6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 14, 2018 5:38 AM by alephz

    Defaults add too much contrast in raw files

    alephz Level 1


      I'm using Lightroom Classic CC on a Windows 10 machine. I've recently begun taking photos of prints and paintings, for archival purposes. When I checked the images I realized that they had quite higher contrast compared to the way I perceived the prints with my own eyes (the difference was obvious as I was shooting tethered so I had both the image on a calibrated display and the print side by side). Please note that I'm shooting in raw.

      This made me remember that, back when Lightroom 4 came out, with the new develop module system (the one that is currently used also in Lightroom Classic), Eric Chan (I apologize if it was not him) wrote that the new develop system had now an embedded contrast increase applied automatically.

      I would therefore like to know if somebody has made some tweaks to the defaults in order to neutralize this contrast boost, just to have a more natural, flatter image to start with, as I much prefer to add contrast on my own.

      Returning to my subject, I made some testing and it looks to me that by setting Contrast to -45 makes the image perceptually much closer to the print. Please note that I usually set camera calibration to Adobe Standard or use customized dual illuminant profiles made with DNG Profile editor.

        • 1. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
          99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          It’s probably a question of tweaking your profile or trying a camera profile. You can of course remove the default settings by using the pre-set “Zeroed”

          • 2. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
            alephz Level 1

            Thanks, but what do you mean with "remove default settings"? The default settings are already at 0, but they add too much contrast as they are, as I wrote in my post. I tried to selecte the various preloaded camera profiles under the camera calibration panel but they did not solve the issue. Even the most neutral profile still adds contrast compared to the original scene. This happens with all the cameras I have, made by different brands (Canon and Sony).

            • 3. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
              99jon Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              In that case I’m not sure what is happening. It is possibly to do with the lighting conditions for the shoot. Are you shooting in natural light? Many artists like shooting their work on a wall outdoors and on a dry cloudy day. For DSLRs an aperture setting between F8 and F11 and ISO 100 usually works best with a tripod and filling the photo frame with just a small border for cropping. Others make the mistake of propping up their work against an indoor wall and shooting at a downward pointing angle. I’m sure you are aware of all of this but have you experimented with different lighting set-ups?

              • 4. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
                WobertC Adobe Community Professional

                The default settings are already at 0

                Have you tried setting the Contrast slider to  -45, and then make this the Camera Default for Import. (You can include any Develop settings in a Camera Default.  This will not be Adobe Standard.)


                How to Save Default Settings for Cameras:

                In Develop module, select a raw file, change settings, and choose Develop > Set Default Settings.


                Or make the Develop settings, as you like them, into a Preset that can be applied at Import.

                • 5. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
                  elie_di Level 4

                  In his book "Landscapes in Lightroom", Michael Frye writes that in P.V. 2012 the default zero positions actually represent increased exposure and contrast, above the "zeroed" values in previous PVs, and that a more truly "neutral" default would be Exposure -1.0 and Contrast -33. Also, LR (and ACR) makes an additional adjustment to exposure called the Baseline Exposure that is unique to the camera model and the used ISO setting. To see what your camera's BLE is, convert a Raw to DNG and look for it in the DNG's EXIF.

                  • 6. Re: Defaults add too much contrast in raw files
                    alephz Level 1

                    Thanks for this information, this is what I was looking for! I was just concentrating on the contrast issue and did not consider potential differences in exposure, however I will experiment with that as well.

                    Thank you guys for all your kind feedback