s previews of all imported photo’s???
The latter option could be a time-saver, too: LR would not have to render each photo into a preview again after the bulk adjustment process has made it’s changes.

You’re correct on all counts: it’s manual only, but sure would be nice to be automatic. —Jeffrey

— comment by Johan Opperman on August 12th, 2013 at 5:37pm JST (2 years, 4 months ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeffrey,
I mentioned this while I was on Susan Stripling’s creativeLive presentation (and back in August on my own for Sidecar Post). I’m sending the direct link out now to people that have emailed me to ask – I know it got a lot of attention and I think people missed the fact that it was bulk develop.
Jennifer Cody

— comment by Jennifer on March 11th, 2014 at 4:50am JST (1 year, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

thanks for this wonderful and extreamly usefull plug-in. I have on suggestion: It would be nice, if you can put updated images in a collection (“updated by bulk develop”). Why? My workflow (in short) is:
1. Import 2. Bulk Develop 3. Develop 4. Rerun Bluk Develop 5. Final check on images updated by bulk develop (this step is missing in the moment)

You can have the plugin add/remove keywords to photos it processes, and if you update to the latest version, the report dialog now offers the ability to throw the photos that were/weren’t processed into a collection. —Jeffrey

— comment by Thorsten on May 20th, 2014 at 5:30am JST (1 year, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jeffrey,
I recently foud out that your “Bulk Development Plug in” seems to perform in a different way if used in the Development or in the Library Module. In the Development Module it affects only the 13 or so pictures shown, even if you have selected “all pictures” of a day folder.
Only if I use “Bulk Development” in the Library Module and I “select all pictures”, really all of the pics of the day folder are developed by the module. Maybe I’m doing something wrong?
Best regards,

Robert, Vienna, Austria

I didn’t realize that you could use it from the Develop module. Anyway, the way actions are applied to images in the Develop module (for this plugin and for all of Lightroom) is different from Library, and is impacted by whether the filmstrip is showing, whether you have zero, one, or multiple images selected. It’s designed to “just work” the way one would normally expect… but sometimes it (or one’s expectations) run afoul of each other. Personally, I use the plugin only in Library, just after a new import. —Jeffrey

— comment by Robert on December 11th, 2014 at 5:18am JST (11 months, 22 days ago) comment permalink

I’m very Happy with the latest update, it’s just that the added options make it unusable on my 1366×768 laptop screen because the box wouldn’t fit into the height and the buttons are not reachable 😮 … probably all real photogs have big resolution screens, but for the rest of us this is unfortunate. Could you add the option to hide the new contrast/clarity options to make the dialog fit into the screen again?

I made it scroll if the screen is too short… I had to take a guess on sizes… give it a try. —Jeffrey

— comment by Marsu42 on January 19th, 2015 at 5:59am JST (10 months, 14 days ago) comment permalink

Thanks for the scrolling box, works fine now :-). Another request though after I tried to calibrate the values:

1. Please make the fields “per +1EV added” and esp. “per +10 shadow adjustment” customizable. Reason: For my low-noise full frame 6d, the default produces too high values. It’s nice to have the option to have the nr adjusted for +ev/+shadow, but I often raise shadows a lot which catapults nr through the roof esp. on low iso with the fixed (minimum) rate value of 1.

2. Rather than using a *fixed* +ev/+shadow rate added on top the iso-dependent nr, imho using a percentage might be an alternative like “+1%”. I know a tool like this cannot generate spot-on values, but the same fixed rate for iso 100 or 12800 is not elaborate enough atm.

I’m not sure what you mean with the first point… you can adjust the rates as you see fit, including zero. As for the second point, it’s in the upgrade I just pushed. Thanks for the good idea. —Jeffrey

— comment by Marsu42 on January 31st, 2015 at 12:27am JST (10 months, 2 days ago) comment permalink

thanks for the plugin and I find the new version a great addition.
But the Add per +10 shadow adjustment, seems not to work like I expected.
Have a picture with +70 on shadow, the increments are 2/1/1/0/0 but after applying the values the change is 26/34/49/0/0 on the values. I expect a change 14/7/7/0/0 could you please check or explain this?
I can send a screenshot if needed.

I’m not sure what “2/1/1/0/0” means, but I did fine a bug in the shadow computation, and have just pushed a fix. Thanks for the report. —Jeffrey

— comment by in_04 on January 31st, 2015 at 8:49pm JST (10 months, 1 day ago) comment permalink

Hi, nice job ! But I miss a feature which would be nice : allowing – for instance – to decrease Sharpening Mask while the ISO rise. As it, there is a red alert but the “OK” button remains inactive. Is there a reason for not allowing this ?

It never occurred to me that someone would want to decrease the sharpening-mask value as ISO rises. Lowering the mask value means increasing where sharpening is applied, so as the mask goes lower and the ISO goes higher, you end up sharpening the sensor noise. I suppose this can be an artistic choice for some really gritty scenes, but not something one would want to apply generally. —Jeffrey

— comment by Pierre on June 25th, 2015 at 12:51am JST (5 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

Hi, Jeffry,
I try to come to terms with “Bulk Develop”….
Do you have any suggestions for settings of “contrast” and clarity?
Whe I use your tool in the “library” and “select all”, not all of the selcted pictures are affected. Maybe only the 13 or so pictures that are actually shown on the screen. When I “isolate” the pictures, which were not developed, I can apply “Bulk Develop” a second time and they now are shown “developed”.
Maybe its intentionally?
Anyway, thanks for your work!
Robert, Vienna, Austria

The latter issue sounds like a bug… if you run into it again, please send the log along with a note to remind me of the issue. As for contrast and clarity, no, I don’t use them myself when I apply bulk develop; I added them at the request of someone who presumably has a use for them. —Jeffrey

— comment by Robert on August 26th, 2015 at 7:04pm JST (3 months, 7 days ago) comment permalink

Hi from Italy. I have donate some money for your noise plugin. It’s great.
I’m working with D4s and D810 in water polo indoor. Can you suggest how set up develop settings ?
Congratulations for you web site and sorry for my bad English

I’ve updated the docs with some thoughts on initial settings, but it’s really highly dependent on the camera and your personal taste.—Jeffrey

— comment by Bruno Rosa on October 30th, 2015 at 6:53pm JST (1 month, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Hey Jeffrey,

This looks like one of the best damn plug-ins ever, but I think I must be missing something. Even as a professional photographer, I don’t know the optimal settings to apply in order to get the best noise reductions for a range of ISOs, especially as each parameter/category relates to the one before (they just say 0 ~ 0). I’ve looked through your documentation for settings or a link to recommendations (I know they also change according to the camera being used), but can’t find anything. I also see an “Import Settings” button, but of course that’s what I’m looking for – the settings. I’m seriously looking forward to getting this up and running but I don’t want to just give it my best guess.

Any help? Sincere thanks!

Scott from Toronto

I’ve updated the docs with some thoughts on initial settings, but it’s really highly dependent on the camera and your personal taste.—Jeffrey

— comment by Scott on November 15th, 2015 at 3:18am JST (2 weeks, 3 days ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

I am a big fan of your plugins and I use a lot of them, all registered of course.
Formerly I used Rob Cole’s Iso detailer for importing my EOS camera files int LR because I can also alter the sharpness settings wit his plugins.
Lately Rob’s support and development on his plugin stopped working, any change you will add Sharpness settings to the Bulk Develop Settings plugin?

Greetings from the Netherlands,


I wish we knew what happened to Rob… he just disappeared. )-: About sharpness, the sharpening mask is there, which feels like the better solution, though I admit I’m no expert here. The real problem is the UI… space is lacking. I’ll have to give it some thought…. —Jeffrey

— comment by Harald on November 30th, 2015 at 7:47pm JST (1 day, 13 hours ago) comment permalink
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