15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 9, 2018 10:54 AM by RMacL

    Your process with images in Lightroom classic?

    RMacL Level 1

      I'm interested in soliciting feedback from users of Lightroom on their initial process for getting their shots to a 95% state of readiness/satisfaction.


      To start off, I am fairly new to using photo editing software. I have a decent amount of photographic experience having owned and used a Minolta 9000 SLR from 1985 to early 2000's, then having a long break and getting back into photography last year when I bought a Nikon D500 DSLR. This marked the advent of me delving into the realm photo editing software, and over the past year have accumulated a reasonable amount of experience working with Nikon Capture NX-D and Adobe Lightroom. During this time my workflow has been constantly evolving. For majority of this time I performed all initial edits in capture NX-D where I "believed" I was dependent on retaining the "authenticity" of Nikon's own profiles in my images, then exporting them as TIFF's for final adjustments in Lightroom. This became a rather long-winded process especially if I was working on a large batch of images, and I was at it for weeks . Then just couple of weeks ago, I decided to have a go at going "mobile" and installed Lightroom CC on my iPad and upgraded to Lightroom Classic CC on my desktop. This way I don't have to wait until I get home to start working on my images on the desktop and I don't need to buy an expensive MacBook Pro or anything. In fact I am appreciating the comfort/convenience of uploading from camera to iPad and performing inititial edits on the iPad so much that I can foresee that this will be initial part of my process going forward, regardless of whether I am on the go or at home. Key difference here is that I have now abandoned the step with Nikon Capture NX-D and ability to faithfully retain Nikon's intended camera profiles as a starting point in the development process.


      So, anyway, that's the background, but my question is about the process other's are using to get that shot to a state of near readiness, specifically related to using lightoom cc and/or lightroom classic cc software. Given that I have now abandoned the initial Capture NX-D step, I am now uploading newly captured RAW's directly from my camera to Lightroom CC on the iPAD, and/or syncing older RAW files on the desktop to Lightroom CC on the iPAD via classic CC. After that, and now directly addressing my question, my process for initial image adjustments of the RAW image with Lightroom CC on the iPad is roughly as follows:


      1. Hit the AUTO button (knowing that Adobe Color is the default profile applied at import)

      2. If I don't like the result I change profile (Adobe landscape, portrait, and even check a variety of the "camera matching" profiles). Then after selecting a new profile I hit the AUTO button again...

      3. I may repeat this process several times and in the process I may alter white balance and tint until I find something I like the most.

      4. Once I am happy with the general scene in the shot, I may apply some effects (clarity, dehaze). These look good in many cases, but alter exposure and contrast and coloration of the scene, so this is often when I have to make some specific modifications to exposure, contrast, shadow detail, saturation, etc.

      5. If any skin tones and clothing belonging to human subjects are off, I adjust these using local adjustments. I normally use radial filters for this purpose. For example in a landscape scene with human subjects, I have gravitated to using Adobe Landscape profile in most cases, and then the local adjustments I apply to human subjects are usally a degree of contrast and saturation reduction as well as local removal of any effects such as dehazing.

      6. Final step is removal of unwanted objects, primarily unwanted humans or birds that have ventured into the scene .


      So, kind of a long post just to ask about process, but being relatively new to this I am open to any insights or tips that other's find useful. I have a lingering feeling that I am taking a rather simplistic approach to developing my photos, and maybe there are other tricks I could add to my arsenal to improve results? One area I find myself struggeling with a bit is white balance and tint, especially for scenes with strong backlighting. I often have a hard time getting results that look natural/appealing to me. Using the greypoint sampling tool gives hit or miss results I find. My D500 has a tendency to output rather cool images when set to any of the Auto white balance modes.

        • 1. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
          Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

          No comment on LR CC Mobile as all I use it for is viewing images I have synced from my desktop computer LR C CC version.


          As far as I know there is only one Auto WB setting on any camera, Auto WB. All other WB settings, Cloudy, Daylight, Tungsten and so on are not Auto. They set the camera to a specific kelvin temperature.


          I've used LR exclusively for all the digital cameras I've owned in the last 12 years, 10+ of those using LR and ACR-PS prior to the first LR release.

          • 2. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
            RMacL Level 1

            Thanks for your response. At-least you didn't tell me to go check out the tutorial videos That being said an option is to part with $199 for the complete lightroom course offering that is out there


            Regarding camera AUTO WB settings. The Nikon D500 and probably other Nikon's have AUTO 0, AUTO 1 and AUTO 2. These seem to be mainly effective for indoor photography with artificial lighting. AUTO 0 being the coolest of the three, whilst AUTO 2 is warmest. I see no difference whatsover among these modes for outdoor photography, so I normally have the camera set in AUTO 0 and majority of time my "as shot" photos appear too cold with WB ending up between 4300 and 5000. Yes, my desktop screens are D65 calibrated. As a result getting WB and tint right in post processing has become a focus area of mine and currently presenting some challenges. Greatful for any simple tips on that subject, although the answer might be that there's no easy way out, other than aquiring more tools such as color checking cards and the like...

            • 3. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
              RMacL Level 1

              Forgot to add that when it comes to basic editing, profiles, tone, color, effect adjustments, etc. Lightroom CC mobile and Lightroom Classic CC are essentially the same. In my limited experience so far, what you can do with one program you can do with the other. So, given that this forum is for Lightroom Classic CC, I am OK with restricting the discussion to that program. Any tips will help me with both.

              • 4. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                WobertC Adobe Community Professional

                Some comments-  (I shoot with Nikon D750)

                1. I shoot only raw (NEF)

                2. I set camera to "Sunny" WB always, never changed-ever!. White Balance set in camera is only applied to JPG files! The raw NEF files will show a set WB in the Lightroom previews, but you still retain full control over WB in the Develop module for a 'subjective' alteration or using the WB dropper on a grey-card image. So I recommend you forget about Camera Auto-WB if you only shoot raw!

                3. I have an XRite Color-checker card and create my own camera profiles with Lightroom. All image imports have the 'Camera Specific' camera profile added at the Import step.

                4. Like @Just Shoot Me  above in Post#1, I only use Lightroom-CC (Cloud version) on my laptop to view my images that I have synced from my Classic desktop, no editing. (Don't own an iPad) But I can see the usefulness for downloading images when away from home.

                5. The 'new' Adobe Raw or Camera Matching profiles in Lightroom are more than adequate if ever I am un-happy with my own created camera profiles.

                6. I rarely use the Develop Basic 'Auto' button- With a calibrated monitor and my Camera profiles the 'starting' preview in LR is almost always perfect (my camera mistakes aside) before I tweak my Develop work.


                $199 for the complete lightroom course

                Well there is loads of quality free stuff available-

                Lightroom Tutorials by Julieanne Kost

                Lightroom Training Videos « Julieanne Kost's Blog

                Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond - Sample Video Tutorials | Laura Shoe's Lightroom Training Tutorials and…


                Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - YouTube

                • 5. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                  KR Seals Level 3

                  1. For large numbers of images, use Photo Mechanic to cull prior to importing into LR

                  2. Use the xRite color checker passport to create a dual illuminant profile for each camera.

                  3. Make the color checker passport produced profile as the "Develop" default in LR.

                  4. For a series of images taken under identical conditions, develop one, then sync settings to the others in the series. In this situation, the processing will include adjusting the WB to your liking. This includes applying the same Noise Reduction and sharpening settings to images with like ISO settings. I do not use Auto WB for this reason. When all images in a similar situation have the same white balance, syncing the WB works great. Not so great if Auto WB has given each image a slightly different WB.

                  5. For extensive local adjustments, including removal of distracting elements, which will slow LR down markedly, go to PS and save your self some frustration.


                  Wobertc was posting at the same time I was typing my reply. He has some excellent points.

                  • 6. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                    RMacL Level 1

                    Excellent tips WobertC, thanks. I do shoot solely RAW, and I understand that camera WB selection has no bearing as such unless directly processed in camera to a jpeg. My interpretation is that the camera WB mode setting will give a default WB on import to Lightroom? What I have observed is that imported, unedited RAW’s using AUTO 0 all have differing default WB and tint settings depending on conditions, so I assumed that the camera was passing it’s interpretation of “correct” WB information over to the Lightroom preview. In effect this becomes my starting point for assessing develop module WB and tint adjustments to get the image the way I want it. Issue for me is I feel that starting point with AUTO 0 is more often than not too far off from target (too cool) adding to my interpretational burden when developing the shot. If WB was more accurate from the get go this burden would be less .


                    So, I think you have given me some tips for WB, 1) try using daylight WB setting in camera (I assume this will give me a warmer initial interpretation of the image in Lightroom preview, so consequently different starting point in develop module?), and 2) invest in a color checker card and learn how to use that and create my own camera profiles (this gives me a new project ).


                    Many thanks for all the links as well, much appreciated!

                    • 7. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                      RMacL Level 1

                      Thanks KR Seals, also great tips. I have xRite i1-pro for calibrating my desktop monitors and assuming xRite will have some instructional information online for using color checker passport and creating camera profiles? You make reference to a “dual Illuminant profile”, does this imply only one profile needs to be made for the camera and that that will be able to account for different lighting conditions? In other words, avoid having to make different profiles for different lighting conditions? This is a new area for me. Anyway, I will do some research on that. Will also look into your suggestions for rationalizing workflow. I can see the advantage of having a fixed WB value as starting point, and will stop using AUTO 0 for outdoor photography.

                      • 8. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                        WobertC Adobe Community Professional

                        My interpretation is that the camera WB mode setting will give a default WB on import to Lightroom?

                        This be my understanding-

                        Imagine a family shoot of individuals for portraits, and the camera is set to Auto-WB,

                        Dad in a Yellow shirt- the Camera Auto-WB will skew the overall WB to a Blue cast (to offset the Yellow)

                        Mum in a Blue dress- the camera Auto-WB will skew the overall WB to a Yellow cast (to offset the Blue)

                        So where is your default now? You see the previews in Lightroom as totally different WB. Not a 'default' at all for the whole shoot of portraits.

                        With the camera set at 'Daylight' you will see all the photos in the shoot session the same, and you can batch change the WB the same for every image if needed.

                        • 9. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                          RMacL Level 1

                          Yes, I agree. Maybe misunderstanding of my use of the word “default”. By that I meant an initial preview value that will be observed in Lightroom that is determined by the camera AUTO WB setting, but is not a “fixed“ initial value for all shots. Changing to a non-AUTO WB setting will provide a “fixed” starting value. I’m sold on the logic to use a “standardized” camera WB setting now and will definitely test that. Thanks!

                          • 10. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                            ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                            I tend to do a bunch of sports and events photography, which generates 1000+ photos per day/event. My handing of this has bled over into my personal photography to the extent that I now handle it the same way.


                            This may be a bit more detail than some folks want. Grab a cup of coffee....


                            Image transfer and culling


                            Using a card reader, I copy all the images to my hard drive. The software I use to do this renames the files to YYYYMMDD_hhmmss_nnnn.* based on the capture timestamp and original image number. (Lightroom can also do this.) This generates unique file names for every image, which comes in handy later for online orders.


                            Each shoot/event gets a folder named by the date and event name.
                            Under that folder are two subfolders, "originals" and "exports" containing the respective files.


                            The new event folder is backed up to an external drive. The memory cards are put into the queue for reuse, not yet reformatted. This temporarily creates three copies of the original files.


                            I then use a photo viewer by ACDSee to do a first level triage of the images into three categories:
                            - grade A - some of these will be seen by the public
                            - grade B - contains artistic problems that cannot be fixed (arm/ball in front of face)
                            - grade C (delete me now) - contains technical errors that cannot be fixed, usually out of focus

                            All of this can be done inside of LR, but I find it faster to do it outside.


                            The "delete me now" files are deleted as they are found or soon there after.

                            The grade B files will be deleted by the time the grade A files are done being processed.


                            The grade A files might be sorted further into subfolders depending on the nature of the shoot.


                            The grade A files are the imported into Lightroom Classic with a default rating of 2 stars.


                            A second round of triage is done to find the best shots (to be rated 3 or higher)

                            The images rated 3+ are processed and exported. The exported files are then sent to wherever they need to go.


                            The event folder is backed up again to include and exclude any file changes that were made.




                            When the raw images are imported, my import preset automatically sets the profile to "camera neutral" so that the image looks like it did on the back of the camera.


                            If the white balance needs to be adjusted, I do it first as this makes all the other adjustments much easier. Depending on the settings of the camera, Nikon's auto-WB is quite good in all the DSLRs, especially if there is something white or gray in the frame. However, for the "cloudy" setting I will usually set it to slightly warmer than Nikon's default setting. Since I am shooting raw/NEF files, the white balance setting only affects the JPG preview on the back of the camera; but it is nice to see that looking close to correct.


                            Next I straighten and crop. No sense adjusting parts that will not be seen.


                            If the exposure is off by more than a stop, I will next play with the tone curve.


                            The Basics panel is then used to make the smaller global adjustments. The contrast slider is used last.


                            If I need to play with the HSL panel, it is probably done here. This would be if I don't like the tinting due to a colored floor or something.


                            The Details panel gets used for noise reduction and sharpening.
                            The amount of noise reduction needed is usually far less than people expect because screen viewing and printing both reduce the visual resolution of the image. This reduction naturally eats much of the noise.
                            The important slider in the sharpening is the mask. I normally have it set at 75 or higher.


                            Now that the global adjustments are done, the local adjustments get done with the brushes, radials, and gradients.


                            Since I shoot many of the same venues and/or conditions repeatedly, I have created develop presets to speed up the global processing. This is where Lightroom shines.


                            Since I shoot a lot of beach volleyball, those outdoor presets get applied to lots of other outdoors shoots:
                            sunny, kind of sunny, late sunny, cloudy, raining, back lit, very back lit, shade, flash.


                            For exporting, I usually output two sets of JPG files.
                            Full res - no resizing, 90% quality
                            1000-ish pixels - for social media, 80% quality


                            I should note that at this point in time, the vast amount of my time is spent doing the initial grading A-B-C and any extra subfolder sorting and the second round of rating inside LR. The editing/processing of the photos happens fairly quickly due to the presets once I finally get to that phase.




                            Lightroom does NOT backup your images. You need to do this on your own.


                            I have LR set to backup the catalog on every exit. If I have made no edits, I can skip the backup.

                            The location of these backups is a drive different from the main catalog. This different drive is important. If they are all on the same drive, a single drive failure takes everything with it.


                            Don't forget to backup your presets and other files.

                            • 11. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                              KR Seals Level 3

                              Dual Illuminant profile is a camera profile created in two different lighting conditions. Specifically Daylight and Tungsten light. The software will create a profile for shooting in either light and everything in between. The profiles, while created with different color temperatures of light are totally different from White Balance.


                              You should google Passport Checker and go to the website for full explanation of the product and benefits. It's a little long to explain here.

                              • 12. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                                RMacL Level 1

                                Thanks for all these details ManiacJoe. This seems like a very well thought out and streamlined process. Guess it was mandatory due to the volume of images you handle (and professionally I assume). I think it is great if all people of differing skills level and experience have a chance to contribute to this thread, thinking there might be good tips for everyone coming out of it! Also nice to have a discussion on actually using Lightroom to balance the various problem related threads that are reported on this forum.


                                For the record, I am strictly an amateur, but do have a significant number of years of photographic experience. I am new-ish to the digital realm though and particularly use of photo-editing software. My photography is mixed, but do have a particular passion for landscape (with and without human or animal subjects). Most of my photography is done when I get time to go on trips and can take several hundred shots in a go. The one standout portion of your process for me, and as also touched on by WobertC, is the initial culling and selection process. So far this has been a tough area for me, because I feel I cannot make a fair judgement on an image until it is at-least partially processed. Complete duds, such as out of focus or motion blurred images are a no brainer of-course, but so far this represents a small fraction of my shots for what I do.


                                The other interesting point you make is that you find that Nikon’s auto-WB is quite good. I have heard many people state that and is one reason I have stuck with it so far. Guess I need to keep on experimenting and find out what works for me best.

                                • 13. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                                  RMacL Level 1

                                  Thanks! In fact I ordered my color checker passport today. Just goes to show that I am acting on the feedback I am getting here

                                  • 14. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                                    ManiacJoe Adobe Community Professional

                                    Yes, the culling process is an important one that digital photographers need to become comfortable with.


                                    For example, in my sports shooting, I may get 1800 images in one day. 50% will be grade B or C and deleted fairly quickly.

                                    Of the grade A photos that get imported into LR, 1/3 to 1/2 might get edited and exported. That is probably in the 350-400 range.


                                    I do the same process for my personal shooting even though the volume of images is far smaller. I just use a much less strict grading for A vs B.


                                    White balance is an artistic thing. I find it helpful to get it reasonably close to reality, but when shooting raw files you can go crazy on the WB adjustments.


                                    When shooting outdoors, I will usually use the camera's WB presets for sunny, cloudy, shade; then I will do some minor adjustments in the editing.


                                    Shooting indoors can be tricky for white balance. If I am shooting a gym that is supposed to have uniform white balance, I will set the camera to auto-WB, place a sheet of white paper on the floor, shoot a full second of continuous-hi burst to see just how much WB flicker there is. I can then use the WB picker in LR later on the shots of the paper.

                                    • 15. Re: Your process with images in Lightroom classic?
                                      RMacL Level 1

                                      Right, I was going to ask if you used AUTO 0 primarily for shooting indoors. This makes sense.