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Software Reviews How-to's

Speeding up your workflow – Lightroom and Camera Raw Defaults

Rick Walker (walkerr)


Keywords: adobe, lightroom, photoshop, camera, raw, post, processing, workflow, images, settings, defaults, exposure, sharpening, noise, reduction, color, profiles, lens, corrections

Do you repeatedly make the same adjustments to almost all the images you import into Adobe Lightroom or work with in Photoshop Camera Raw? Do you find yourself wishing that your images started-off in a better-looking state when you first looked at them in these products? Those are common situations or desires for photographers, and there are a couple of ways to accomplish that. One is creating a preset that you can use when importing into Lightroom or while you are in Bridge (the browser packaged with Photoshop that works with Camera Raw). What is sometimes better and simpler is to alter the defaults for specific model of camera. This article will discuss how to do that, and the good news is that it is remarkably easy to do.

Prior to creating new defaults for your camera(s), it is first worthwhile to consider what operations you either usually do or would like to do to your image. The default settings can encompass most anything you can do in those programs – exposure sliders, sharpening, noise reduction, color profiles, lens corrections – you name it. What you do not want to do is incorporate adjustments that are extremely image specific. Those are typically things such as all the exposure controls, black and white treatments, local adjustments and the like. My personal preference -and what I have done for many years now- is to include or enable the following adjustments. I am showing Lightroom panels, but the Camera Raw ones are very similar.

Lens Corrections Lightroom Panel.
Click for an enlargement.

 

Camera Calibration Lightroom Panel

 

Sharpening

 

image1

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33 comments

User on February 9, 2017

Rick, Excellent and easily understood. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Richard Luse (DaddySS) on July 30, 2016

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Thanks Rick, appreciate your taking the time to put this together.

Rick Walker (walkerr) on May 1, 2016

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Larry, you're actually using an alternative method (which is fine). What I mentioned in the article is selecting Develop from the top menu and then Set Default Settings. You do this while looking at an image in the Develop module. It's the same in LR CC as it was in prior versions.

Larry Beach (Larryb4) on April 30, 2016

Ah, I finally found it. For the newbies using Windows that cannot find it, press "Alt", then you will see "Set Default". Word of caution, and this is where I get into trouble, if you want to readjust your "Set Default", choose an image and carefully go through all LR settings and make sure you are not changing any settings that you don't want set for all new imports. Larry

Rick Walker (walkerr) on April 30, 2016

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Larry, it's still in exactly the same place as it was before and that I described in the article. The default settings function does exactly what you're using presets for, except you don't have to manually pick the defaults for a camera body.

Larry Beach (Larryb4) on April 29, 2016

Even though I've been using Lightroom for over a year now, I still consider myself a beginner. These are wonderful suggestions that will be very helpful. I'm not sure what I've done, but sometimes I look at the settings of an image I've just imported and found that change have been made during the import that I didn't remember making or setting as defaults. Somehow I've either made a new set of defaults, or made a change to the import settings. I've had to reset my default settings several times. Speaking of Default Settings, I cannot find it in the Develop Module. I remember seeing it before in LR5. I'm now on LR CC. Did they hide it or remove it? Create New Preset has also been useful in this regard. If you have several cameras and you want a different set of settings applied depending on the camera used, you can create a new preset from the Develop module. Then as you import, you choose "Develop Settings" and choose which preset you want applied during the import.

Cheryl Tadin (ctadin) on February 27, 2016

Thanks for a great article, very informative and easy to understand.

David P Heaton (Lazy Daze) on November 29, 2015

Rick, Thanks for your continued support.

Rick Walker (walkerr) on November 27, 2015

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

David, I would ignore the Restore button. What it does is take you back to the "out of the box" default settings (Adobe Standard, softer sharpening, no lens correction, etc.). I may be misunderstanding what you are saying, but if you try changing the noise reduction settings and everything else in an image to what you want for your default and then set a new default for that camera, everything should be fine. If this is not what you are asking, just send me a PM or e-mail via the Nikonians site.

David Robert Jackson (Wingnuts) on November 27, 2015

Rick, may I pick your brains please? I have recently upgraded to LR6 from LR5.7 where I had (or so I thought) set develop defaults as per yours. Looking at my LR6 defaults I find that for some odd reason the Noise Reduction panel is set to 69/36/0 and I cannot change the Develop Detail to make these settings default to zero. ie pressing 'Restore' in the Develop Settings menu is apparently non reversible. Do you know anyway around that please?

Rick Walker (walkerr) on November 14, 2015

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

(Edited by walkerr Tuesday, 17 November 2015 ) (Edited by walkerr Saturday, 14 November 2015 ) David, this feature has been the same for years. It's the same between LR5 and LR6. Any defaults you create within LR5 will carry over to LR6, but check to make sure the lens correction settings "stick" when you move to LR6. There's a bug there where some camera bodies "lose" that aspect of their defaults. All you do to fix it is to repeat the procedure outlined in this article. Note: the bug is now fixed in the LR release today. As far as overall learning curve, it's minuscule between LR5 and LR6 (or LRCC).

David Robert Jackson (Wingnuts) on November 14, 2015

Rick, I am about to upgrade from V5 to LR6, are these and other general settings similar in the later version, does it mean a big learning curve because I am not that expert with V5 as yet? Thanks Dave Jackson

Paula Smith (paulamsmith) on November 11, 2015

Thank you Rick for your answer. I haven't tried importing new photos. I was just opening existing photos and the new parameters were not there. I was expecting that they would all be magically converted to the new parameters!!! But not the case. I am going to try the reset button and see if that does the trick. I still have a lot to learn. Thank you for a great article. I enjoy your posts and respect your opinion. Paula

Rick Walker (walkerr) on November 11, 2015

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Paula, I'm also running on El Capitan, but on the latest version of CC (a 6.2 equivalent, more or less). The function works on my systems. It's normal for that screen to go away after you set a new default. What happens when you import new raw files? Are the revised parameters reflected in the values in the Develop module or are they still the previous defaults?

Gary Worrall (glxman) on November 11, 2015

Awarded for his high level skills, specially in Wildlife & Landscape Photography

Excellent article Rick ........Gary

Paula Smith (paulamsmith) on November 11, 2015

Hi Rick I enjoyed your article but was unable to change the defaults.I followed your instructions but when I clicked update to current settings the screen went away and nothing happened!! I am running version 6.1.1 of Llightroom on an iMac running El Capitan Any thoughts? Paula

Dr. Muniini K. Mulera (Ruyooka) on November 5, 2015

Thank you Rick. Very helpful.

John Giglio (jkg0806) on November 5, 2015

 Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Fellow Ribbon awarded for his frequent posting with an always positive comment, sharing his knowledge, contributing to the spirit of the community.

Thanks Rick for sharing this information well written, detailed, easy to understand information.

Andrew Hirst (andyrhirst) on November 3, 2015

Thanks Rick, great info

Lemma Wendim-Agegnehu (lemmawa) on November 3, 2015

Thanks Rick. This is very useful to me; now I fill bold enough to try what I want! Lemma

Rick Walker (walkerr) on November 3, 2015

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

(Edited by walkerr Tuesday, 03 November 2015 ) Jan, try an amount of 50, a radius of 0.8, a detail setting of 35, and a masking value of 10 if you mostly shoot landscapes, architecture, wildlife and travel. If you primarily shoot portraits or slightly higher ISO sports, try 40, 1.2, 25, 50. Those are guesses since I've never owned a D7000, but they should get you in the ballpark. Feel free to deviate from them.

Jan Siman (jansiman) on November 2, 2015

Rick, can you suggest default settings (sharpening) for Nikon D7000 please? Thank you.

Tom Schellin (guitarbts) on November 2, 2015

Thanks Rick! Very helpful.

Rick Walker (walkerr) on October 31, 2015

Awarded for his con tributed articles published at the Resources Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in multiple areas Master Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art and science of photography   Donor Ribbon awarded for his most generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015

Robert, thanks. Don't worry about the rating - not a big deal.

Robert Leonardi (RobLeo) on October 30, 2015

Hmmm I accidentally gave this way to low a grade (should have been a 5). I pressed the wrong star :-( Is there a way of re-grading articles?

Robert Leonardi (RobLeo) on October 30, 2015

Thanx. Just what I've been looking for.

David Robert Jackson (Wingnuts) on October 28, 2015

Thanks Rick exactly what I wanted.

Jack Dreyer (Otsego Photog) on October 28, 2015

Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014

Thanks Rick for this timely article on using LR efficiently. I have made a commitment to myself that this year I would be using LR for all my editing by the end of this year. Currently I still use PSCC first and then move everything into LR and do most of my printing from LR. This article helps me become more efficient and push me to my goal by the end of the year. Thanks, Jack

Larry S (larsch01) on October 27, 2015

Thanks Rick. I'd been staring at default/standard settings but not quite sure how to go about it. Great article.

User on October 27, 2015

Thanks Rick. A very useful guide to fast editing. Nice work :-) Richard

Rick Spehn (PSAGuy) on October 27, 2015

Nice info Rick.... Since I edit 1500+ images in LR each weekend during my busy season (and that busy season is closing in FAST !) , this is a timely piece. Thanks!!

Peter Milton (miltonpics) on October 27, 2015

Thanks for the great article Rick. I've wanted to have a few standard settings for a while but had never bothered looking up how to do it. Now I know.

Iain Duncan (IainD) on October 27, 2015

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What a great idea. I shoot dog club events and end up with lots of images, and this would really speed thing up! Thank you, Rick

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