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Hands On with Lightroom's Profile Feature

Posted by Roger Hyttinen on

This post is part of our Learning Lightroom series.

If you are shooting in RAW format (as compared to JPEG), your files may appear dull and lackluster. The reason for this is that you are in essence telling your camera not to make any color or exposure adjustments in camera – the images are not processed in the camera at all. When shooting in JPEG format, the camera tries to correct the image to make it look the best as possible. One advantage of shooting in RAW format is that you have much more flexibility when it comes to post-processing your image, especially as far as white balance is concerned.  1profile

Selecting a Camera Profile

When first opening an image in Lightroom, some people like to apply an Adobe Raw Profile such as “Adobe Vivid” or “Adobe Landscape” to their image as a starting point. Adobe Raw profiles simulate options that you can set in your camera. Often, an Adobe Raw profile will adjust an image so that it closely resembles an image that was shot in JPEG format.

Profiles used to be located in the Calibration Panel, but they have now been moved to the Basic panel. The Profile drop-down list displays a few standard Adobe Raw profiles to get you started, but there are now many additional profiles available. To view them, click Browse on the Profile drop-down list to display the Profile browser or click the grid icon to the right of the Profile drop-down list.

Profile Browser icon

Under the Adobe Raw area, you’ll find the standard profiles that you see in the Profile drop-down list. There are, however, several other categories of profiles, such as Camera Matching, Legacy, Artistic, B&W, Modern, and Vintage. The profiles in the Camera Matching area will vary, depending on the camera you’re using. Click the disclosure triangle next to any category name to expand the category.

Expand Profile Categories disclosure triangles

As you move your cursor over a profile thumbnail, the image in the center screen changes to display a preview of the profile. To apply a Profile to the selected image, click the thumbnail for the profile you want to apply. If there’s a profile that you especially like and use often, you can add it to the Favorites category by clicking the Star icon.

Click star to add profile to favorites

A handy new feature with Profiles is that when you click on a profile thumbnail to apply it to an image, an Amount slider appears in the Profile Browser window, allowing you to control the intensity of the profile, much like we see with the Opacity slider in Photoshop. Drag the Amount slider to the left or right until the desired effect is attained.

Dragging the profile amount slider

You can also choose how to view the profiles in the Profiles browser by choosing Grid, Large or List from the drop-down list directly below the Amount slider.

Choose Grid, Large or List

If your profile window is becoming cluttered, you can hide profile that you rarely use. To do so, right-click on any profile and the choose Manage Profiles from the contextual menu. Then, uncheck any profiles that you want to hide.

Check profiles that you want to hide

What’s interesting about profiles, is that they don’t override any of your existing slider settings. For instance, if you apply a Preset to your image, it changes all of the sliders that you may have set. Profiles, on the other hand, act as an additional layer over your current settings and do not overwrite anything you’ve already done with the edit sliders.

Quick Guide: To Apply a Camera Profile to an Image, follow these steps:

  1. Select the image to which you want to apply a profile. 
  2.  If necessary, click the disclosure triangle to the right of the Basic panel in the right pane to expand the panel (or click directly on the words Basic).

    Click the Basic Disclosure Triangle
  3. Click the Profile drop-down list. 
  4. Click the Profile you want to use.Choose the profile you want
  5. To display the Profile Browser, click the Profile drop-down list and then click Browse.
    Or
    Click the grid icon across from the Profile drop-down list. 
  6. To expand a Profile category, click the disclosure triangle next to the Profile name. 
  7. To see a preview of the Profile, move your mouse cursor over a Profile thumbnail. The image in the center pane will temporarily display a preview of the Profile. 
  8. To add a Profile to the Favorites category, click the star icon on the top-right corner of the Profile thumbnail. 
  9. To apply a Profile to the selected image, click the Profile thumbnail. 
  10. When finished, click Close in the Profile Browser.

Looking to learn Lightroom CC Classic? Check out our Up To Speed ebook guide, available at Amazon, Kobo, Apple iBooks and Barnes and Noble. It’s is also available in PDF format from this website.


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