Lightroom Video – Camera Calibration Profiles

Even though they’re at the very bottom of the Develop module panel, one of the first settings I change on my photos is the Camera Calibration Profile. The problem is that it’s one of those really tedious things to do for each photo you edit. Especially when you know that you want to apply the same profile for a bunch of photos. Well, in this video I’ll show you a couple of ways to apply a profile if you’ve already imported your photos, and a way to do it if you know ahead of time (before you import your photos) which profile you’d like to use. Enjoy!

Author: Matt Kloskowski

Matt is the full-time Director of Education for Kelby Media Group and a Tampa-based photographer. He's the Editor-in-Chief of Lightroom Magazine, the lead instructor on the Adobe Photoshop Lightroom LIVE Seminar Tour and author of several best-selling Photoshop books. Matt also hosts the world's top Lightroom blog, LightroomKillerTips.com, where he's built up a massive library of Lightroom videos, presets and tips. In addition to teaching Photoshop, Lightroom and photography seminars around the world, he's an instructor at Photoshop World and one of the full-time staff writers for Photoshop User Magazine.

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34 Comments

  1. great tip–I always forget to do the profile first as a starting place–thanks for sharing

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  2. Thanks for the video. I also always start with the camera profile. Is there a keyboard shortcut to cycle through them to make it easier to pick? For some things, like portraits, I know that “Camera Portrait” is best. For some of the fall foliage landscapes I’ve been doing this season, I’m finding it’s a crap shoot as to which profile I like best as a starting place.

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  3. Is there a keyboard shortcut for cycling through the camera calibration profiles? For some kinds of shoots, I find that it’s a total crap shoot as to which is going to be the best starting point and mousing through them all is a real pain. Thanks!

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    • Not quite a keyboard shortcut, but you can make a preset for each selection, and then you can quickly preview them by sliding your mouse over the list of presets.

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  4. Great tip Matt.

    I myself, have a preset that changes the Calibration to Camera DX Mode 3 & bumps up the vibrance a bit. Usually gets me too a decent starting point and then I can adjust from there if need be

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  5. Combine this tip with the xRite Colorchecker Passport and create camera specific profiles that will take it up “one more notch” :)

    The provided profiles are good, but creating custom ones with the Colorchecker Passport and provided software makes the starting point excellent!

    And – if you’re really paranoid – shoot the colorchecker before a shoot and create a custom profile for that shoot! And no, this is more than merely setting white balance…

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  6. Great tip! Can you do a similar piece on Lens Corrections? I’d like to be able to import all photos taken with a given camera and lens combination with this item activated.

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    • Just saw your post, I asked the same question a few comments lower….hope there is a way!

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    • Phil, take any raw file in your catalog, apply the calibration profile to it that you want (e.g. ‘Camera Vivid’) and in the Lens Corrections, check the ‘Enable Profile Corrections’ checkbox.
      Then, in the presets panel, hit the + sign and make a new preset that has everything unchecked except for Camera Calibration and Lens Profile Corrections (under the Lens Corrections header). Name it aptly, e.g. ‘Vivid + Auto Lens Corr.’ and voil, a preset you can apply upon import.
      Alternatively, you could make these settings into the new defaults but in that case it would be wise to take a raw file that hasn’t been processed yet: you apply your Vivid Profile and check the ‘Profile Corrections’ Checkbox and press on the ‘Reset’ button in the lower right hand while holding down Alt/Option. The button will change to ‘Set Default’ and will turn these settings into the new Defaults for any files, taken with this specific camera, that you would import.

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  7. Is there a way to get this in written tutorial/with photos since there are no subtitles to the tutorial video?

    Would really help the deaf photographers if you had this available as well.

    Thanks!

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  8. Unfortunately only Canon and Nikon cameras are supported. I shoot with Sony and all I can select is Adobe standard. Guess I’ll have to wait for Adobe to release these for Sony as well.

    Also, the new Adobe Standard profiles have been in beta since october 2008? As I recall they haven’t been updated since.

    @Phil: If you’re camera’s exif contains the lens name all you have to do is check the Enable Profile Corrections and set it to “auto”. Then select Lens Profile Correction in the Lens Corrections menu found in the” New develop preset” window.

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    • @Jorn: Check out the xRite Colorchecker passport I mentioned in my comment; it will allow you to create profiles for any camera…

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  9. i shoot pentax, which seems to be somewhat supported.
    my dad shoots nikon, and i think camera vivid is a nikon calibration? is that so?

    and if I shoot DNG in pentax, the embedded info seems to match camera pentax option, so am i okay/ good?

    more pentax love on lightroom, please =)

    thank you for the vid!

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  10. Nice video, I have a somewhat related question regarding presets. Can I create a specific lens correction profile as a preset and apply during import? Specifically for a sigma 10-20mm lens. Thanks for sharing all your knowledge about lightroom!

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  11. Matt,
    Great tip and screen shots in the video are very helpful! I always forget about that since it is at the bottom of Lightroom Develop Module. Showing how to set that up as a preset will help with that. Appreciate all you do to share your knowledge to help us in the field.

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  12. thanks for the tip , I will use it now lol and the book I will order .

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  13. Fabulous tip! Just one question, I can’t see the camera vivid option in my drop-down – am I being daft? Thanks!

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    • Tasha, it’s probably because either you’re working on a non-raw file or on a non-Nikon file: the profiles are for raw files only and they have different names (and interpretations) for either Nikon or Canon…

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  14. Hey Matt – thanks again for another time saving tip – I had been applying these 1 photo at a time… I never knew what the “Sync” was for…

    Do you have any tips for transferring Lr from an iMac to a Macbook Pro for a few weeks of on-the-road shooting? I need all my presets + plug-ins + existing photos, but then the plan is to go back to the iMac after the trip. Should I change the location of where all the Lr files sit on the iMac to one master Lr folder so it is easier to move for example?

    Thanks!

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  15. Matt,

    I have struggled with this for a while, maybe you know how to do it. When you right click a thumbnail, select Develop Settings and are presented with a list of presets, the list can be quite lengthy. How on earth can I scroll through the list. It seems the one I want to apply is always on the bottom of the list. The scroll wheel on my mouse does nothing to navigate down to the bottom, at least in Windows. The down arrow scrolls slowly and the page down button has no effect. The only other way to get to the bottom is to press the small down arrow on the bottom which is painfully slow. Do you know how to scroll to the bottom quickly?

    Thank you,
    Scott

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  16. An alternative to creating a preset for all imported photos is to set a new default. Open a new image, once that has not had any changes made. Or any image but hit the reset button at the bottom of the develop module. Change the calibration method to your preferred variation (I really like D2X Mode I or Mode III for Nikon). Then hold down the ALT key and hover your mouse over the reset button. It will change to Set Default. Click that and you will now have a new default, independent of any presets, for all imports. If you don’t choose an import preset the default cal will be applied. If you choose a different import preset it will then be used.

    BTW, this applies to any setting within the develop module and is a great customization feature of Lightroom. You can even assign different defaults to different cameras and ISO’s!

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  17. Nice video Matt :)
    I must admit I tend to forget about using the Calibration Panel quite often but when I do, boy does it make a difference. Also like you said, the results you get are quite difficult to replicate without using the Calibration Panel.

    Cheers,
    Glyn

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  18. Ohhhh new intro video… nicely done.

    Thanks for the tips. I use the calibration all the time but never thought about applying it to a preset to get them as I import them.

    Thanks!

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  19. Question: i really appreciate your site … i have learned a lot, but i have a problem i haven’t been able solve. when i download my pics from my sd card to my pc they show up in the lightroom import window in random order (all mixed up) – not even close to the order shown on the camera (in the order taken). is there a setting in lightroom that i need to adjust???
    thank you so much for your time and, again, for your site!
    befuddled,
    – jock -

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  20. Thank you. Excellent. Will use this. Looking up your book. Have Lr3 (am new to Lightroom, finding my way). Am experimenting to achieve close as possible – as I recall shooting forty-odd years ago with SLR camera – B&W results from Nikon D90 and D700 in camera and with Lightroom. Can you please suggest optimal way(s) of shooting for and importing to Lr3 for authentic B&W look(s). I shoot scapes and portraits, mostly outdoors, in and around Brisbane, Australia. Sunlight here, especially in summer, is ousually very strong and can be quite harsh. Great if you want high contrast B&W, but not if you’re after, say, warm desaturated look. Happily, we also get lots of soft filtering from overcast skies, so lots of options. Would appreciate your advice :-)

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  21. Is there a way to selective select a profile when importing the photos ?

    Let’s say I create a custom profile with the Colorchecker for my camera with a Canon lens. Some people say, for example, that some Sigma lens have a yellowish color tint.
    So I also have a custom profile for this camera+lens combination.

    Is there a way to automate this (reading the exif info) ?
    Please bear in mind that a lot of other corrections could be applied …. Maybe in LR 4 ?
    It would speed up a lot of workflows.

    Thank you.

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  22. >Is there a way to selective select a profile when importing the photos ?

    Just make a Preset that selects just the profile in Calibration (no other check boxes), it is available in the Import dialog.

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  23. Nice tip.
    Btw, it’s “relative change” (Quick Develop) vs. “absolute change” (Develop) not “proportional change”.

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  24. That is indeed a Killer Tip!

    Thanks Matt

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  25. Matt – How about adding your voice to the request made time and time again in the Lr forums for Camera Calibration to be moved/available to the Library screen. It is arguably fundamental to the initial selection process, yet a total pain to access every time one has to decide on whether to keep or discard a marginal file.

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  26. Thanks Matt.

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  27. Just saw your Killer Tips post on Camera Calibration Profiles and I wanted to share with you that when I use any profile other than Adobe Standard there appears to be more noise (luminance and color) added to each photo. You can clearly see it when zoomed in at 1:1. Why is that? I’m using a Canon 5D MkII and editing… most of the time in the field with my Mac Laptop set to 1440×900 pixels. I noticed in the same video demo that Nikon seems to have more picture profile options than Canon. hmmm.

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  28. Just saw your Killer Tips post on Camera Calibration Profiles and I wanted to share with you that when I use any profile other than Adobe Standard there appears to be more noise (luminance and color) added to each photo. You can clearly see it when zoomed in at 1:1. Why is that? I’m using a Canon 5D MkII and editing most of the time in the field with my MacBookPro with display set to 1440×900 pixels. I noticed in the same video demo that Nikon seems to have more picture profile options. hmmm.

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  29. hey matt,

    i have a similar problem like scott. i used to have lightroom 1.1. there the down arrow would not only help in scrolling up or down but would also show me the changes in the thumbnail automatically, but lightroom 3 does not allow me to work the same way. is there anything i can do about it?

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