Lightroom Camera Calibration And User Presets

South Maui Sunset with Lightroom "Adobe Standard" Camera Calibration preset.
South Maui Sunset with Lightroom “Adobe Standard” Adobe Standard Camera Calibration preset.

One of the lesser known features in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is Camera Calibration in the Develop module. Different camera sensors render color differently. Camera Calibration was developed to enable photographers to adjust the white balance, hue and saturation to “calibrate” the image so it matches more closely with what they intended when it was originally captured.

It’s an adjustment that can be done using other controls in Lightroom, but I tend to try different Color Calibration presets right off the bat to see if they get me closer to how I want to image to end up looking. If so, it gives me a different starting point for developing my image and saves me a lot of time.

South Maui Sunset with Lightroom "Camera Vivid" Camera Calibration preset.
South Maui Sunset with Lightroom “Camera Vivid” Camera Calibration preset.

Several presets are shipped with the product. If you shoot RAW, you’re presented with more choices of presets than if you don’t. They include ACR 3.1, ACR 4.4, Adobe Standard, Camera D2X Mode 1, Camera D2X Mode 2, Camera D2X Mode 3, Camera Landscape, Camera Neutral, Camera Portrait, Standard and Camera Vivid. Depending on what camera model you use and how you exposed your image, you’ll need to play around with them to see what they do for you.

One of the things I did a while ago was to create User Presets out of the different Camera Calibration presets, so I could simply mouse over the presets and get a preview of what the image will look like when I apply them.

Unselected everything except, Calibration in the new preset dialogUser Presets created from Camera Calibration presetsTo create these, choose a Camera Calibration present, then go to the Presets panel and press the “+” sign to create a new one, uncheck everything except calibration, name it with the name of the Camera Calibration preset and press Create. Then move on to the next Camera Calibration preset and do the same, and the next, until they’re all done.

You’ll find yourself using these more and more when you first enter the Develop module, and they may even inspire you to take the image in a direction you hadn’t thought of.

Try it and tell me what you think.
South Maui Sunset


  1. says

    it’s a good point you make about starting with the Calibration presets before doing anything else. Situated as they are at the bottom of the edit panel, it took me awhile to come to the same conclusion, but I do believe that’s the place to start. Hadn’t thought of making them into my own User Presets. Great tip! Thank you!

  2. kidfromkor says

    I’ve always used this, and this is the first thing I touch when I start my post-processing. I set my D700 to D2X mode when I shoot (Raw) and have my Calibration set to the same. For landscapes, its more subtle and I’d go and try with all the calibrations to see what looks good, but for portraits and human skin tones, there usually is only one that is dead on.

  3. says

    You get much fewer options if you’ve already converted your RAW file to Adobe’s DNG format, and at least for me, none of these calibration presets were an improvement over what could already be done with the other options in LR. But at least I can try tweaking the colors directly from within the Calibration module, and come up with my own presets. That’s a new area I can explore.
    .-= Raoul´s last blog ..Always check a SATA drive’s jumper settings =-.

  4. Ann Justin says

    I even went so far as to upgrade my Lightroom, looking for the various options on camera calibration, because mine always has the profile as “embedded” is that because I am not shooting in RAW?

  5. says

    Does this only show up for the major camera brands? I don’t have anything but Adobe Standard in the calibration dropdown with my Sony A550 RAW files.
    .-= jciv´s last blog ..DSC05200 =-.

    • says

      That’s an interesting question. I don’t know. I thought they were presets shipped with Lightroom, so they should, but maybe brand does matter?

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