Camera and len profiles in Lightroom
I use Adobe Lightroom for the majority of my post processing, but there are a couple of settings that I want to focus on in particular in this article, that being the lens and camera profiles as, with just a couple of clicks they can make all your images significantly better from the word go. Its worth pointing out at this stage that the majority of this post and the instructions only applies to RAW images.
Before we look at camera profiles in Lightroom, it's worth briefly discussing the colour settings that can be applied on your camera and the impact that they have on the final images. On most DSLRs there is the ability in the settings to have a specific colour profile. These will normally be called something like Standard, Portrait, Landscape or Vivid. It depends on your particular make and model of camera, but the whole point is that the colours and the saturation of the image can be quite significantly changed by these settings. You can see these changes when you look at the preview screen on the back of the camera to test this out.
Interestingly though, when you take photographs in a RAW format, this setting, along with a lot of other settings that you may have chosen in camera, is completely ignored! Yep, no matter what you select in camera, the final RAW image that you download onto your computer will be the same in RAW format. This when you think about it is quite sensible, the whole point of RAW is getting the photo off camera with as little processing as possible, hence the term a raw format.
All good but what this does mean is that when you view the image in something like lightroom, those great colours you had in camera really aren't there any more (as this was the camera showing you a post-processed version of the raw image). However, this is something that can be easily corrected, but needs a quick change in Lightroom.
After importing you RAW images, view the photograph in the Develop module, and down the bottom of the adjustments toolbar you'll see a section on Camera Profiles. By default the option selected will be "Adobe Standard". This is Adobe's version of those in-camera settings, suitable for all RAW images and is designed by Adobe as a basic profile to be used.
What you'll also notice is that, as long as Lightroom knows about your camera, and they (Adobe) have created the camera profiles, then you can actually change this value to something else, and normally, the selection available is very similar to those that you would have seen on the camera in question, and (roughly) display the image with the same impact as it would have shown in camera.
You may wonder which cameras are supported, well basically all major makes and models but if you're not sure then check out the Adobe website. Personally, I would recommend to always change from the default Adobe Standard, if you have the option, to something that represents your own camera. I use the standard profile that is camera specific, for example with a Nikon camera is it often just called "Camera Standard".
As an aside, If you see that the profile is listed as Embedded, then this basically means that the profile that the picture should use has already been determined and hence you don't have the ability to change it. If you look at jpg, for example, instead of a raw image you'll see this term under the camera profile section.
With less impact than the camera profile on the face of it, but equally as important is the "lens profile" Again, this is accessed from the Develop Module and, once again as long as Lightroom knows about the lens you have used then by checking the lens profile tick-box the image is changed to compensate for lens distortion and vignetting. This will be more or less obvious as you look at the image depending on the lens and the focal length used.
Personally, I have a Lightroom preset created that sets the lens profile (check box on) and sets the camera profile to "Camera Standard". This I then can apply to every photo directly after import, in bulk, by selecting all the images and then right clicking and choosing my particular preset.
We've talked about both lens and camera profiles in this article, and how they can very quickly be applied to change the photograph into a closer representation to that you would have seen on the camera screen. If you found this helpful it would be appreciated to show your support by "Liking" my Facebook page TonyHalfordPhotography do so easily by clicking on the Like button, top right.
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