Understanding Camera Profiles

Have you ever wondered what the camera calibration tab in Lightroom does? Have you noticed when you change the profile, your image can drastically change and wondered why? What is happening to your image when you apply a different profile?

Camera Calibration was a part of Lightroom from the very beginning and has always been an important part of how Lightroom reads and renders images! Adobe has created base profiles to help you navigate this feature:

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These profiles are Adobe’s base profiles that render images in different ways. If you are looking to keep your image close to camera settings, select ‘Camera Standard’ or ‘Adobe Standard’. These are the truest to camera settings and are the most common profiles that we come across while editing!

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In addition to Adobe creating basic profiles for Lightroom, there are companies making huge waves in the camera profile game, specifically VSCO. For every preset VSCO has created they have created a camera profile that is completely unique. These profiles work in conjunction with Camera Raw identifying your camera, and applying the proper profile when you choose a preset. If you are using VSCO presets it is very important to make sure you are using the correct camera profile or else your images will be very difficult to edit and will look a bit off.

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So what exactly are camera profiles doing? Adobe released a thorough document explaining what camera profiles do which you can read if you are REALLY bored! Essentially, a camera profile can be colour specific adjustments, tone curve adjustments and some primary colour adjustments. These profiles render your image with specific adjustments before you even start to edit. These can be useful if you find yourself battling specific colours all the time, or want to adjust the contrast across the board.

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As you can see here in DNG Profile Editor specific colours can be adjusted as well as tone curve adjustments, which look and act similar to Photoshop and Lightroom tools.

Most presets these days are set to Adobe Standard, such as Mastin, LXC, KLN and Redleaf to name a few.