Lightroom changes the colours!

Here’s a good question…

“When I first load my pictures into Lightroom, they look great! But then the preview changes to something not so nice that needs to be tweaked. Why is Lightroom changing my files? I want to keep the original settings!”

The first image that you see is the preview jpg which the camera created. If you’d shot jpg in camera, that’s how your picture would have looked. Then Lightroom finishes reading the raw file, and applies it’s default settings. A raw file is a linear file, not an image, so settings must be applied to turn it into an image. The camera manufacturers don’t share their information, so Lightroom applies its own defaults.

If you want the raw files to look like the preview jpeg, you have to play with the settings until you find a close match, and then save them as a preset to reuse on future occasions. The easiest way to do this is to shoot a series of different situations in Raw+Jpeg and try to match the raw file to the jpeg. Once you’ve come up with settings you’re happy with, you can either save these as a Preset and apply them on import, or you can change the default settings for that camera. More on that another day!


8 Responses to Lightroom changes the colours!

  1. George D says:

    “More on that another day!” – I hope it will happen soon.

  2. [Sorry George, been busy with the 1.3 release. I’ll put this one back to the top of my list now! – VB]

  3. George D says:

    Great, thanks.

    BTW you’re doing a great job!

  4. Mark says:

    I find this to be a major annoyance with Lightroom. Photo Mechanic has no such problem, but lacks the cataloguing abilities of Lightroom. Why is it Adobe cannot give us the option, such as “Use Embedded JPEG as thumbnail” or something like that?


  5. [I quite understand your frustration Mark, although Photo Mechanic is simply a browser which doesn’t offer raw processing abilities. You’ll find ACR and Bridge work the same way as Lightroom in this one. Why not put in a feature request direct to Adobe though – VB]

  6. Barbu says:

    Any news on the default color profile for various cameras?

  7. There are big hints being dropped on the beta forums for 2.0, so watch this space Barbu – VB

  8. Alejandro says:

    Why can i import the settings and thats it. I work in computers and nikon not sharing its thing shouldn’t be a problem. They should be able to deduce the algorithm from comparison only. And don’t come saying that nikon uses something like an asymmetric encryption algorithm because that is nonsense.
    Anyway i don’t want them to have the same exact algorithm, I just want the thing to show more appealing photos. I argue that nobody cares about having the same exact thing from the JPGs, everybody cares that lightroom gives you are version with less warmth and that looked washed out, a lot o color seems to disappear

    [Then I’d suggest you investigate the camera emulation profiles introduced in Lightroom 2.2. They emulate the manufacturer’s own rendering. – VB]

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