Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – Color calibration

Creating a custom color profile specific to your own camera

Calibration dialog

Our goal is to create a custom color profile that will only affect photos from one camera. We are not talking about a brand or a model here, but about one particular piece—our own.

First, let’s try a simple profile setting that anyone will easily do.

The necessary controls are at the very bottom of the Develop palettes, in the Camera Calibration dialog.

Preparation settings

Before you begin, click Edit/Preferences and select the Presets tab. Make sure that Make defaults specific to camera serial number is selected. This will have Lightroom assign the saved defaults to the camera with this particular serial number.

Autumn is here

When you’re done with this, return to the calibration dialog and set the colors you want. Later, these will dominate the photos taken with that camera.

The Reset Shadows section can be used to make the shadows greener or more purplish. Under Red, Green, and Blue, the Hue of the specific color intervals can be set to colder or warmer, and their Saturation adjusted.

We chose to create an autumn feel instead of the summer colors, but you can really set anything according to your taste.

Creating defaults

Save the calibration by clicking Develop/Set Default Settings. A dialog appears where Lightroom shows your camera model and serial number. From now on, these defaults shall be applied to all the pictures taken with the camera with this serial. But first you must click Update to Current Settings to finalize the calibration you specified.

With a similar scheme

The images you load afterwards, provided they were taken with the same camera, will by default appear with such colors in Lightroom.

To remove the calibration, click Develop/Set Default Settings, and then the Restore Adobe Default Settings button.

In a row

In case you loaded multiple images, carry out the first four above steps on one which is typical of the series. Afterwards, click another image, and click the Reset button at the bottom of the editor palette to apply the the custom color profile.

Creating a custom color profile has a deeper meaning, though. It enables you to have your camera render more realistic colors—this is what calibration means. However, you’ll need an external tool and some more time to do so. Next time, we’ll discuss this topic.