It’s easily done. You view a RAW image in Lightroom, it applies the default Adobe Color profile and you don’t even bother to question it. You can see what you don’t like, you do some editing – sometimes it takes a while – and you fix it.
Profiles are like pre-processing for your RAW files. They are like a base-level interpretation of the colors and tones in the raw data ahead of any editing changes you might make.
And that makes them quite important.
Because you can then spend a long time with a whole series of careful tweaks and adjustments in Lightroom that choosing the right profile in the first place could have avoided.
Lightroom comes with a whole bunch of profiles apart from its default ‘Adobe Color’ rendering, and the set I want to draw attention to here is the ‘Camera Matching’ category.
Here, Lightroom attempts to mimic the styles offered by the camera and, in doing so, comes MUCH closer to the colors and tones the camera was designed to capture.
So here’s an example. I shot this on my Panasonic Lumix G9, which is a great camera but, for some reason, Lightroom’s default Adobe Color profile is some way off from what I would call a good rendition. Blue skies take on a distinct cyan hue and there’s a bit too much contrast overall. It must be this particular camera, because Capture One’s profile isn’t the best either.
HOWEVER, if I switch to Lightroom’s Camera Matching category, everything changes. If I choose the Cinelike D profile then blues skies no longer need a tint shift and the contrast is no longer excessive. But this isn’t video, so I can choose the Natural profile and get the same (better) color rendering and even softer and more malleable contrast. Or, if I want something more punchy, I can go for the Scenery or Vivid profiles.
My point is that these are all better than the default Adobe Color profile, and they save me spending ages with the editing tools trying to fix things which I might have imagined were the camera’s fault. But they’re not. It’s the fault of the Adobe Color profile, which is probably a little bit wrong for all cameras, but definitely wrong for this one.