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Lightroom Tip – Setting your Camera Calibration and changing your Default Settings

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  • Lightroom Tip – Setting your Camera Calibration and changing your Default Settings

    Lightroom’s Default Develop Settings:

    If you are anything like me, then you have spent all too long wondering a couple of things about lightroom (I use version 2.2) regarding importing RAW files and the default settings that Lightroom applies to them before you begin working on editing them.

    Firstly, I wondered how to CHANGE those default settings that Lightroom applies – for example, it always applies certain values to the Basic settings as follows:


    Note that the white balance is always defaulted to “As Shot” meaning it takes the setting from the RAW file each time.

    I have taken issue with this in the past because a lot of my shots were starting off with the shadows clipped due to the combination of settings that were automatically applied. I could not find anywhere in the menu options that this could be changed and have previously read on many forums that it is not possible to do so.

    Camera Calibration:

    Now the second thing that I have been wondering is about camera calibration. Since changing from my Sony A200 to a Canon 5D MkII I have noticed that a whole new bunch of options have appeared in the profile dropdown menu in the Develop module. This gives you the opportunity to start off your editing with a particular colour/camera profile that is designed to look somewhat like what your camera would produce if you were using a picture style, such as Landscape or Portrait. My Sony never had anything in this dropdown but there are a few to choose from with the Canon.

    Lightroom automatically knows which camera your RAW file was generated in and will give you the available options based on that. I believe you can download profiles from the Adobe web site, but for now I have stuck with the ones Lightroom already has.

    The menu looks a little like this:


    By selecting a camera profile for your image you are assigning it a new starting point from which you can perform any post production you wish. Note that this is not changing any of the Develop settings like Brightness, Contrast, Exposure etc. In fact I don’t really understand exactly what it is doing, but I do know that it produces a much more attractive image straight from the get-go.

    Now the problem is that if you want to apply a camera profile to your images as you import them, you may have to think about creating a preset that can be applied on import… Something which is not exactly seamless…

    So…

    How to change your default develop settings and apply a camera profile automatically

    Starting with a freshly imported RAW file, choose a camera calibration profile of your liking. I went with a standard one as I take a lot of different styles of photographs and do not want to be applying incompatible types, such as a portrait style to a landscape shot. Next, make any adjustments to the develop module settings which you want to become the new default settings to be applied to all newly imported RAW files (and the settings to which the “Reset” option will revert back to).

    Once you are happy with your settings, (here comes the lightbulb “aaaaahhhh” moment!!), press the ALT key (or Option on a mac) and the reset button will turn into a “Set Default” button.


    On clicking “Set Default” you will be presented with a popup like this:


    Next you should click “Update to Current Settings”, then confirm your selection – and Voila!! Every RAW file you import from now on will have these new defaults. Magic!

    The thing is, I have seen this last popup before but never really understood what it was doing. You can find it in the menus but just by opening it in the way I have described it’s context somehow just makes more sense.

    While you may or may not already be aware of this tip, I have spent ages not knowing how to change these defaults or how to get a good-looking RAW file on import, so after figuring this all out I thought I would share it in case you do find it useful. You know, just in case.
    If you haven't yet seen how easy it is to use Photoshop layer masks to blend multiple exposures, or how much your shots will improve after you have developed a solid end-to-end Photoshop workflow, then you'll want to watch my 3-part video series that shows you exactly that. Click here to watch it and see the difference in your very next photo

  • #2
    Great tip! I hadn't even gotten to that point in LR yet so I'd not noticed this before. I want to see if I can find a profile for my camera.

    Thanks!
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    • #3
      Excellent information. Thank you for taking the time to put this together. A follow up question... setting the new default only affects the camera calibration setting, yes? Basically you can fine tune one of the camera calibration presets. It does not set and hold basic develop setting such as exposure, wb, recovery, etc. Correct?

      Again thanks for posting.
      "They call me Bruce."
      www.brucebphotography.com

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      • #4
        Thanks for the tip.

        I do have a question though, and maybe I'm not understanding something here, but why would you want anything but "As Shot" for WB? I can't see any instance where I would want LR changing it automatically on import to something other than what I shot it as. I like doing that myself afterwords during development.

        (Note) I always shoot in "Auto" WB setting and make my adjustments after import.

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        • #5
          Check out your presets too. You can create custom develop presets, I apply my own ISO-based default settings on import. I also have one or two location-based presets for places I shoot regularly (Carrier Dome).
          JamieDePould.com + OneYearPhoto.com
          Nikon D300, D700, Sony NEX5n
          Zeiss 2/25; 1.4/50; 1.4/85

          Please read the rules before posting a critique thread. Rules here.

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          • #6
            Hey there, thanks for your feedback and questions.

            @Zona - as I understand it, all the develop settings are included when you choose the new default. so that includes the camera profile, exposure, wb and all the rest of it

            @bluenoser - I would not reccommend to anyone to change the default white balance away from "As Shot", but I think it can be done by anyone who has a reason to. I actually take the same approach as you, always shooting in Auto and then adjusting later in LR

            @jdepould - I agree, the presets are great and very flexible and can achieve everything I've mentioned in this tip - except for applying the settings as default without having to remember to apply a preset on import.
            If you haven't yet seen how easy it is to use Photoshop layer masks to blend multiple exposures, or how much your shots will improve after you have developed a solid end-to-end Photoshop workflow, then you'll want to watch my 3-part video series that shows you exactly that. Click here to watch it and see the difference in your very next photo

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            • #7
              You can apply a preset to any number of photos just by selecting them and clicking the preset from the quick develop dropdown in library mode.
              JamieDePould.com + OneYearPhoto.com
              Nikon D300, D700, Sony NEX5n
              Zeiss 2/25; 1.4/50; 1.4/85

              Please read the rules before posting a critique thread. Rules here.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jdepould View Post
                You can apply a preset to any number of photos just by selecting them and clicking the preset from the quick develop dropdown in library mode.
                Aye, but by changing your defaults to match your camera's serial number you dont even have to think about it, and i'm all for not thinking
                If you haven't yet seen how easy it is to use Photoshop layer masks to blend multiple exposures, or how much your shots will improve after you have developed a solid end-to-end Photoshop workflow, then you'll want to watch my 3-part video series that shows you exactly that. Click here to watch it and see the difference in your very next photo

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thanks!

                  Wow this is exactly what I was wanting to do. I was getting really frustrated with the idea that I would have to go in and change my camera profile setting everytime. The great thing with Adobe Photoshop products is that if you think you should be able to do something you probably can, it's just figuring out how to do it.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you, thank you, thank YOU! Great tip.
                    Canon 7D; EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM; EF-S18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
                    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/g-hopper/

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                    • #11
                      Wow.. I've been using Photoshop and LR for a long time, and this post actually made me feel a little stupid lol. That simple camera calibration change applied the exact changes that I go for in most photos when I load them for post production, but without having to use Curves or adjust the saturation or vibrance.

                      I suppose it's always nice to learn something that speeds up the PP process though! Thanks for this post. I'm sure it's helped a lot of people out.

                      David
                      David
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                      Camera: Canon 6D | Lens: Canon 24-105 F/4L , 70-200 F/4L, 50mm F/1.8, Samyang 14mm F/2.8 | Flashes : 430EX II, YN-560 II x 3 | Tripod: Manfrotto 055XProB / 498RC2 Ballhead
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