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Color in Lightroom #1
Michael Paolantonio's picture
by Michael Paolantonio
February 26, 2015 - 1:47am

I had used Lightroom since version 2, but decided to switch to Aperture a few years ago after realizing that could get better color balance out of Aperture, and more quickly.

I’m now tentatively heading back to LR, especially if it handles HDR and panos without at trip to PS; and of course lens correction is a big help for me (using Sony E-Mount lenses, it’s pretty essential).  But I’m wondering if anyone else who has moved to LR is having problems getting the color “right” in their photos.  I make use of the Camera Calibration settings (Adobe Standard always looks awful to me), but no matter how I tweak the WB (which is entirely too sensitive, compared to Aperture), I’m still always left with a green or magenta cast.  The WB controls in Aperture were enough to take care of any color issues, but seemingly not so in LR.

I’ve been using the HSL control, and dragging areas in the photo to desaturate with some success, but color is why I left LR in the first place, and I’m just wondering if anyone else struggles to get their color “just right” in LR when it was pretty easy in Aperture?

Charles Putnam's picture
by Charles Putnam
February 26, 2015 - 3:18pm

If you have access to XRite’s original Color Checker chart, or Color Checker Passport, you can use their free plug-in to create a camera profile specific to your camera.  XRite’s site has videos on how to do this.

Once calibrated, I create a preset that is applied at import that uses the custom preset.

One other option, Lr does contain pre-made presets for various camera manufacturers.  You might want to try those out also.

Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
February 27, 2015 - 2:56am

+1 to Charles’ recommendation … although don’t fall under the spell of what some users tell you that you need to create a custom profile for each lighting condition for each set of shots you capture. You don’t … and you will end up with hundreds if not thousands of Camera Calibration Profiles (CC) profiles. You really only need one to get you in the ballpark.

I create one dual illumination profile for each camera, set it as default. Then season accordingly in the Develop module by first establishing a pleasing WB, then fine tuning with HSL as needed.

I have found my simplified CC profiles made using the free DNG Profile Editor (a misnomer because you only need to convert the image containing the color checker to DNG, not all your images) very closely match the default color conversion I got in Aperture, more so than any of the canned profiles offered in Lightroom.  

You can find the free plugin here:

Michael Paolantonio's picture
by Michael Paolantonio
March 5, 2015 - 7:37am

Thank you both for your responses.  If I settle on Lightroom, I’ll probably do that.  

I had resisted before because isn’t that what Adobe is supposed to do for you when they support a camera?  Shoot all kinds of color charts with each individual camera, and cook up a profile with all of their institutional knowledge?  I just thought that whatever shoe-string studio setup I did to create a profile would do more harm than good.  Thanks for sharing your experience.

Butch Miller's picture
by Butch Miller
March 12, 2015 - 5:28pm

“I had resisted before because isn’t that what Adobe is supposed to do for you when they support a camera?”

The problem is, color rendition is purely subjective. You would be hard pressed to find two users of any RAW processor that could agree on which color rendition is “correct” …

This was one of the shortfalls that I always had with Aperture … even though it’s out of the box color rendition for my cameras were pleasing … I would have much preferred the option to create my own custom look. Not to mention I need good color from my camera … not the camera the software developers used. Even with tight tolerances, there can be subtle differences between sensors.

Creating your own profile for Lr/ACR is not tedious or difficult, nor does it have to be intricate in it’s setup … I create mine on a clear blue sky day outdoors in full sunlight … which has always rendered a great starting point that I found superior to any canned offering that any software developer provided.

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