How to Get Accurate Nikon Colors in Lightroom

Our readers often ask us if it is possible to get Lightroom to provide the same colors as one would see from the back of the LCD on Nikon, Canon and other DSLRs when shooting in RAW format. Unfortunately, as you might have noticed when importing files, Lightroom changes the colors immediately after import, when the embedded JPEG files are re-rendered using Adobe’s standard color profiles. As a result, images might appear dull, lack contrast and have completely different colors. I have heard plenty of complaints on this issue for a while now, so I decided to post series of articles for each major manufacturer on how to obtain more accurate colors in Lightroom that resemble the image preview seen on the camera LCD when an image is captured. In this article, I will talk about getting accurate colors from a Nikon DSLR in Lightroom.

Camera JPEG vs Adobe RAW

Due to the fact that Adobe’s RAW converter is unable to read proprietary RAW header data, which often contains chosen camera profiles, some settings have to be either applied manually or applied upon import. My personal preference is to apply a preset while importing images, which saves me time later. Before we get into Lightroom, let me first go over camera settings and explain a few important things.

1) RAW File Nuances and Metadata

When shooting in RAW format, most camera settings like White Balance, Sharpness, Saturation, Lens Corrections and Color Profiles do not matter. Unless you use Nikon-provided software like Capture NX or View NX, all of those custom settings are mostly discarded by third party applications, including Lightroom and Photoshop. That’s because it is hard to process each piece of proprietary data, which is subject to change from one camera model to another. Now imagine trying to do this for a number of different camera manufacturers!

Let’s go over data that is actually read by Lightroom / Photoshop Camera RAW:

  1. White Balance, as set by the camera. Instead of your chosen value such as Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, etc, only the actual color temperature and tint are read from the RAW file.
  2. Common image metadata such as Capture Date/Time, Exposure, Focal Length, Flash, Camera Make and Model, Lens information and GPS coordinates.
  3. Copyright information (“Artist” in Setup Menu)

That’s basically it. Now here is the information that is completely discarded:

  1. Picture Controls
  2. Color Space (only relevant for JPEG images and JPEG images embedded into RAW files)
  3. Active D-Lighting
  4. Vignette Control
  5. Auto Distortion Control
  6. High ISO NR
  7. All Settings from “Custom Setting Menu”
  8. Focus Point Location in the frame
  9. All other settings in Setup and other menus

All of the above settings do not affect RAW files in any way. Whatever you choose in your camera simply gets written as header information to Nikon’s NEF files. Please note that “Long Exposure NR” is the only setting that affects RAW files. However, Adobe will still not know if Long Exposure NR was turned on or off in your camera.

2) Camera Settings

Because the above settings do not affect your RAW files, they are essentially of no use, so I would recommend to keep them turned off by default. You might be wondering why the image on the back of the LCD changes when you pick different Picture Controls or other settings while shooting in RAW. That’s because RAW files actually contain full size JPEG previews, which is what your camera shows on the back of the LCD. Hence, any change you make in your camera will simply be reflected in the embedded JPEG file only. When RAW files are imported into Lightroom / Camera RAW, the embedded JPEG file is discarded and a new one is generated, based on Adobe’s default settings, or a chosen import preset. That’s why when I talk about getting more accurate Nikon colors in Lightroom, we are simply trying to match Nikon’s default rendering of colors in JPEG images to those rendered by Lightroom or Camera RAW. Remember, a RAW file is just like unprocessed film – you can interpret and process colors any way you like.

However, changing camera settings can indirectly affect your RAW files. For example, if you have Active D-Lighting turned on (which simply applies a tone curve to the embedded JPEG image), you might think that you have enough shadow details in your image and you might end up underexposing the image. High ISO Noise Reduction might make it seem like you do not have much noise in your images, so you might not notice that your ISO value is unnecessarily high. That’s why it is best to turn all custom settings off completely.

Nikon has a set of Picture Controls available in its cameras. By default, a camera profile called “Standard” gets applied to images. That’s the Picture Control I typically use on all of my cameras. Whichever Picture Control you pick, I would suggest to stick to it if you want to see consistent colors in your images. And do not worry about modifying custom adjustments within picture controls, since those might also indirectly affect your RAW images as well (for example, setting high values for Contrast, Brightness and Saturation).

3) Lightroom and Camera RAW: Camera Calibration

Since photographers want to see colors as rendered by their cameras, Adobe ended up creating different camera profiles based on the colors they saw from the rendered JPEG images. The process of creating such camera profiles is fairly complex and it involves shooting different color charts in JPEG format, then trying to match those colors while rendering RAW files. Adobe did a nice job with Nikon’s color profiles and re-created all of them (excluding the “Monochrome” profile, since it is not in color). Here is the full list of created profiles:

  1. Camera Landscape
  2. Camera Neutral
  3. Camera Portrait
  4. Camera Standard
  5. Camera Vivid

You can find these profiles under the “Camera Calibration” sub-module in Lightroom, or the “Camera Calibration” tab in Camera RAW, as seen below:

Lightroom vs Camera RAW Camera Calibration

Basically, these match the Picture Controls in your camera one to one. If you set your camera Picture Control to “Standard”, picking “Camera Standard” from the Camera Calibration sub-module of Lightroom / Camera RAW will imitate those exact colors (assuming that additional tweaking of Contrast / Brightness / Saturation / Hue was not performed in the camera).

That’s why it is a good idea to stick to one Picture Control in your camera, because you can set that same Camera Calibration profile to all images every time you import them.

Adobe also provides the ability to tweak individual colors for hue and saturation after applying a profile, but if you choose to do that, it will certainly deviate from Nikon’s original colors.

4) Applying a Camera Profile During Import

If you want to always have Nikon’s native colors in your images and not the default “Adobe Standard” camera profile, you might want to set up an import preset that gets applied to your images when they are imported into Lightroom. This is a very simple and straightforward process, so let me show you the best way to do it.

  1. First, open any Nikon RAW / NEF file in Lightroom’s Develop Module.
  2. Keep White Balance under the “Basic” sub-module “As Shot”, if you want Lightroom to read what your camera set WB and Tint to.
  3. Scroll down to the Camera Calibration sub-module.
  4. Pick the same color profile as what you have set in your camera (for example, Camera Standard).
  5. On the left panel, scroll down to the “Presets” sub-module and press the “+” sign next to it, which is used for creating a new preset.
  6. A new window will pop-up. Give the preset a name, for example “Import Preset”. The default folder “User Presets” is fine, but you can create a different folder if you want to.
  7. Only select “White Balance”, “Process Version” and “Calibration”, then click “Create”, as shown below:
    Import Preset

Once you do this, a new preset will appear in the Preset menu, under the specified folder. Now all you need to do is specify this preset when importing images. Bring up the Import Window, then look at the right side of the window and expand “Apply During Import”. Click the “Develop Settings” drop-down and pick the newly created import preset, as shown below:

Lightroom Apply During Import

Once you import the photos, every one of them will be automatically changed to the previously selected camera profile, which will match whatever you picked in your camera.


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Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Peter

    I assume this works for all cameras supported by Lightroom ie leica

    • Peter, unfortunately no. I am creating separate articles for each brand as a result :(

  2. 2
    ) Richard D

    Thanks for the interesting article, Nasim. I’ve long been interested in these things. I’m still not clear about a few few things, notably how the camera calibration is used, but I’ll read this article again. I also am wondering if the information you list that is “discarded” by LR actually is “discarded” or just not used. In particular, item 8….focus point location. I know that Aperture actually will show you where the focus point is. I know that while LR does not, if I am not mistaken, I think I have seen a plug-in which might allow you to use LR to see where the focus point is. But, I’ll have to look into that further. Just thought I’d mention it.

    I do want to have one question for you. I currently shoot with a Nikon D600. I usually shoot in RAW. While I never shoot in monochrome/black and white, I am curious about if you do shoot in Monochrome/BW, and in RAW, does the RAW file retain all of the color information, even if shot in Monochrome/BW? From what I have seen, just playing around with the D600, it does retain it because after importing the file into LR, I can change the image back to a color image.

    The reason I am asking is, is this true for most if not all camera models, Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.? That is, if you shoot RAW and in Monochrome or BW, is all of the color information still there? Someone asked me this about his camera. I think the answer is “yes.” I am pretty sure, though, that all cameras discard all color information if the image is taken in JPEG.

    Thanks.

    • Richard, as far as I know, none of that information is actually recorded in Lightroom’s database…so it is simply ignored. It is nice that Aperture will read the focus point information, because Lightroom does not. People have been asking for that feature for years and Adobe still has not implemented it. There were some plugins here and there that attempted to read the data and provide it, but they were never finished.

      D600 is a phenomenal camera, congrats! When shooting in RAW, it does not matter what Picture Control you use. Even using Monochrome will still record all colors – only the JPEG file embedded into the RAW file is changed to Monochrome. Only when shooting in JPEG, whatever you pick is permanent!

      The above info is pretty similar between Nikon / Canon / Sony, but since the lingvo is different, I am making different articles for each brand. Some brands like Fuji have no support yet :(

  3. 4
    ) Christian

    Morning,

    Excellent guideline for camera settings when using LR. This should have been your first article in your LR series ;-). I use some special presets for underwater photography to retain/push colours at different water depth based on profiles found in the internet. Do you think it would make sense to provide a library on your website? Everybody changes the images to their own liking but I find it very helpfull to have a good starting point.

    Best wishes

    Chris

    • Christian, thank you for your feedback!

      Can you clarify what profiles you are referring to? Are you just moving the sliders, or actually downloading profiles and adding them to your computer?

      • 42
        ) Christian

        Hi Nasim,

        I was referring to these downloadable files:
        - Presets
        - Camera specific colour profiles (under Camera Calibration)
        - Lens profiles (Adobe Lens profile downloader – for those lenses not in the LR Library by default)

        I was very glad to find the latter two for my Sony RX100M2 as there was no lens correction available and colour profiles have been slightly off. This might be a good opportunity for you while testing your old Nikkor lenses although limited since they have no chip for automatic recognition and distance control.

        Best wishes

        Chris

  4. Unfortunately, neither Canon or Nikon have colors that can be called “Accurate” in my experience. This is very evident when it comes to fabrics and skintones. Default Nikon rendering is yellow/green-ish, default Canon rendering is red/ magenta-ish.

    Now some people like this look, but if you’re like me and wish to have really accurate colors, use a color passport/ checker. I prefer to use the Spyder Chekr, which comes with a neat little utility of its own. Take a picture of the checker under your intended light source (Daylight, flash etc), change color profile to “Camera Neutral” as per Nasim’s steps above and then crop it down in Lightroom, choose edit in-> spyder Checkr utility and follow the steps in the tool.

    The tool then generates an HSL preset that is saved into your Lightroom presets folder. Now choose any image you shot with that camera under that light source, set the white balance, set the color profile as “Camera neutral” and then apply this HSL preset.

    Voila! Accurate colors.

    Usually, I use this to get consistent and accurate colors from my two bodies, the D800 and the D7100 used in the same shoot. By default, they have very different color responses even with the same color profile. This is very evident when you’re shooting the same model with a wide on one camera and a tele on another. But with this method, I get the same colors from both.

    This even ensures consistent colors from Canon and Nikon cameras used at the same shoot. As mentioned above, default output from both brands look vastly different.

    If needed for artistic purposes, I then do the grading on top of this color corrected image.

    Here’s a series that was shot, color corrected using this method with no grading afterwards to ensure the fabric colors were accurate, as it was for a clothing label:

    http://www.sandeepmurali.com/p722630146/h61314b2a#h61314b2a

    Here’s a series that was color corrected, then graded to taste because it was a personal project:

    http://www.sandeepmurali.com/p234558723/h726e47e7#h726e47e7

    Hope this helps!

    • 22
      ) Sebastiano

      Sure! As Sandeep said, the passport chechker is the only way to get “accurate” colors, if we think at “accurate” like “Nikon’s way”.

      In my experience, and since now, I’ve had 2 Nikon DSLR: D70s and D300, the latter since this summer.
      What I can say is LR (ACR in general, as both Photoshop and LR have the same “color engine”) rendered very bad my D70s’ NEFs every time I shooted to something having a lot of Red/Magenta in the picture (like skin tones, that have a lot of red, or some flowers).
      Colors viewed via ViewNX2 was as the flower was, rendered via ACR were not.
      Skins were a problem too, expecially when yu had introduced a warm yellow/orange casting light in the scene (like at sunset). They were rendered in “a different skin tone”.

      Those two example simply mean that if you are giving an artistic interpretation to your shots it’s only up to you to decide “the nuance”. But if your model is dressing a pink or red nail polish, and your target is to prepare a brochure you have to exactly reproduce the colors that her nail polish liked “under your choosen source of light”.
      Our mind, throught our eyes, adapt to the light, but a camera do not.

      And it’s not only a matter of White Balance, but the way the digital info written in the “raw file” as a “raw sequence of 1 and 0″ (setting a specific color per each pixel) are rendered.

      I could see D70s had hard problems, but D300 has not. So, even if the info added to NEF headed are not as “basic” as WB they can severely “cast” the rendered NEF.

      Then it’s up to our choice if using ACR (LR or PS) or View NX.

      I made some tests with my D300 + 50mm f/1.8 AF-S; I could see that always ACR renders the NEF about +0.5 EV “overexposed”.
      Anyway, “ACR engine” is more powerful, and let you manage the highlights, midtones and also shadows better than View NX2.
      There are differences between the 16bit TIFF exported from VNX2 and the TIFF16 bit exported via LR, but those differences are minimal.

      For this reason I always open the NEF vith both tools (Nikon SW and Adobe SW) and then decide which one is giving me the best starting point.
      But I do this only because I haven’t a “passport checker” and haven’t had the opportunity to “calibrate” the camera setting profile module in my ACR.

    • Sandeep, I never wanted to say that the Nikon colors were accurate – I am aware of the fact that Nikon colors are different. The goal is to bring Lightroom to Nikon JPEG’s as close as possible and that’s what I meant by the word “accurate”. Also, please keep in mind that this article is meant to be a very basic one for beginners – it is not intended to discuss color accuracy or use of third party color calibration tools.

      • 41
        ) Sandeep

        Hi Nasim,

        Totally get your point. :)

        I would like to see an advanced article on this topic some time in the future though, to learn how you do color management for your professional assignments.

        • 43
          ) Sebastiano

          that would be a great idea :) ..
          We spend thoudands of €/$ for DSLRs, lenses, to have the “high fidelty” in photography, but in he “digital era” we tend to forget that color accuracy, Color Spaces and all this “stuff” is very important ..

  5. 8
    ) Sameer

    Nasim,
    Are the Adobe camera profiles approximations ? Would the best color interpretation of the RAW file be rendered by say Nikon’s own RAW interpreter ViewNX2 or by LR?

    • Sameer, those profiles were created by tools that read colors. Some people like them, others don’t – it is a pretty subjective topic. And you are not going to get much different stuff from View NX / Capture NX – they just make it easier by reading the info from files directly.

  6. I knew to change my images to camera standard after import, this is going to save a lot of time . Thanks !!
    Your’s is one of the best photo sites, practical down to earth information , no dreaming on what the camera companies should be doing.

  7. 10
    ) Paul

    What is a good source for learning how to use Lightroom? I have LR 3, but have found it cumbersome and frustrating. I am not getting from it the efficiencies that others seem to be getting.

    • Paul, we have plenty of articles on Lightroom, but if that’s not enough – check out Scott Kelby’s Lightroom book.

  8. 11
    ) James

    Thank you, Nasim.

    I had recently noticed slight differences between my camera previews and LR imports. I had just recently started playing around with the camera calibration in LR, but wasn’t sure exactly what each setting was for (pretty much just made a mental note of what happened on each setting). Nice to know what that module is trying to do.

    It’s really amazing how much there is to learn about our cameras and software.

  9. 12
    ) Patrick

    Hello Nasim,

    Didn’t know this one.
    I normally apply my presets in library mode under quick development together with some keywords and if necessary the location.

  10. 13
    ) Don B

    Thank you for a great article. This was very usefull for me. I enjoy your website very much. I will be sure to start my photo shopping at your web site you you can benefit from my purchases.

    Don B

  11. I really like the ability to control picture settings while taking the actual photograph. It has its benefits. When I take a picture of someone’s face, I want the portrait preset. When I want a black and white image, I know it beforehand, while taking the picture. When shooting landscape, I want that extra contrast punch.

    Having the ability to set the picture controls while taking the picture is a great benefit which saves time in post. It can always be reverted in the future since the RAW data is all there.

    That’s why I still use Capture NX 2 from time to time. I wish Lightroom had the ability to read the preset metadata.

    • Oded, agreed – Lightroom should read this metadata from files. Aperture does, I don’t know why Adobe can’t or does not want to figure it out!

  12. 15
    ) Visarion Nicolof

    Apart from, white balance, calibration, process version I find useful to add lens correction on import.

    • I add that too, but I did not want to introduce it to this article, since we are talking about imitating camera JPEG colors only.

  13. 16
    ) Garry

    Nadim,
    Thank you for the excellent article.
    I notice Aperture also changes the colors when converting RAW images.
    Can one use the same technique of applying presets to render the same colours as the jpegs generated by the Nikon D800?

    Garry

    • Garry, yes, I am aware of the fact that Aperture reads this metadata from files. Unfortunately, Lightroom does not and I have no idea why they cannot figure it out…

      And yes, the above will work for the D800 as well.

  14. Hello Nasim,

    as always, a very helpful article for understanding what happens between taking shots and processing them. Thank you!

    I followed your steps to create a custom import preset in Lightroom 4, but found out that “Camera Standard” does not fit the colors given by my D700 well. The newer profile “Camera Standard v4″ was even worse – all the test pictures were yellowish and had too much contrast. As expected, changes made to color space had no effect. What came closest to the colors on the D700 LCD, was actually the “Adobe Standard” profile, although it lacked a bit of contrast. But even this is at best acceptable. (All this was done on a mid-2012 MacBook Air, by the way.)

    Another issue that I have noticed before, but never really bugged me (until now), is the interpretation of White Balance. Since Auto WB never gets it right, I like to set WB to a fixed value of 5880 K, which in my taste is a perfect daylight temperature. But when I import those images into LR4, the WB “as shot” is always 5600/-8 – now where does that come from? Is it possible that Nikon and Adobe have different interpretations of what I thought to be a physical property?

    Fabien

    • Fabien, I would not look at the LCD as the source of accurate color. Just like monitors and other displays, LCD screens can vary in color quite a bit. The above is mostly meant to imitate JPEG images rendered by the camera. When you look at a JPEG from your camera and your camera picture profile is set to Standard, changing to Camera Standard in Lightroom should result in a pretty close image.

      As for white balance, the tint affects the values as well, but it should be pretty accurate when “as shot” is picked.

      • Thanks for your reply. Apparently I didn’t get the fact that you were talking about matching the imported RAW image to an out-of-cam JPG. I thought it was supposed to match the JPG preview image that is embedded in the RAW file. Now it makes sense to me :)

        • Fabien, an out of cam JPG is the same as the one embedded in a RAW file – the very first image in the article is actually taken this way. I extracted a JPEG image out of an NEF file, then changed a profile in Lightroom and exported the image again. Both are more or less the same, with very slight color variations. But this obviously is not a comparison between what you would see on the LCD (I talked about imitating the LCD screen, so that it connects with beginners). Most LCDs vary in colors, even between same camera models! (the D800 is a great example of that).

      • 44
        ) Sebastiano

        And most of all …
        1) LCD is not a wide gamut monitor, neither it is calibrated
        2) you see only an 8-bit depth image “rendering” done by the camera firmware, which can potentially be less accurate than the “image processing engine” your “developing” SW (ACR, Nikon VNX) can do with you 12/12 bit NEFs


        3) it’s small :) The largest LCD display is less then 4″. Normally we tend to use 20″ or larger when looking all the “nuances” a photo has ;)

        Seb

  15. 18
    ) Michiel van't Hooft

    Thanks Nasim,
    This was a very clarifying explanation for a relatively beginner like me.
    I use Photoshop Elements 11 currently and tried to emaluate your steps in Elements but couldn’t do that.
    Is there a way to automaticly import my raw files with the Nikon “camera standard” changes?
    I have scoorde the adobe website, but cannot find a way to do that in Elements.
    Would be very much obliged with a way to do that else I may have to change software.
    Michiel van’t Hooft

    • Michiel, unfortunately, I don’t think Elements has the capability to use templates for importing images…

  16. 19
    ) Tom D

    Hi Nasim

    Thanks for the tip for applying profiles on import. That will definitely save me time! I shall have to see if it can be applied to lens corrections too. Having never commented before, thank you for the excellent website too!

    I switched to LR4 from Aperture 3.4 when I went full frame. Aperture has lots going for it, back lack of distortion correction and processor and labour intensive chromatic aberration correction are weak features. Shame, as it handles metadata better (shows white balance, focus point, focus distance etc.) and is easy to use.

    I find your advice to be excellent, but on a few points in this article I would like to share a contrary view and see what you think. I shoot RAW, but leave vignette control, distortion control and high ISO NR on. I do this because I use the JPEG displayed on camera to give me a feel for the picture I intend to process. A vignette might indirectly impact exposure choice. Lenses with notable barrel distortion will lose items at the edge of the frame when corrected. Having a corrected JPEG built into my RAW file means I can see what is / is not in the final frame. Camera high ISO NR is usually not as good as post processing, but again can give you a feel.

    I also turn up the sharpness a little, not for the image quality, but to assist reviewing critical focus. I leave active D-lighting off though. My understanding is this directly impacts exposure, with the camera changing the exposure to reflect what it thinks it can recover from shadows and highlights, depending on the scene.

    Anyone else have a view on this? If I’m wrong I could turn all the features off and probably gain a few frames of buffer space from reduced in camera processing.

    Thanks again.

    Tom

    • Hello Tom,

      I’ve read your comment with interest and I’d like to share my personal opinion with you.

      I think the question whether to turn VC, DC, NR on in order to check the intended result is also a question of the surroundings in which one is shooting. As for me, I am a concert photographer; 95 % of the time I shoot with ISO 1600-3200 and have to handle extreme contrast. Being able to check the dark and bright areas of the image as they actually are captured is therefore of utmost importance to me. Only when I can see how much information there is to work with, I can get an impression of what I am later able to achieve with the image.

      I totally understand your goal of getting a feeling for the to-be-finalized picture, but it only works in certain cases.

      Good luck,
      Fabien

      • 36
        ) Tom D

        Hi Fabien

        Yes, you’re right about it only working in certain places and I can see why it would not work for you. I haven’t done much hand held low light shooting. Do you use active D-Lighting, or go the other way and use camera neutral picture control to minimize contrast?

        I think the quality of the lenses and what you are trying to achieve make a difference too.

        Thanks for sharing your view!

        Tom

        • Hey Tom,

          Like all the other in-camera image enhancement features I don’t use Active D-Lighting. I always try to capture the best possible image in the first place and do as little post-processing as is necessary to achieve the desired result :)

          As for low-light shooting in general, two facts are most important: 1. Use fast lenses, f/2.8 or better; 2. Crank up the ISO, because image noise is the least annoying negative factor (plus: Active D-Lighting messes things up at high ISOs).

          Fabien

    • Tom, for me personally, it is important to see what’s actually captured by the camera and not what I could potentially get in post-processing. As I have previously pointed out in my vignetting article, sometimes I intentionally leave vignetting on. For that reason I typically end up not applying lens corrections upon import or reverting to the original image after automatic corrections (depends on what I shoot). As for distortion correction, it might look slightly different in camera than in Lightroom…

      • 38
        ) Tom D

        Hi Nasim

        I just tried making my own preset and it works perfectly! I am going to set one for all the colour picture controls. Thanks again for this tip!

        I like a vignette too and often add them in processing. My 50mm f.14 gives a nice vignette wide open, but I don’t like it on wide angle lenses or superzooms.

        Yes, the Nikon correction seems less aggressive than Lightroom on fixing barrel distortion, but closer than no correction.

  17. 20
    ) Rick

    If you guys would just use Nikon’s software, Capture NX2, which is good enough quite frankly, then there would be no need to worry about any of these problems.

    • Rick, unfortunately, Capture NX is not as good as Lightroom for image management, workflow, mass file editing and many other things…

      • 34
        ) Bhavesh

        Nasim, I totally agree with you. I have tried Capture NX before and I find Lightroom to be much better for post-processing.

      • 35
        ) Bhavesh

        I really wish Lightroom and Capture NX could be joined into one product though! I love the selective editing in NX…

  18. 45
    ) Kim

    Nasim,
    I would appreciate it if you could you clarify a point of confusion.

    You stated that picture controls are discarded when RAW images are loaded into ACR or Lightroom, but later you stated to not change picture control settings “since those might also indirectly affect your RAW images as well (for example, setting high values for Contrast, Brightness and Saturation.”

    Since the picture controls and the picture control settings are discarded how would changing the contrast, brightness, sharpening features affect the RAW data itself? Are you saying that these settings ie, for example, applying high contrast might give you a JPEG rendering on the camera LCD which might lead you to think you have blown highlights for instance when really you have not? Or are you saying the RAW data is actually changed?

    Thank you.

  19. 46
    ) Dharmesh

    I have another tangential question. Does the lens really matter? Can you shoot a scene with very basic lens (lets say 18-55 kit lens) and edit the colors in lightroom to look like it is shot from one of the high end lenses? Why does the lens optics really matter if you are shooting RAW?

  20. 47
    ) TJ

    In step 4 you state:

    Pick the same color profile as what you have set in your camera (for example, Camera Standard).

    Then in step 7 you state:
    Only select “White Balance”, “Process Version” and “Calibration”, then click “Create”, as shown below:

    You then later state:
    Once you import the photos, every one of them will be automatically changed to the previously selected camera profile, which will match whatever you picked in your camera.

    So are you saying that if I selected Vivid in step 4 and shot my photos in a variety of Picture Controls (Vivid, Standard, Neutral, etc…) then LR will process each RAW file to Vivid regardless of Picture Control set within the camera (which I believe you are saying) or are you saying if I selected Vivid in step 4 and shot my photos in a variety of Picture Controls (Vivid, Standard, Neutral, etc…) then LR will process each RAW file to each respective Picture Control as set in the camera (which would be spectacular!!!).

  21. 48
    ) chellone

    Why are in “New Develop Preset” only selected this options “White Balance”, “Process Version” and “Calibration”? What about sharpness and other options? Are we going to dismiss other settings from our camera?

  22. 49
    ) Jorge Balarin

    Thank you very much Nasim for this useful tutorial. Greetings.

  23. 50
    ) jason

    This is an awesome post, thank you Nasim. Very helpful for eliminating that weird magenta cast in my images under Adobe’s standard profile. Thanks again!

  24. 51
    ) Lori

    I was so excited to see this. Especially with your side by side comparison of the couple, I mean you really can’t tell the difference! Problem is it didn’t work for me. I have sat night after night looking at the back of my D700 and wondering why the jpeg was so great looking sooc, but once I upload the raw file it looks completely different in Lightroom so I googled and came upon this. Which is no doubt great and helpful information! But I have tried all process and profile versions and nothing is the same as the back of my camera. For instance the picture I’m working on now has a rose haze color in the bokeh background. Once loaded in LR it is a green gray color, Any thoughts? Or something else I should try? Thanks so much!

  25. 52
    ) Paul

    Thanks for the great article. Ive just moved from Aperture and the colours in lightroom really bugged me but following your article just plain worked! Finally I can now see why people rave about lightroom.

  26. 53
    ) Ascar

    Nasim,
    Hope you still follow this thread.
    One question regarding the problem of color matching.
    I noted that what I see on my WinXP PC inside LR before exporting a JPG and the same thing once exported inside Windows is rather different! I see a lot of over-saturation in Windows, something that was perfect in LR. What is the reason according to you? I use RAW DNG with Standard Preset and my PC is color corrected by Spyder 3 running in background. The monitor is a standard super-market available thing, but it shouldn’t be its fault. The way LR shows my photos inside the same PC is totally different from the way the same pictures are reproduced with standard visualization utility inside Windows! Help! What shall I do?
    Thank you as always, your site is really a reference point for me!

  27. I want to sincerely thank you for putting this article together. I would literally sit here and tear up when I watched my beautiful colorful images tone down into drab lifeless pics. At least now I understand why this is happening, perhaps Adobe will modify light room in the future. Again thank you! You did something that even a face book page full of professional wedding photographers could not accomplish, answer a simple question!

  28. 55
    ) TeaBreak

    It is simply not true that LR camera profiles match the ones in Nikon DSLRs (I can speak for my D200, D3, D800). They differ from the colors rendered by Nikons picture controls and look dull. Try Capture NX2 and you’ll see how beautiful original Nikon colors are. Adobe did a bad job with LR 5 and ACR.

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