Light­room greatly ex­pands easy- to- use cam­era pro­files

Scuba Diving - - TRAIN - BY ERIN QUIGLEY

In my last col­umn, “What’s Wrong with This Im­age? Mas­ter­ing a De­velop Mod­ule Work­flow,” I em­pha­sized the im­por­tance of se­lect­ing a cam­era pro­file early in the edit­ing process. Light­room has long of­fered cam­era pro­files to em­u­late in-cam­era pic­ture styles, but un­til re­cently they were hid­den away in the Cam­era Cal­i­bra­tion panel at the bot­tom of the panel stack. Few peo­ple knew they ex­isted, or how to use them. Fi­nally, as of Light­room’s April 2018 re­lease, pro­files have gained rock-star sta­tus, mov­ing to the top of the Ba­sic panel as a greatly ex­panded set of raw and cre­ative pro­files, dis­played in a ma­trix of easy-to-use pre­view but­tons.


In the dig­i­tal-imag­ing uni­verse, the term pro­file has many mean­ings. Prin­ters, dis­plays, color and work­ing spa­ces all have pro­files. In Light­room, pro­files con­vert raw cam­era in­for­ma­tion into spe­cific “looks” that leave your slider val­ues un­touched but change the ap­pear­ance of your raw photo. With­out a pro­file, raw data can’t be dis­played as a vis­i­ble im­age.

Adobe builds pro­files for nearly ev­ery cam­era make and model its soft­ware sup­ports, in­cor­po­rat­ing deep imag­ing science that looks at how the cam­era’s oth­er­wise col­or­blind sen­sor in­ter­prets color and con­trast. Pro­files uti­lize in­for­ma­tion about the spe­cific sen­si­tiv­ity of each cam­era’s sen­sor in or­der to em­u­late its be­hav­ior in dif­fer­ent light­ing con­di­tions and at dif­fer­ent ISO val­ues, and then trans­late the dig­i­tal data into view­able images.

For non-raw pho­tos, such as JPEGS, TIFFS or PSDS, a pro­file isn’t needed to dis­play the im­age be­cause an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the data has al­ready been baked in by the cam­era, or by an ex­ter­nal soft­ware application like Pho­to­shop. For these pho­tos, pro­files can be used for cre­ative pur­poses, sim­i­lar to how an In­sta­gram fil­ter changes the look and im­pact of a pic­ture.


In Light­room Clas­sic, the Pro­file pop-up is found at the top of the De­velop Ba­sic panel.

To pe­ruse the full menu of pro­file pre­views, click the four-square icon in the up­per right of the Ba­sic panel to open the Pro­file Browser.

If the thumb­nails are too small to view clearly, roll the cur­sor on top of

any pro­file thumb­nail or name to dis­play the pro­file on the main im­age pre­view.

Once you’ve de­cided on a pro­file, click on its thumb­nail to ap­ply it, and click the Close but­ton at the top right of the panel to re­turn to the reg­u­lar De­velop pan­els. You can also dou­bleclick the pro­file thumb­nail to ap­ply it and close the browser at the same time.

If you find your­self us­ing the same pro­file again and again, click on the tiny star icon in the up­per right cor­ner of the icon to set it as a fa­vorite. Fa­vorites are grouped into the Fa­vorites folder in the Pro­files Browser, but more im­por­tant, are added to the main pro­file drop-down menu, which saves you from hav­ing to open the Pro­file Browser each time you want to switch pro­files.


There are two main cat­e­gories of pro­files: cam­era pro­files and cre­ative pro­files.

Adobe Raw and Cam­era Match­ing pro­files are avail­able for raw pho­tos only.

Adobe Raw Pro­files

The pre­vi­ous de­fault pro­file, Adobe Stan­dard, was ap­plied to all raw images at im­port in an ef­fort to make pho­tos from dif­fer­ent cam­eras look as sim­i­lar as pos­si­ble.

Six new Adobe raw pro­files have been added, in­clud­ing the cur­rent de­fault, Adobe Color, which adds more con­trast and sat­u­ra­tion, and more pop to warm col­ors.

Adobe Mono­chrome is de­signed to be a bet­ter start­ing point for black-and-white pho­tos, with im­proved tonal sep­a­ra­tion.

Adobe Por­trait is op­ti­mized for a wide gamut of skin tones, which isn’t nec­es­sar­ily im­por­tant for un­der­wa­ter shoot­ers, but it has less con­trast than Adobe Color, which might help to hold de­tail in the High­lights and Shad­ows.

Adobe Neu­tral re­duces con­trast and color boosts to cre­ate a very flat start­ing point but gives you more edit­ing head­room than other pro­files. It’s ideal for pho­tos with tricky blues and gra­di­ents.

Adobe Land­scape dis­re­gards warm tones and en­hances blues and greens.

Adobe Vivid is the nu­clear op­tion. It’s usu­ally su­per sat­u­rated, not a start­ing point for un­der­wa­ter images.

Cam­era Match­ing Pro­files

Cam­era pro­files are de­signed to em­u­late your cam­era JPEG. Choose one of these if you liked the im­age you saw on the back of the cam­era.

Legacy Pro­files

The Legacy Pro­files folder con­tains black-and-white ver­sions of old pro­files meant to main­tain com­pat­i­bil­ity with ed­its done in pre­vi­ous ver­sions of Light­room.


Cre­ative pro­files are de­signed to cre­ate spe­cial ef­fects or a cer­tain “look.” Some of them use 3D look-up ta­bles ( LUTS), which al­low them to cre­ate ad­just­ments that would not be pos­si­ble us­ing the slid­ers avail­able in the De­velop mod­ule.

Mod­ern pro­files rep­re­sent cur­rent pho­to­graphic trends.

Vintage pro­files are de­signed to look more like film.

Artis­tic pro­files are de­signed to be more edgy, with stronger color shifts.

B&W pro­files are op­ti­mized for highimpact black-and-white work, of­fer­ing a range of color-chan­nel mixes and tonal ad­just­ments.

The ef­fect of Cre­ative pro­files can be faded or ex­ag­ger­ated us­ing the Amount slider at the top of the Pro­file Browser panel or Ba­sic panel. An amount of 100 ap­plies the orig­i­nal in­tended ef­fect. Mov­ing the slider to the left re­duces the ef­fect of the pro­file, and mov­ing it to the right ex­ag­ger­ates the ef­fect.


If an im­age’s ex­po­sure and color are within an ac­cept­able range, then select a pro­file right off the bat. If the photo is very dark, very bright or has a no­tice­able color cast, then fi x those prob­lems first in or­der to clearly see the ef­fect of var­i­ous pro­files.

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